Daimler & BMW: A new partnership starts, rivalry stays

Daimler announced today that it intends to enter into a joint venture with BMW to create a mobility powerhouse. With this move, two arch-rivals leverage competition and cooperation – at the same time. Here’s the rationale behind this step.

At Daimler we‘ve always respected our competitors. But typically we don’t applaud them. 2016 was an exception though. That year marked an important milestone for one of our strongest rivals: BMW celebrated its 100th anniversary. And since our company is more than 130 years old, we published this ad: ”Thank you for 100 years of competition. The previous 30 years were actually a bit boring.“

Competition motivates us

That line was generally well received – even in Munich, Bavaria. And for us this was way more than a joke. Because one reason for the strength of Germany’s auto industry is the fierce competition among several top-notch German auto brands, especially between BMW and Mercedes. It has been very fierce! No hard feelings, though. I guess that’s much like Pepsi vs. Coke, the Beatles vs. Stones or even Batman vs. Superman.

My point concerning the rivalry of our companies is that generations of employees on both sides will confirm how it motivates us all to raise the bar on our performance. Over and over again.

Mobility services to the next level

That’s why the leadership teams at BMW and Daimler absolutely agree on one thing: We will stay competitors. At the same time, we’ve now agreed on something else: It’s time to take mobility services to the next level. Together.

Speaking for Daimler, we initiated the shift from car manufacturer to mobility provider nearly a decade ago. Today, almost 20 million-customers use our mobility services in over 100 cities worldwide. Those range from flexible car sharing with car2go to ride hailing via mytaxi. And with our moovel app, the inventor of the automobile is even selling tickets for public transport. All in all, Daimler is now one of the leading mobility service provider in Europe.

That’s great. But it’s just the start.

At BMW and Daimler we think it’s time for truly holistic mobility that benefits our customers –without the need for an increasing number of apps, passwords and sign-ins. We believe in broad and seamless solutions, bringing together all things mobility from car sharing, ride hailing to car parking and EV charging. And, we are determined to pave the way for a universe of opportunities at the crossroads of shared mobility and autonomous driving.

Many of these plans require not just a new perspective on our own business, but also new partnerships with others. Beyond the old “friends & enemies” scheme, we also see the alternative of being partners and rivals at the same time. It’s in that sense we will join forces with an unlikely, but highly complementary partner.

This partnership means:

  • Combined Car Sharing with car2go und DriveNow: Customers will get access to a total of 20,000 vehicles in 31 metropolitan areas around the globe.
  • Combined On-Demand Mobility: ReachNow and moovel as mobility platforms will grant customers access to various modes of Transportation.
  • Combined Ride Hailing services: mytaxi, Chauffeur Privé, Clevertaxi and Taxibeat will bring about the world’s largest taxi service and thus help significantly reduce traffic in urban areas.
  • Convenient Parking options: Parkmobile and ParkNow will support finding a spot while offering ticket- and cashless payment.
  • Customer-friendly Charging solutions for electric cars: ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions combined will provide a comprehensive network of 143,000 publicly accessible power outlets.

Altogether, this joint venture is our ultimate commitment to dynamically scale mobility and expand our current service portfolio into new exciting areas in a most customer-friendly manner. In other words: The next 30 years will be anything but boring.