BMW and Daimler invest $1.1 billion to create urban mobility joint venture

The five joint mobility services include multimodal transport, charging, taxi ride-hailing, parking and car-sharing

Harald Krüger, management board chairman of BMW, and Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Daimler AG
Harald Krüger, management board chairman of BMW, and Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

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Competitors for more than 100 years, the BMW Group and Daimler are joining forces with a combined investment of $1.1 billion to create a joint venture for urban mobility solutions. The goal is to fundamentally improve the way people move around in an urban environment and pave the way autonomous and electrified vehicle fleets.

Currently, the two companies’ mobility services have a strong customer base of 60 million. By combining the strengths of 14 successful brands, the joint venture will offer five joint mobility services: REACH NOW for multimodal transport, CHARGE NOW for charging, FREE NOW for taxi ride-hailing, PARK NOW for parking and SHARE NOW for car-sharing.

• REACH NOW offers more than 6.7 million users direct access to a range of mobility services through a single multimodal platform. The 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 makes it easy to locate, use and pay for public charge points, both at home and abroad. Customers will benefit from cross-border access to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing charging networks, with over 250 charge point operators (CPOs) to date.
• PARK NOW enables users to reserve parking slots and manage their parking times, ticketless entry and exit in public garages as well as cashless payment of parking fees. In Europe and North America over 30 million customers are already using the service in more than 1,100 cities.
• FREE NOW offers a variety of mobility services including taxis, private chauffeurs with rental vehicles, and e-scooters, all at the tap of a finger. One of the largest ride-hailing services in Europe and Latin America, FREE NOW already serves more than 21 million customers and over 250,000 drivers.
• SHARE NOW is a free-floating car-sharing service that allows customers to rent and pay for vehicles by smartphone. Its fleet will now be extended to incorporate a wider range of models and increase market coverage. More than 4 million customers in total currently use the fleet’s 20,000 vehicles in 31 cities around the world.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “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.”

“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,” he added.

Harald Krüger, management board chairman of BMW, said: “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.

Krüger explained: “Imagine you want to travel from Los Angeles to Berlin. In the morning, you drive your car to the airport. A parking space has already been reserved close to the gate so the vehicle can charge while you’re away. Your flight has already been booked and when you arrive in Berlin, a car-sharing vehicle awaits to take you to your hotel. Once you check in, you decide to explore the city. At your fingertips are the tools to organise a ticket for public transport and use ride-hailing or alternative concepts, such as a bike or electric scooter. That is how we see urban mobility services of the future: as a seamless ecosystem that provides relevant options to choose from to get from A to B by linking various forms of mobility in a holistic approach.”

As financially strong companies, both BMW and Daimler are prepared to continue making massive investments in their joint mobility services. The two partners from Stuttgart and Munich have selected Berlin as the headquarters of their joint mobility services and plan to create 1,000 new jobs worldwide in the next few years.

“This a startup without the traditional challenges of startups. We’ve got the financial strength that is needed. The mobility services market offers tremendous opportunities, and we are determined to leverage them. And competition will still be the factor that motivates us to deliver top performance in our core business in the future. After all, our motivation remains unchanged: Both of us are determined to build the best cars in the world,” said Zetsche.

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