BMW takes full control of ridesharing service DriveNow

30 January 2018

30 January 2018 BMW has taken complete control of its ridesharing arm DriveNow, purchasing rental company Sixt’s stake in the business. The agreement is subject to approval from German antitrust officials but gives the manufacturer full control of a company in a market that is rapidly growing. With autonomous vehicles comes the potential for a rethink in traditional automotive ownership, meaning car companies are continuously looking for new ways to engage with consumers. The acquisition of the Sixt shares in DriveNow is the second major purchase BMW has made in 2018, following the purchase of Parkmobile, which made the company a leading provider of digital parking solutions. This means the company now offers on-demand mobility through DriveNow and ReachNow, parking with ParkNow and vehicle charging through its ChargeNow arm. ′We have achieved extraordinary success with DriveNow over the past seven years, thanks to the efforts of the DriveNow employees and the excellent cooperation with our joint venture partner, Sixt,’ said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad, Customer Engagement and Digital Business Innovation BMW Group. ′Sixt will remain a strong partner for us in the future. Our aim is to win 100 million customers for our premium mobility services by 2025. With DriveNow as a wholly-owned subsidiary, we have all options for continued strategic development of our services in our hands. Our experience with mobility services supports our development of future autonomous, electrified and connected fleets.’ ′The joint development of DriveNow impressively demonstrates the innovative strength of Sixt and the BMW Group. We would like to thank the DriveNow employees and the BMW Group for this success and look forward to continuing our strategic partnership with the BMW Group through our contracts for delivery of BMW and MINI brand vehicles’, said Alexander Sixt, member of the Managing Board of Sixt SE, responsible for Group Strategy. The purchase removes a barrier to a potential merger between DriveNow and Daimler’s ridesharing company car2go. Plans for such a move were first discussed in December 2016. However, Sixt blocked any further collaboration between the two companies. Such a merger will see the manufacturers in a position to compete with Uber, widely regarded as the market leader in rise-hailing services. The US company is looking at incorporating autonomous vehicles into its fleet, striking up a deal with Volvo to supply the technology. ′In 2017 our customers drove over eight million kilometres with the DriveNow electric fleet – that is equivalent to driving around the globe more than 200 times on electric power. DriveNow not only reduces traffic and improves the parking situation in urban areas, but it is also supporting the breakthrough of electromobility,’ said DriveNow Managing Director Sebastian Hofelich. ′We look forward to working with our franchise and city partners to continue actively sustainably shaping urban mobility,’ he added. Photograph courtesy of BMW