February 22, 2019 07:23 AM Daimler, BMW will invest $1.13 billion in mobility JV to rival Uber

BERLIN — Daimler and BMW unveiled a joint ride-hailing, parking and electric-car charging business on Friday to compete with mobility services provided by Uber and other tech companies.

The automakers said they would invest more than 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) to expand the joint venture, shifting beyond building and car sales towards pay-per-minute or pay-per-mile systems.

"Further cooperation with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, are also a possible option," Daimler's CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

Daimler's Car2Go car-sharing brand will be combined with BMW's DriveNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow businesses, with both automakers holding a 50 percent stake in the venture.

The new venture has five strands: ReachNow, a smartphone-based route management and booking service, ChargeNow for electric car charging, FreeNow for taxi ride-hailing, ParkNow for parking services and ShareNow for short-term rental services.

"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," said BMW CEO Harald Krueger.

BMW and Daimler are working to develop autonomous cars, vehicles which could enable them to up-end the market for taxi and ride-hailing services.

Consultancy PwC has said automakers face marginalization by cash-rich technology firms unless they develop services based on vehicle usage.

Established ride-hailing firms have been expanding. China's Didi Chuxing aims to build its business in Latin America and Uber is gaining a stranglehold on its U.S. market.

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