Daimler's moovel platform will be part of the joint venture (Photo: Daimler)

As expected, Daimler and BMW announced Wednesday that they planned to merge their mobility services, in a move that will create a car-sharing giant with a commanding footprint across the world's major cities.

The plan underscores how scale considerations in new automotive business areas are forcing major competitors to collaborate in the face of strong competition from new players.

Daimler and BMW, two of the biggest makers of premium automobiles, said they plan to create an ecosystem for on-demand mobility that will offer car-sharing, ride hailing parking, charging and other services.

The two carmakers said in a press release that they want to become a leading provider of innovative mobility services, with a strong focus on sustainable urban transportation.

The plan, which involves Daimler’ Car2Go and BMW’s DriveNow car-sharing brands, had been reported in the German press for several months.

“This alliance will make it easier for our customers to discover the emission-free mobility of the future,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in the press release. “The planned merger of our mobility services will pool our resources and sends a strong signal to our new competitors.”

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche also focused on the competitive pressure traditional automakers face in their quest for smarter urban transportation models. “We will not leave the task of shaping future urban mobility to others,” he said.

Daimler and BMW have been growing their mobility services, but they face strong competition from a wide range of start-ups and other players. The two German premium brands were early entrants into the car-sharing market, but other automakers have in recent years also launched new brands or invested in existing ones.

The new mobility joint venture, which will be 50-50 owned by Daimler and BMW, will offer:

Screen-Shot-2018-03-28-at-4.58.24-PM-300x214. BMW's electric i3 is part of the DriveNow fleet (Photo: BMW)
  • Multi-modal and on-demand mobility through Daimler’s moovel and BMW’s ReachNow portals
  • Car sharing provided by Car2Go and DriveNow, which jointly operate 20,000 vehicles in 31 major international cities
  • Ride-hailing through several apps, including Daimler’s mytaxi
  • Parking with the ParkNow and Parkmobile services
  • Charging with ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions
The combination of the carmakers' mobility operations is subject to regulatory approval, which is expected in the course of 2018.

-By Arjen Bongard

added Krüger.

He stressed, however, that

We remain competitors when it comes to the best premium vehicles. The planned merger of our mobility services will pool our resources and sends a strong signal to our new competitors,” added Krüger.