D ass BMW and Daimler wanted to bundle their mobility services, was no longer a secret long before the merger to form today's Share Now in February 2019. Less than a year later, the announcement follows that the two large vehicle manufacturers are withdrawing their car sharing joint venture from the USA, Canada and three European cities. In Europe, the cities of London, Brussels and Florence will disappear. The decision should come into force from the end of 2020.
The companies cite two 'extremely difficult realities' as the overriding reason for the withdrawal. On the one hand, there is the very fluctuating state of the global mobility landscape and, on the other, the increasing complexity of the infrastructure and rising operating costs. In the future, Share Now wants to concentrate on the remaining 18 European cities.
Five joint ventures with their own core competencies
Together, BMW and Daimler have more than a billion Euros have been put into their collaboration in order to further expand and closely interlink their existing offers in the areas of car sharing, ride hailing, parking, charging and multimodality. This resulted in not one large, but five small joint ventures. They are called Reach Now, Charge Now, Free Now, Park Now and Share Now.
Each of the joint ventures has its own core competency. Reach Now is about multimodality, i.e. the networking of different modes of transport. Charge Now takes care of charging electric cars. The core competence of Free Now is ride-hailing, i.e. the operation of intelligently networked mobility services. Park Now is all about parking services and Share Now takes care of car sharing. Each company has its own managing director.
“We have built up a strong customer base with our mobility offers. Now we are taking the next strategic step. We are pooling the strengths and know-how of 14 successful brands, ”said the outgoing Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche at the time. With the new companies, the aim was to consistently use the opportunities that arise from digitization, shared services and the increasing need for mobility among customers. “Ultimately, we want to create as many options as possible for our customers to get from A to B. In short: drive yourself, ride with you or be driven, ”said Zetsche.
Goal: Merging into a large service provider
Reach Now alone is said to have been used by 6.7 million people a year ago. Apps offer you various options to get from A to B as efficiently as possible. Local transport tickets can be booked and paid for directly, as can mobility options such as car sharing, ride hailing or rental bikes.
'Strong growth in ride hailing required'
Charge Now should help to set up a comprehensive charging infrastructure for electric cars. And also to help drivers of electric vehicles to find, use and pay for public charging stations at home and abroad easily and conveniently. Park Now is based on digital parking services for parking garages and on the roadside. Here the service ranges from reserving a parking space to ticketless entry and exit of parking garages to cashless payment. In February 2019, over 30 million customers in around 1,100 cities are said to have used Park Now.
Whether taxis, private drivers with rental cars or rental scooters with electric drive: Free Now bundles different mobility services in one app, which is under the Term ride-hailing is subsumed. 'The issue of scalability is particularly important here,' said Zetsche. 'We have to grow particularly strongly with ride-hailing.' Share Now will continue to take care of classic car sharing via the free-floating system. The range of vehicles is to be increased, market coverage increased and the model range enlarged.