BMW and Daimler are about to merge their car sharing offers DriveNow and Car2Go. Talks have reached the final stages and may result in an independent company jointly run by the two German heavyweights.
The wires had hummed with rumours of Daimler and BMW joining their car-sharing services before and now it looks as if this could happen as soon as February. Executives told Reuters that talks between DriveNow and Car2Go are at the final stages.
The plan appears to be to create a super car-sharing business, overseen by both Daimler and BMW but set up independently. The assets being pooled, according to the executive, include BMW’s ParkNow parking app, which had just recently seen its expansion to the States with BMW taking over Parkmobile entirely (we reported).
A report by German FAZ however, said the company names would remain while only the technology would be merged but the paper did not reveal any sources.
In either case, the expected deal is spurred on by competitors like the U.S.-based ride-hailing service Uber. German (and other) companies need to compete with it.
If the merger goes ahead, the combined fleet would include 20,000 cars, many of them electric. Daimler’s Car2Go runs 14,000 Smarts in Europe, the U.S. and China. DriveNow operates 6,000 BMWs and Minis together with rental service Sixt in nine European cities.
The FAZ said Sixt was close to agreeing to BMW buying part of its stake and brand rights. Neither BMW nor Sixt issued a comment.
Sixt had been blamed for opposing the deal previously but said back then that the delay was down to another problem. Daimler had accused itself and fellow carmakers of collusion before EU anti-trust authorities at the time. BMW reacted by cutting all ties, at least publicly but it appears that all is good and well again in Autoland.
Car2Go’s client base grew by a third in 2017 to almost 3 million, including 870,000 in Germany. DriveNow said it got one million users last October, an increase by 25 percent, including 720,000 in Germany.