BMW, Daimler Begin Talks to Combine Car-Sharing Services, Report Says

Are these bitter rivals forming a car-sharing alliance?

Daimler

BMW bought out partner Sixt from their partnership in the DriveNow (called ReachNow in the U.S.) car-sharing service, a move that paves the way for a car-sharing alliance with Daimler, reports Reuters.

The rival German automakers have begun talks to combine their two car-sharing services, according to Reuters, which cited an anonymous executive familiar with the discussions. This isn't the first time rumors of a BMW-Daimler partnership have surfaced, and such a partnership would help the two automakers fight off competition from tech companies like Uber and Lyft.

The source said BMW and Daimler want to build a joint business that could encompass car sharing, electric-car charging, parking services, and ride-sharing services to rival Uber and Lyft. The executive said this would create an "ecosystem" that could be used for managing autonomous "robotaxi" fleets.

In addition to combining BMW's ReachNow/DriveNow and Daimler's Car2Go services, BMW's ChargeNow charging service and ParkNow parking service would reportedly be folded into the new business. BMW and Daimler are already collaborating with Ford and the Volkswagen Group on a network of electric-car charging stations in Europe.

Sharing services represent a potential threat to automakers, but also an opportunity. They could eat into new-car sales, but automakers can make up some of that by operating the services themselves. The arrival of self-driving cars is expected to accelerate the trend of using shared vehicles rather than owning a car. Intel believes autonomous cars and sharing services could combine to form a $7 trillion business by 2050. It makes sense for BMW and Daimler to try to lay the groundwork for that future now.