The BMW Group and Daimler AG are pooling their joint car-sharing and ride-hailing businesses to take on the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.
The two companies are investing more than €1 billion in total to develop and more closely intermesh their offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport. The cooperation comprises five joint 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.
“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.”
Building on their current product range and costumer base in the key regions of Europe and America, the companies will grow their global footprint as their existing mobility services combine to form five joint ventures:
- 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 is a service by Digital Charging Solutions GmbH (DCS), and its comprehensive charging network is a key contributor to zero-emissions driving. CHARGE NOW makes public charge points quick and easy to locate, use and pay for, both at home and abroad. Digital Charging Solutions GmbH develops standardised access to public charge points for car manufacturers and fleet operators. With over 100,000 charge points across 25 countries, its white-label solutions are helping OEMs and fleet operators to realise their strategies for electric mobility.
- PARK NOW makes parking easier, on-street or off. The digital parking service allows users to reserve parking slots and manage their parking times, and enables ticketless entry and exit in public garages as well as cashless payment of parking fees. In addition, with the search for parking currently accounting for about 30 percent of the traffic on urban roads, PARK NOW is helping towns and cities to reduce traffic volumes, thereby helping to make city centres cleaner, healthier and more liveable. 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, who make a valuable contribution to the reduction of traffic in city centres.
- 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
The timing is striking given Uber and Lift are both preparing to list shares on the market. Uber, about three times as large as the Daimler-BMW operations by revenue, has drawn valuation estimates as high as $120 billion.