BMW Group and Daimler AG have announced a €1 billion partnership in jointly developing car-sharing, ride-sharing, parking, charging and multimodal transport services.
The German automakers, typically competitive rivals, made the announcement on Friday in Berlin. They described the partnership as a “global game changer” that could significantly better position the two against the rise of upstarts such as Uber.
The cooperation between BMW and Daimler will take the form of five separate ventures: REACH NOW for multimodal services, CHARGE NOW for charging, FREE NOW for taxi ride-hailing, PARK NOW for parking and SHARE NOW for car-sharing.
The companies first announced their intention to team up last year, however, the plan needed approval from regulators.
“The 60 million customers we already have today will benefit from a seamlessly integrated, sustainable ecosystem of car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport services,” said Management Board Chairman of BMW, Harald Kruger in a statement Friday.
“We have a clear vision: these five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and interconnect with the other modes of transport,” Kruger added.
A breakdown of the five ventures
REACH NOW – access to a range of mobility services through a single multimodal platform. REACH NOW apps will offer “a range of options for getting from A to B”, allowing users “to book and pay directly for public transport and various other mobility options, such as car-sharing, ride-hailing and bike rentals.”
CHARGE NOW – this service will let drivers locate public charge points and take payments for use. The service will give customers access to “one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing charging networks, with over 250 charge point operators (CPOs) to date.”
PARK NOW – this service lets consumers find and reserve parking slots, manage their parking times, and enables ticketless entry and exit in public garages as well as cashless payment of parking fees. There are currently more than 30 million customers using the service across over 1,100 cities in Europe and North America.
FREE NOW – a ride-hailing service featuring a variety of mobility services including taxis, private chauffeurs with rental vehicles, as well as e-scooters.
SHARE NOW – a free-floating car-sharing service that allows customers to rent and pay for vehicles by smartphone.
— BMW Group (@BMWGroup) February 22, 2019
“Our mobility services have developed a strong customer base and we are now taking the next strategic step. We are pooling the strength and expertise of 14 successful brands and investing more than €1 billion to establish a new player in the fast-growing market for urban mobility,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“By creating an intelligent network of joint ventures, we will be able to shape current and future urban mobility and draw maximum benefit from the opportunities opened up by digitalization, shared services and the increasing mobility needs of our customers. Further cooperations with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, are also a possible option.”
“As premium manufacturers, we have long been setting standards in the automotive industry and for our customers. In the premium vehicle business, we will continue to compete for customers. But our new portfolio for individual urban mobility on demand represents a logical extension to the value chain. Ultimately, we want to offer our customers as many options as possible for getting from A to B. In short, this is about driving, riding or being driven,” Zetsche added.