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Daimler and BMW Invest €1 Billion in Urban Mobility Co-Venture

When Daimler and BMW announced a plan to fuse carsharing services Car2Go and DriveNow in March 2018, it was largely because the two German auto giants had realized the threat posed by mobility upstarts like Uber and Waymo was way bigger than their 100-year-old rivalry.

“As pioneers in automotive engineering, we will not leave the task of shaping future urban mobility to others,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said at the time.

The two carmakers revealed the results of their plans in Berlin on Friday: a €1 billion investment in a total of five joint ventures — Reach Now for multimodal services, Charge Now for car charging, Free Now for ride-hailing, Park Now for parking, and Share Now for carsharing.

“Ultimately, we want to offer our customers as many options as possible for getting from A to B. In short, this is about driving, riding or being driven,” Zetsche said in a statement.

It’s also about cutting down the number of apps a person has to use to move around in the world. The 14 services being merged to create those five joint ventures already count 60 million active users worldwide. Daimler and BMW plan to add more than 1,000 jobs across the portfolio over the next few years.

The DriveNow and Car2Go apps were already showing each others’ vehicles on Friday in Berlin. The company says Share Now has more than 20,000 free-floating vehicles available in 30 cities worldwide, serving 4 million customers.

Ride-hailing service Free Now will combine the portfolio companies mytaxi, Chauffeur Privé, Clever Taxi and Beat, which serve 21 million customers in 17 European and Latin American countries.