Competition Spurs Mercedes and BMW to Work Together

Tech companies are encroaching on the automotive world and it’s making car companies nervous. Ride-sharing services, such as Uber, are reducing the need, even desire, for car ownership. The all-knowing Google, through its subsidiary Waymo, is working on its own commercial autonomous car. And then there are upstarts like Tesla that, despite being a “boutique” car company, seems to be paving the way for electric cars by first making it cool to own one.

With the slew of competition from within and outside the automotive industry, longtime automotive rivals are banding together. Daimler AG and BMW AG announced a strategic partnership last week, in which they will work together on developing autonomous driving tech.

This follows the announcement that they will pour EUR1 billion into a venture to develop joint technology and systems in the areas of tax ride-sharing (they call it FREE NOW), car-sharing (SHARE NOW), parking (PARK NOW), EV-charging (CHARGE NOW); and the two rivals-now-turned-friends will also look into multimodal transport (REACH NOW) to help people complete trips using multiple modes of transport.


“These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio,” BMW chief Harald Kruger said in a press release “With an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and interconnect with the other modes of transport.”

“The cooperation is the perfect way for us to maximize our chances in a growing market, while sharing the investments,” he added. In other words, if these two giants want to survive, they will have to share the cost of advancing their products.

The business of mobility is a dog-eat-dog world.


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