By on November 11, 2020

Despite every manufacturer on the planet eager to inject mobility services into the business, the array of programs that encompasses has yet to establish itself as a reliable source of revenue. Frankly, the whole thing seems like a gigantic money pit for the industry made worse by how loosely the term is defined. Customer data acquisition, vehicle connectivity, electrification, subscription programs, over-the-air updates, and autonomous driving all fall under the umbrella of “mobility” that’s costing automakers a bundle with the promise of being profitable later.

This week, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse acknowledged the premium his company has had to pay to maintain such programs and that it’s considering a joint venture with Daimler AG to help mitigate cost. This would presumably expand the German-based Free Now car-sharing program they already share — though BMW was cagey on the details.

Partnering has become the default industry solution to blowing billions on unripened mobility projects. According to Reuters, BMW is even willing to consider a JV that would involve bringing in new partners or possibly a partial sale. Uber was previously rumored to have offered the company over $1 billion for Free Now.

Ideally, the automaker would like to continue participating in the mobility services market “whether we bring in new partners or whether we sell it,” Zipse told reporters on Wednesday.

“This is a very dynamic environment,” he said. “You will see where we make one or the other move.”

[Image: Sklo Studio/Shutterstock]

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