BMW and Daimler are close to merging their mobility operations, according to a source from BMW.
Reuters reported on Monday that, according to an unnamed BMW senior executive, the two carmakers are on their way to setting up a joint business for car-sharing, e-hailing, electric vehicle charging and digital parking services.
The source said: “This will create an ecosystem which can also be used for managing robotaxi fleets.”
Spokespeople for BMW and Daimler told Motor Finance, separately, that they do not comment on “speculation”.
On Monday, BMW said it was buying German can rental company Sixt’s 50% stake in car sharing platform DriveNow for €209m (£184m). This gives BMW full ownership of the business, potentially facilitating a fusion with Daimler’s Car2go.
On the acquisition, Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of BMW’s board, said: “Our aim is to win 100 million customers for our premium mobility services by 2025. With DriveNow as a wholly-owned subsidiary, we have all options for continued strategic development of our services in our hands. Our experience with mobility services supports our development of future autonomous, electrified and connected fleets.”
DriveNow was founded as a joint venture between BMW and Sixt in 2011. Its car clubs operates in cities across nine European countries, including London.
The report of the two carmakers’ potential collaboration comes as BMW’s chief told a German magazine of his intention to beat Mercedes-Benz at sales volumes by 2020.
This is not the first time a merger along these lines has been rumoured. At the end of 2016 DriveNow had to deny press reports from Germany that BMW was in discussions with Daimler about merging the two mobility operations.