If you already thought the future was going to be weird, with autonomous cars possibly taking to the streets in droves, it could be even stranger, now that BMW and Daimler have decided to put their rivalry aside—to an extent—and partner up to create a sort-of mobility behemoth.
On Tuesday, the automakers announced they intended to join forces to help scale their efforts in producing efficient ride-hailing and electric vehicle services.
Pending approval from regulators, both companies—more than a century old each—would work together in five core areas as part of a new partnership with each holding a 50 percent stake. In particular, that includes car-sharing services (like Car2Go), ride-hailing, parking, and electric vehicle charging.
The move emphasizes just how much automakers have bought into the idea that electric cars and autonomy will play a role in the industry in the coming years. That apparently means even putting aside a fierce rivalry to make it happen.
“We want to stay competitors,” Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “At the same time, it is time to take a moment to do something else. Together.”
Nowadays, everyone’s trying to get a piece of the ride-hailing action, because it’s supposed to be “the next big thing,” even if self-driving cars may never actually happen. Same goes for electric vehicles. It’s bound to be cutthroat for years to come.
But that sort of pressure means the strange bedfellows like BMW and Mercedes are going to team up along the way. Unusual, sure, but stranger things have happened.