Harald Krüger (L), CEO of BMW, and Dieter Zetsche (R), CEO of Daimler. Picture: REUTERS/AXEL SCHMIDT
Harald Krüger (L), CEO of BMW, and Dieter Zetsche (R), CEO of Daimler. Picture: REUTERS/AXEL SCHMIDT

Berlin — German car makers Daimler and BMW unveiled a joint ride-hailing, parking and electric-car charging business on Friday to compete with mobility services provided by Uber and other tech firms.

The luxury car firms said they would invest more than €1bn ($1.13bn) to expand the joint venture, shifting beyond manufacturing and car sales towards pay-per-minute or pay-per-mile/kilometre systems.

Consultancy PwC has said car makers face marginalisation by cash-rich tech firms unless they develop services based on vehicle usage.

Established ride-hailing firms have been expanding. China’s Didi Chuxing aims to build its business in Latin America and Uber is gaining a stranglehold on its US market.

“Further co-operation with other providers, including stakes in start-ups and established players, are also a possible option,” Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

Daimler’s Car2go car-sharing brand will be combined with BMW’s DriveNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow businesses, with both car makers holding 50% stake in the venture.

The venture has five strands: ReachNow, a smartphone-based route management and booking service; ChargeNow, for electric-car charging; FreeNow, for taxi ride-hailing; ParkNow for parking services; and ShareNow for car-sharing.

“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,” said BMW CE) Harald Krüger.

BMW and Daimler are working to develop autonomous cars, vehicles which could enable them to up-end the market for taxi and ride-hailing services.

Reuters