In October we reported that BMW and Daimler were to join forces and combine their mobility divisions , however before the deal became reality it had to go through an examination by the European Commission on the grounds of competition regulation. Now, the two companies can successfully tout the official start of their mobility partnership, where Daimler’s Car2Go branch will be combined into BMW’s mobility brands. Together, they will now offer multimodal services through the brand ReachNow, EV charging through ChargeNow, parking services through ParkNow, taxi ride-hailing through FreeNow, and car-sharing through ShareNow . Together they will also invest more than €1 billion into the venture.
One increasingly important aspect of mobility ventures is how autonomous vehicles will fit into the mix. Both Daimler and BMW are working on AV solutions and plan to launch AV services in the near future, but with different partners and in separate areas of the field; Daimler currently works alongside Bosch to launch a robo-taxi service in California later this year, while BMW sits with Fiat Chrysler, Intel and Mobileye, whom together aim to develop an autonomous electric car ready for the market in 2021. How the aspect of AVs will fit into this new German powerhouse of mobility services remains to be seen.
This is a big step forward for the side of selling mobility services as opposed to vehicles in the ongoing battle between traditional versus new business models currently on the table for many OEMs. As two major automotive rivals not only join forces on the issue, but also invest substantial capital into it, it now sounds like a giant tolling for other OEMs to get up and get going in the same direction, or risk being left behind as we enter a new age of the mobility market. An argument could also be made that this partnership increases this joint venture's ability to compete with new mobility actors that don't adhere to the traditional OEM segment, like Waymo, Uber, Didi etc.
Written by Darijan Jelica, RISE Viktoria.