FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s BMW has bought out partner Sixt from their joint venture DriveNow, paving the way for a broader car-sharing and robotaxi alliance with Daimler to compete against the likes of Uber and Lyft.
BMW is close to agreeing a deal to combine its car-sharing services with Daimler’s Car2Go, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
The German carmakers want to build a joint business which includes car sharing, ride-hailing, electric vehicle charging, and digital parking services, a senior executive at one of the companies said.
Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and BMW declined comment on the status of potential talks of their car-sharing business. “This is speculation, we do not comment,” BMW said.
The senior executive, who declined to be named because the plan is not public, said: “This will create an ecosystem which can also be used for managing robotaxi fleets.”
The market for ride-hailing services currently makes up around 33 percent of the global taxi market, and could grow eightfold to $285 billion by 2030, once autonomous robotaxis are in operation, Goldman Sachs said in a recent research note.
BMW and Daimler are now working on developing autonomous cars, vehicles which could enable them to upend the market for taxi and ride-hailing services.
Sixt on Monday said it would generate an extraordinary pre-tax profit of about 200 million euros in 2018 due to the sale of the DriveNow stake for 209 million euros ($259 million).
($1 = 0.8066 euros)
Reporting by Edward Taylor and Sylwia Lasek; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Georgina Prodhan