Daimler and BMW are merging their car-sharing businesses to take on Uber

BMW and Daimler see strength in numbers.
BMW and Daimler see strength in numbers.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
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BMW and Daimler are aiming increase their clout in the shared-mobility arena by merging their DriveNow and Car2Go car-sharing companies. As well as fusing the car-sharing units into a joint company, they will also pool their app-based services, such as the MyTaxi ride-hailing app, and BMW’s ParkNow parking space finder.

“As pioneers of automotive engineering, we will not leave the field to others when it comes to the urban mobility of the future,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

DriveNow’s fleet of Minis and BMWs are a common sight in European countries. Car2Go, with a fleet consisting mostly of diminutive Smart cars, launched in the US in 2009, hit one million North American users last year, and has almost 3 million globally. 

The move reflects how traditional carmakers are under major pressure to get deeper into the shared-mobility market now dominated by Uber, Didi, and other startups. Relying simply on selling cars is no longer enough.

The two companies already tried to merge their car-sharing units last year, but were held up, in part, by the announcement of an EU antitrust investigation into allegations of cartel-like behavior among German automotive firms. The merger announced today (March 28) will also require EU regulator approval.