It seems car rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have finally set aside their differences and decided to meet somewhere in the middle–far where autonomous cars reign supreme somewhere in the near future.
And of course, let’s not forget intense cost-savings for both these companies as well.
According to Inquirer, the two German companies would form a “long-term strategic cooperation” to create future technologies that will support not just automated driving, but also ride-hailing, car-sharing, and even electric vehicles. They hope that combining both their efforts will help propel them to the top of the autonomous and mobility game.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche explained during a press conference in Berlin on Friday:
“..Time is changing,” he said. “There are people who are not interested in car ownership, but in mobility. Individual mobility, on-demand. And that’s where both companies came to the conclusion this is a field where we can be stronger together than separately.”
“Everyone was looking at the other side and saw some strengths,” said Harald Krüger, chairman of BMW. “We can combine our strengths and become a champion. This is the vision.”
According to Verge, the move is also part of their strategy to cut down costs and spread the risk more evenly. Currently, the auto industry continues to face challenges due to declining sales and other political and business issues affecting the automotive market.
Their first big project in the lineup will be i2, which replaces the current i3. The project is said to be built in Daimler’s headquarters. According to BMW development chief Klaus Fröhlich, they expect it to arrive in 2024 with a price tag of USD33,000.
They also plan to follow this up with their own electric vehicle using a shared platform. Motor Authority reports that it might be “marketed under the Mercedes-Benz EQ sub-brand“.
Single Mobility Service Portfolio
According to CNBC.com, another part of their strategy is to merge Daimler’s Car2Go car-sharing services with BMW’s mobility services operations. It will be made up of five parts:
- Free Now, an Uber-style ride-sharing service;
- Share Now, which will replace and expand Car2Go’s car-sharing operations;
- Charge Now, an electric vehicle charging network;
- Park Now, a service that will help motorists not just find available parking but even book a space ahead of time; and
- Reach Now, a smartphone-based route management and transportation service.
BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger explained: “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.”