Rivals BMW, Daimler Move Ahead With Joint Mobility Service Venture

The two automakers have gotten regulatory approval to merge their car-sharing and ride-hailing projects.

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BMW and Daimler are fierce rivals when it comes to selling cars, but they are teaming up on the many services that currently offer alternatives to car ownership. The two automakers announced plans for a joint mobility service venture in March, and now say the plan has gained regulatory approval in all relevant markets.

Judging by a press release from the manufacturers, the project will involve pairing BMW and Daimler services that perform similar functions. Daimler's Car2Go and BMW's DriveNow will team up on car-sharing; Daimler-owned Moovel and BMW-controlled ReachNow will work on a "multimodal" service encompassing ride-hailing, taxis, and bike sharing; and similar programs will be set up for parking and electric car charging.

Note that BMW uses the ReachNow brand name for both car-sharing and ride-hailing in the United States. The company began offering both services through the same app and using the same fleet of vehicles in Seattle, where the company's U.S. headquarters are located, this July. 

Despite BMW and Daimler's long history of competition, teaming up does make sense. Mobility services are touted as the next big thing for the auto industry, and the two German firms face significant competition from other automakers and tech companies. Pooling resources could prove more beneficial than fighting for scraps.

But it's unclear how the partnership will work. BMW and Daimler haven't offered any details on how their respective mobility services will mesh together, or at least not actively compete against one another. The two automakers look set to go head to head on ride-hailing in China, for example, unless plans are changed. No one said old foes teaming up was going to be easy, after all

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