German car companies Daimler and BMW have announced they are close to agreeing to combine their car sharing services Car2Go and DriveNow.
The car sharing merger talks are in the final stages and the combined company will be independently run, with BMW and Daimler as largest shareholders, as reported by Reuters.
According to Reuter’s source, a senior executive at one of the carmakers, the assets being pooled include BMW’s ParkNow parking app.
In the car industry, the likely deal is seen as a way to help the German brands compete with the global taxi company Uber.
Daimler’s Car2Go launched in 2008 and is a sharing service operating around 14,000 cars in 26 cities in North America, Western Europe and China.
DriveNow is a joint venture between BMW and car rental firm Sixt founded in 2011 which operates more than 6,000 vehicles in nine major European cities.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper reported yesterday that both brands would keep their names, but their technology would be merged; and it said a deal could be signed next month.
The FAZ reported as well that the merger could be announced already in February.
Reports of a possible merger first emerged more than a year ago, but the plan was rejected by Sixt. The FAZ said Sixt was close to agreeing to BMW buying part of its stake and brand rights.
Car2Go’s customer numbers rose 30% in 2017 to almost 3m, including 870,000 in Germany, while DriveNow’s rose by a quarter to 1 million users, including 720,000 in Germany.