Daimler Acquires Majority Stake in French Uber Rival Chauffeur Privé

German car company Daimler wants to be a major player in transportation services.

Mercedes-Benz

Daimler has purchased a majority stake in Chauffeur Privé, a French company that, like Uber allows customers to book rides using an app. It's the latest move by the automaker to become a major player in transportation services, including both ride sharing and car sharing.

Daimler said it now controls more than 50 percent of Chauffeur Privé, although it did not disclose how much it paid for the stake. The automaker plans to fully acquire Chauffeur Privé by 2019, even as the regulatory situation for such services in Europe is in flux. The European Union's highest court recently ruled that Uber should be regulated like a taxi service, which could also affect other app-based transportation services.

But that probably won't deter Daimler and other automakers. Daimler already operates Car2Go, a Zipcar-like car-sharing service, and MyTaxi, which lets users book taxis via an app. In addition to its majority stake in Chauffeur Privé, it also has stakes in Blacklane, Careem, FlixBus, Turo, and Via. All of these pursuits help Daimler expand its business beyond just selling cars.

Other automakers have made similar moves with car-sharing services like BMW's ReachNow, General Motors' Maven, and Ford's Chariot shuttle service. Whether it's car-sharing services that let users rent cars for short periods of time, or ride-hailing services that let them book rides on demand, services that allow people to get around without owning a car represent both a potential threat to automakers and an opportunity.

These services may already be decreasing car ownership. But they also represent a potential new source of revenue to automakers. If self-driving cars take off as predicted, automakers will also be able to build and operate their own fleets of robotic taxis.