BMW and Daimler are investing more than €1 billion (£870 million) to develop and integrate car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, electric vehicle (EV) charging and multimodal transport.
The co-operation comprises five joint ventures: Reach Now for multimodal services; Charge Now for EV charging; Free Now for taxi ride-hailing; Park Now for parking; and Share Now for car-sharing.
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “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.
“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 co-operations with other providers, including stakes in start-ups and established players, are also a possible option.”
Harald Krüger, management board chairman at BMW AG, added: “We are creating a leading global game changer.
“The 60 million customers we already have today will benefit from a seamlessly integrated, sustainable ecosystem of car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport services.
“We have a clear vision: 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 and interconnect with the other modes of transport.
“This service portfolio will be a key cornerstone in our strategy as a mobility provider. The cooperation is the perfect way for us to maximize our chances in a growing market, while sharing the investments.”
The two companies’ mobility services have a strong customer base, with a combined total of more than 60 million active customers to date.
Building on their current, product range and costumer base in the key regions of Europe and America, the companies says they will grow their global footprint as their existing mobility services combine to form the five joint ventures.
Reach Now will offers more than 6.7 million users direct access to a range of mobility services through a single multimodal platform, allowing them 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), which provides 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 aims to make parking easier, on-street or off. The digital parking service offers users parking solutions at a glance, allows them 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% of the traffic on urban roads, it aims to help towns and cities to reduce traffic volumes.
In Europe and North America more than 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, it already serves more than 21 million customers and more than 250,000 drivers.
Finally, 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 four million customers in total currently use the fleet’s 20,000 vehicles in 31 cities around the world.
“We are steering very clearly towards growth, and together we will continue to invest consistently in our joint mobility services,” said Kruger. “As well as linking in additional transport options, we want to reach out to even more people in towns and cities across the world, thereby improving the quality of urban life.”
The German manufacturers say the new mobility portfolio will be easy to access, intuitive to use, and will cater to customers’ needs.
Zetsche continued: “As premium manufacturers, we have long been setting standards in the automotive industry and for our customers.
“In the premium vehicle business, we will continue to compete for customers. But our new portfolio for individual urban mobility on demand represents a logical extension to the value chain.
“Ultimately, we want to offer our customers as many options as possible for getting from A to B. In short, this is about driving, riding or being driven.”
With their joint mobility services, BMW and Daimler say they are responding to mobility needs of today and the future with a focus on cities.