Car Industry

BMW, Daimler might combine car-sharing forces

There's no good way to mash up Car2Go and DriveNow. Car2DriveNow?

ReachNow

You know things are getting weird in the car-sharing industry when long-time rivals like BMW and Daimler are considering teaming up.

BMW's DriveNow (called ReachNow in the US) and Daimler's Car2Go services could merge into a single entity, Reuters reports, citing "hints" from the CEO of Sixt. Sixt has a roughly 50 percent stake in DriveNow, worth a reported $560 million.

Earlier this year, Car2Go finally added Mercedes-Benz vehicles to its US fleet, which is just a bit fancier than a Smart Fortwo.

Car2Go

So why would the lion lie with the lamb? It's pretty straightforward -- both want to lay waste to new competitors from other industries. Both Lyft and Uber have made moves outside traditional ride-hailing, offering a kind of pay-as-you-go scheme that's a bit more convenient than traditional car ownership. Maven Gig offers something along these lines, too.

Representatives from DriveNow did not immediately return a request for comment. Car2Go declined to comment "on rumor and speculation."

The idea behind both DriveNow/ReachNow and Car2Go is simple. Instead of buying a car, people can rent a car for a period of time as small as an hour. The price you pay includes things like insurance coverage, and cars can usually be dropped off in a variety of areas within a company's "home zone," but nothing is stopping users from taking those cars on longer trips outside of that zone.

This scheme is vastly more popular in Europe, especially when free parking is thrown into the mix. Over in the US, car ownership remains prevalent, although ReachNow has expanded multiple times on the West Coast since it opened for business. According to Reuters, DriveNow's membership base is closing in on 1 million users, and Car2Go has about 2.7 million members worldwide.