BMW Group and Daimler have provided more detail on their planned urban mobility services joint ventures. The two companies say they are investing more than EUR1bn in total to ‘develop and more closely intermesh their offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport’.
The cooperation comprises five joint ventures: REACH NOW for multimodal services, CHARGE NOW for charging, FREE NOW for taxi ride-hailing, PARK NOW for parking and SHARE NOW for car-sharing.
“Our mobility services have developed a strong customer base and we are now taking the next strategic step. We are pooling the strength and expertise of 14 successful brands and investing more than EUR1bn to establish a new player in the fast-growing market for urban mobility,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “By creating an intelligent network of joint ventures, we will be able to shape current and future urban mobility and draw maximum benefit from the opportunities opened up by digitalization, shared services and the increasing mobility needs of our customers. Further cooperations with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, are also a possible option.”
“We are creating a leading global game changer. The 60 million customers we already have today will benefit from a seamlessly integrated, sustainable ecosystem of car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport services. We have a clear vision: these five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and interconnect with the other modes of transport,” said Harald Krüger, Management Board Chairman of BMW AG. “This service portfolio will be a key cornerstone in our strategy as a mobility provider. The cooperation is the perfect way for us to maximize our chances in a growing market, while sharing the investments.”
The two companies’ mobility services have a combined total of over 60 million active customers to date. Building on their current product range and costumer base in the key regions of Europe and America, the companies will grow their global footprint as their existing mobility services combine to form five joint ventures:
- REACH NOW offers more than 6.7 million users simple, direct access to a range of mobility services through a single multimodal platform. The REACH NOW apps will offer a range of options for getting from A to B, allowing users to book and pay directly for public transport and various other mobility options, such as car-sharing, ride-hailing and bike rentals. REACH NOW will be managed by Daniela Gerd tom Markotten as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with Johannes Prantl as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
- CHARGE NOW is a service by Digital Charging Solutions GmbH (DCS), and its comprehensive charging network is a key contributor to zero-emissions driving. CHARGE NOW makes public charge points quick and easy to locate, use and pay for, both at home and abroad. Digital Charging Solutions GmbH develops simple, standardised access to public charge points for car manufacturers and fleet operators. With over 100,000 charge points across 25 countries, its white-label solutions are helping OEMs and fleet operators to realise their strategies for electric mobility. Customers benefit from cross-border access to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing charging networks, with over 250 charge point operators (CPOs) to date.
- PARK NOW makes parking easier, on-street or off. The innovative digital parking service offers users the best possible parking solutions at a glance, allows them to reserve parking slots and manage their parking times, and enables ticketless entry and exit in public garages as well as cashless payment of parking fees. In addition, with the search for parking currently accounting for about 30 percent of the traffic on urban roads, PARK NOW is helping towns and cities to reduce traffic volumes, thereby helping to make city centres cleaner, healthier and more liveable. In Europe and North America over 30 million customers are already using the service in more than 1,100 cities. CHARGE NOW and PARK NOW are headed by Jörg Reimann as CEO, with Thomas Menzel as CFO.
- FREE NOW offers a variety of mobility services including taxis, private chauffeurs with rental vehicles, and state-of-the-art e-scooters, all at the tap of a finger. One of the largest ride-hailing services in Europe and Latin America, FREE NOW already serves more than 21 million customers and over 250,000 drivers, who make a valuable contribution to the reduction of traffic in city centres. FREE NOW is headed by Marc Berg as CEO, with Sebastian Hofelich as CFO.
- SHARE NOW is a free-floating car-sharing service that allows customers to rent and pay for vehicles by smartphone — anytime, anywhere. Its fleet will now be extended to incorporate a wider range of models and increase market coverage. More than 4 million customers in total currently use the fleet’s 20,000 vehicles in 31 cities around the world. Car-sharing increases vehicle utilization rates, helping to cut the overall number of cars on the roads in urban areas. Olivier Reppert has been appointed CEO of SHARE NOW, with Stefan Glebke as CFO.
- “We are steering very clearly towards growth, and together we will continue to invest consistently in our joint mobility services. As well as linking in additional transport options, we want to reach out to even more people in towns and cities across the world, thereby improving the quality of urban life,” Krüger said.
The two companies say the new mobility portfolio will be easy to access, intuitive to use, and will cater to customers’ needs. Its seamlessly integrated, sustainable ecosystem will make mobility more convenient it is claimed — because cities are where the future of mobility will be decided. This is confirmed by the choice of Berlin as the base for the organisation’s headquarters. A hub of creativity and innovation, the German capital is described as an attractive location for employees and upcoming talents.
The next few years will see up to 1,000 new jobs created worldwide – including in Berlin and Germany. After an initial phase of investment and growth, the new joint venture group will offer attractive profitability, which will be crucial to its success.
“As premium manufacturers, we have long been setting standards in the automotive industry and for our customers. In the premium vehicle business, we will continue to compete for customers. But our new portfolio for individual urban mobility on demand represents a logical extension to the value chain. Ultimately, we want to offer our customers as many options as possible for getting from A to B. In short, this is about driving, riding or being driven,” said Zetsche.
Over time, the two companies say customers will be able to use and experience additional mobility options from all-electric autonomous fleets that are available on demand, charge and park themselves, and connect with other modes of transport beyond road and rail. In the competition for the best urban mobility solution, the promise of safety and comfort by the two leading German premium OEMs provides the basis for this to happen.