BMW and Daimler’s plan to tie up car-sharing and on-demand car services has been given the go-ahead by the European Commission, paving the way for consolidation in the budding and highly competitive alternative mobility market.
The Commission has approved plans to create six separate joint ventures (JVs), handling services from car-sharing and ride-hailing to parking and vehicle charging.
The regulators’ examination had raised concerns around the overlap and combined market share of the two companies’ respective car clubs, BMW’s DriveNow and Daimler’s Car2Go.
The Commission wanted to ensure that the tie-up would not create an unbreakable monopoly, and that that third-party “integrator apps” – which aggregate services for access through a single platform – would maintain access to the joint venture’s services. Daimler already operates integrator app Moovel, which it is starting to grow into a “marketplace” for multi-modal transport.
The Commission said: “Daimler and BMW would have the ability and incentive to shut out rival providers of integrator apps, to the benefit of … Moovel; and rival car sharing providers, to the benefit of their own car sharing services.”
As conditions for full approval, the Commission directed Daimler and BMW to allow integrator apps to display Car2Go and DriveNow vehicles, and conversely, to open up Moovel to present and future car-sharing rivals. Volvo, Renault and Volkswagen are among the OEMs already planning to launch their own mobility proposition, while Groupe PSA has already been experimenting with its Free2Move brand, which also includes an integrator app.
The approval of the tie-up is set to boost year-end earnings at the two companies, at a time when sales slowdowns in China, trade wars and more cumbersome emission regulations have all converged to batter profit lines. Captives at both carmakers have been looking to grow mobility services business as a way of offsetting lower revenues from traditional car financing and leasing lines.