German auto giants BMW, Daimler launch $1.1 billion car-sharing joint venture

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Published 22.02.2019 13:49
Harald Kruger, CEO of BMW AG and Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG, attend a news conference to present plans for combining the companies' car-sharing businesses, in Berlin, Germany, February 22, 2019. (REUTERS Photo)
Harald Kruger, CEO of BMW AG and Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG, attend a news conference to present plans for combining the companies' car-sharing businesses, in Berlin, Germany, February 22, 2019. (REUTERS Photo)

German auto giants BMW and Daimler said Friday they would invest one billion euros ($1.1 billion) in combining and extending their carsharing schemes, in future offering a slew of joint "mobility services", including for electric cars.

"We are pooling the strength and expertise of 14 successful brands and investing more than one billion euros to establish a new player in the fast-growing market for urban mobility," Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler said in a statement.

Daimler CEO Zetsche and BMW's Harald Krueger held a joint news conference in Berlin on Friday to outline their efforts in auto-related services, which include short-term rentals of vehicles in big cities through smartphone apps.

Krueger and Zetsche spoke after regulatory authorities gave permission for the deal, announced last year, to formally close.

The two high-end manufacturers will organize their "mobility" businesses around five joint ventures, according to the statement.

Customers will be able to book shared cars, hail rides from taxis and chauffeur services, find and pay for parking spots and electric car charging points and plan "multimodal" journeys — pulling in alternatives like public transport and bike rentals.

All five strands will follow BMW's naming scheme with titles like Park Now and Charge Now.

"These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio," Krueger said.

Still further in the future, the two firms will offer "an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and interconnect with other modes of transport," he added.

BMW and Daimler's carsharing and other services like Park Now or MyTaxi today boast a combined 60 million customers, the companies said.

The new joint venture will be based in German capital and tech industry hub Berlin, and create "up to 1,000" jobs worldwide, they added.

The business underscores the auto industry's shift toward new technologies and business models based on software and mobile communications.

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