BMW and Daimler are now selling parts of their mobility-as-a-service businesses. Mobimeo, the German national rail service Deutsche Bahn subsidiary, is taking over parts of the B2B and B2G side of things, while Uber is apparently very interested in taking over the ride-hailing and micromobility-sharing service FreeNow.
Only last year, Daimler and BMW bundled their mobility services in five enterprises, namely ReachNow (multimodal transport), ChargeNow (charging), FreeNow (ride-hailing), ParkNow (parking), and ShareNow (car-sharing, DriveNow and Car2go) some of which is under their joint subsidiary Moovel and all of which is under the two companies’ umbrella subsidiary YourNow.
After struggling with making mobility services profitable, BMW and Daimler are selling B2B and B2G aspects of Movel’s business to the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Mobimeo. For the remaining businesses under Moovel, BMW and Daimler will henceforth concentrate on the end customer mobility-as-a-service business with the ReachNow app offering various mobility options in one app. In August last year, Moovel integrated electric scooters from Tier mobility into ReachNow.
For its part, Deutsche Bahn wants to use the deal to strengthen its technological expertise in order to implement customer-friendly, regional public transport apps that offer the full range of functions from a single source – from ticket sales and the best possible information on the current route to supplementary mobility services such as bike-sharing.
Berthold Huber, DB Board Member for Passenger Transport said: “People increasingly expect integrated offers and full flexibility when using trains, buses, bike or car-sharing from public transport apps.” Huber explained that Deutsche Bahn will now be pushing integrated offers and full-flexibility more strongly with their partners.
Meanwhile, according to the German publication Manager Magazin, Uber wants to buy the jointly operated mobility services subsidiary FreeNow from the two car manufacturers for more than a billion euros. The magazine reports that Daimler wants to sell FreeNow, while BMW boss Zipse has yet to decide. Manager Magazine said that Uber-CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made the two German carmaking giants a lucrative offer.
In addition to cabs and rental cars with driver in selected cities, FreeNow (formerly: myTaxi) has been offering e-scooters via its app since May 2020 and e-bikes and car-sharing since the third quarter of 2020. The subsidiary ShareNow which is the combined car-sharing services Car2Go and DriveNow is not affected by the deal. At the same time, there are rumours that other potential buyers are interested in taking over the parking app ParkNow.
Daimler boss Ola Källenius recently said that the mobility services must be able to stand on their own feet financially. So far, however, the two carmakers have made big investments but had trouble turning a profit with their mobility services. In an interview with Reuters, Michael Brecht, head of the Daimler works council called for the company to consider selling the services in view of the deficits arising from the Corona crisis and the switch to electromobility.