June 28, 2017

Automakers Race to Get Ahead of Silicon Valley on Car-Sharing

BMW M2 Coupe on display at the Brussels Motor Show
Copyright: jvdwolf / 123RF Stock Photo

This was not a car dispatched by Uber or Lyft, the two tech companies that are the Coke and Pepsi of ride-sharing services. Instead, the vehicle belonged to the company that made it, BMW Group, through a service it owns called ReachNow.

The ride-sharing service represents the latest effort by a car manufacturer to get a grip on the technological trends that could disrupt their businesses by making vehicle ownership — and eventually even drivers — unnecessary. BMW and Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz, are two of the most aggressive carmakers building their own “mobility services” to prevent Silicon Valley’s upstarts from keeping all the spoils themselves.

For both, a major focus has been building short-term rental services; customers drive themselves. On Thursday, ReachNow branched out to ride-sharing (in which drivers pick up passengers) by expanding a small private test of the service in Seattle to all of the service’s members in the city.

Both Daimler and BMW said their current mobility services were […]

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