Automotive giants BMW and Daimler have announced plans to merge their respective urban mobility units, which cover on-demand services such as car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging, and multimodal transport.
The German car firms are better known for automobile brands that collectively include Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, Mini, and of course BMW. However, the duo have also been investing in their own urban mobility services in recent years.
Daimler, for example, acquired Uber-style app MyTaxi in 2014 through its Moovel subsidiary, and today it claims millions of users across dozens of European cities. MyTaxi merged with U.K. etaxi company Hailo and later acquired Greek rival Taxibeat. Daimler also acquired carpooling service Flinc and invested in various other mobility startups, including electric car battery company StoreDot and ride-hailing service Careem. Mercedes-Benz last year created a joint venture with U.S.-based Via to launch a new ride-sharing shuttle service in Europe.
Elsewhere, BMW has launched its own ReachNow car-sharing service in a number of U.S. cities while offering its similar DriveNow service in Europe.
The global urban mobility space is heating up, with players such as Uber and Google working on self-driving vehicles and various on-demand services. That is why BMW and Daimler are now looking to pool their resources with this new joint venture — they need to compete more effectively to avoid being left chasing an Uber-shaped dust-cloud.
The merger, which will bring all of the two company’s mobility service businesses under one roof, is still subject…