BMW and Daimler join forces with a plan to cut the number of cars in cities

Busy city road
Image credit: Edewaa Foster on Unsplash

Rival car giants BMW and Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) have joined forces to take on the likes of Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and many others, with the goal of decluttering city streets.

Your Now is a set of services that cover parking, electric car charging, ride-hailing, car-sharing, and journey planning (using multiple forms of transport including bikes and public transport) – all alternatives to the traditional model of car ownership.

Each company had been developing its own transport services (including RingGo, mytaxi, Beat, Hive and ParkMobile), which have now been pooled into five new businesses: ShareNow, FreeNow, ReachNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow.

The partnership might seem like a strange one, but Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche insists it makes good sense – for the two companies, drivers, and the environment.

"Our cooperation will fundamentally improve the way people move around in an urban environment," Zetsche wrote in a blog post. "The new player will pave the way for a world that travels via autonomous and electrified vehicle fleets. This will reduce emissions generated by road traffic and enhance our customers’ comfort.

Friends and rivals

The two companies announced their partnership last year, but had to wait for regulators to give the green light.

However, Zetsche insists the two are still competitors. "Is the positive competition between Stuttgart and Munich now a thing of the past?" he asked. "Hell no, of course not. It was the competition between our two companies that propelled us to the top ranks of premium automakers.

"And competition will still be the factor that motivates us to deliver top performance in our core business in the future. After all, our motivation remains unchanged: Both of us are determined to build the best cars in the world."