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BMW & Daimler in Talks to Share Key Automotive Technology, Including Self-Driving Tech

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【Summary】German automakers BMW AG and Daimler AG have been rivals in the automotive industry for years. However, the two luxury automakers are in talks to work together and share key automotive technologies, such as batteries and autonomous driving technology.

FutureCar Staff    Dec 21, 2018 11:37 AM PT
BMW & Daimler in Talks to Share Key Automotive Technology, Including Self-Driving Tech

German automakers BMW AG and Daimler AG have been rivals in the automotive industry for years. However, the two luxury automakers are in talks to work together and share key automotive technologies, such as batteries and autonomous driving technology, according to a new report by Bloomberg.

The move reflects the fundamental changes sweeping the industry, with automakers partnering with each other as well as tech companies as a way to bring advanced automotive technology to the market faster and stay more competitive.

According to the report, BMW and Daimler are exploring options, including sharing vehicle platforms, EV batteries and autonomous driving technology, according to people familiar with the matter that spoke with Bloomberg. They asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Collaboration would be restricted to technology that's not brand-specific, but deliberations are in their early stages and the timing of any decisions are unclear, the people said. Daimler and BMW declined to comment.

Automakers are under pressure to invest in self-driving cars, electric cars, and connected services, which are relatively new technologies for automakers. To jump start development in these areas, automakers are increasingly reaching out to competitors and newer startups in an effort to cut costs speed up time to market.

Volkswagen is in negotiations with Ford Motor Co. to partner on commercial vans and potentially autonomous vehicles. Partnerships are also a way to become more agile in the race to dominate digital services such as ride hailing to counter cash-rich technology giants like Alphabet Inc.

Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi have already joined forces to purchase high-definition (HD) mapping company HERE Technologies for 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in 2015. HD maps are a necessary component for self-driving cars, allowing them to navigate.

In addition, Daimler and BMW recently announced they are combining their respective car-sharing platforms, Daimler's Car2Go and BMW's DriveNow, in a deal that received regulatory approval in the U.S. this week.

The merger of their mobility operations includes plans to add other services and has boosted prospects for more initiatives, the people said. Relations had soured last year after allegations surfaced that German carmakers had potentially breached antitrust laws in Europe. In July 2017, European antitrust authorities said that they were looking into allegations that Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW colluded to hold down the prices of crucial technology, including emissions equipment. That probe is ongoing.

Given the complex nature of product and technology cycles, the eventual payoff from a partnership between BMW and Daimler could take years to realize, the people said. Building new vehicles can involve decade-long planning and engineering, making long-term cooperation difficult, as was the case with General Motors five years ago.

In 2013, GM sold its stake in PSA Group after failing to find savings through joint purchasing and product development. Another alliance between Volkswagen and Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. broke down in 2016. VW had purchased 19.9 percent of Suzuki in 2010, but the collaboration failed. Suzuki had accused VW of trying to control it and eventually bought back its shares in 2015.

Aside from its talks with Daimler, BMW currently works with Toyota Motor Corp. to jointly built the the BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra sports car. Daimler, meanwhile, has a cross shareholding with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. involving engine sharing and joint vehicle production.


resource from: Bloomberg

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