It’s been hinted at, but Daimler and BMW are officially bringing together their mobility services business groups into one combined company, with a 50 percent stake owned by each automaker. That means tying up all their on-demand mobility offerings, including car share services Car2Go and DriveNow; ride-hailing like myTaxi, Chauffeur Privé and Clever Taxi; parking products like ParkNow and Parkmobile; on-demand services like moves and ReachNow; and charging solutions including ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions.
If approved (the proposed deal still has to be signed off by relevant competition protective regulators and government agencies), the deal would bring together a large number of entities either acquired or spun up in-house by both Daimler and BMW Group. The combined reach and global footprint of the resulting company should help these mobility service offerings gain more purchase and grow more quickly in a space where growth is difficult and resource intensive, if it goes through.
The plan as shared by both automakers currently doesn’t indicate what will happen to the sub-brands listed above, and whether these will be combined or unified under a merged entity. The automakers also note that they’ll both remain distinct competitors in their primary business (aka, making cars).
Every automaker is at least experimenting with mobility service offerings, and many have created dedicated sub brands and companies specifically for the emerging market opportunity. BMW and Daimler have actually been at it for a while – Car2Go, for instance, debuted in 2008 before expanding across Europe, North America and Asia. But the market is still very nascent, relatively speaking, and it’s cost-intensive to build out things like fleets of shared vehicles, so combining efforts likely makes best fiscal sense for both BMW and Daimler at this stage.