BMW and Mercedes have announced a new $1.5b joint venture that will see two of the world's oldest car makers take on companies like Uber in the "urban mobility" segment.
The new business merges Daimler's existing Car2Go vehicle-on-demand business with BMW's Drive Now, Park Now and Charge Now mobility arms.
The idea is for the German brands to corner all aspects of the global mobility market, with the new venture consisting of five future-focused departments - Reach Now, Charge Now, Free Now, Share Now and Park Now.
Reach Now (which already claims 6.7 millions users) consists of a series of apps that give users the ability to book public transport, car sharing, ride hailing and bike rental options. Charge Now, as the name suggests, will give EV customers the ability to find, book and pay for charging points, with the company saying it already has more than 100,000 charging points across 25 countries listed.
Park Now unlocks access to parking spaces and garages, allowing for pre-payment and ticketless entry and exit, while Free Now is a ride-hailing service that links taxis and private rental vehicles (like Uber).
Finally, Share Now will be the brands' car-sharing service, meaning customers can access a floating fleet of vehicles if and when they need them, using a smartphone app. The brands say the service is already used by more than four million customers in 31 global cities.
“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,” says Daimler boss Dieter Zetsch.
“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 digitalisation, shared services and the increasing mobility needs of our customers."
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