Portfolio changes and strategic partnerships
By means of targeted investments and future-oriented partnerships, we strengthened our core business and made use of additional growth potential in 2017. We also focused on continuously developing our business portfolio and improving our competitiveness in our core business areas. Our activities revolve around the future-oriented strategic fields of Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric (CASE), all of which will play a major role in shaping the future of mobility. In order to strengthen our position in these areas, we forged ahead with our partnerships and made a large number of investments during the year under review. The most important projects are briefly described below.
Cooperation with Bosch on the development of highly automated and driverless driving
In March 2017, the two companies entered into a development agreement that will bring highly automated and driverless driving to city streets by the beginning of the next decade. The objective is to jointly develop software and algorithms for a highly automated driving system. By introducing highly automated and driverless driving in the urban environment, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road and provide an important building block for the traffic systems of the future.
Intelligent charging solutions for electric mobility
Daimler AG became an investor in the American charging solutions provider ChargePoint Inc. in March 2017. ChargePoint’s core areas of expertise include both the development and production of innovative infrastructure solutions for electric vehicles — ranging from conventional AC (alternating current) systems to ultra-fast DC (direct current) charging systems with up to 400 kilowatts. All of the products from ChargePoint are networked via software and can be expanded as needed. Along with hardware, the US market leader also provides its customers with customized cloud-based solutions, ranging from user-specific energy management systems to well-proven payment services, and a mobile app for private customers that provides innovative features previously unavailable in the European market. Daimler and ChargePoint are systematically pursuing the same goal: to promote the breakthrough of electric mobility through the targeted expansion of infrastructure and services. The strategic partnership of the two companies supplements existing Daimler AG alliances and joint ventures that are designed to build and expand an ecosystem for electric mobility.
With the establishment of the IONITY joint venture in November 2017, the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen with Audi and Porsche laid the foundation for the creation of the most powerful charging network for electric vehicles in Europe. The establishment and operation of approximately 400 high-power charging (HPC) stations by 2020 will be a major step toward enabling long-distance journeys with electric vehicles, thus helping to establish these vehicles in the market.
Expansion of strategic partnership with BAIC
In June 2017, Daimler AG and its Chinese partner BAIC Group signed a framework agreement that will strengthen their strategic cooperation through investments in the production of vehicles with alternative drive systems in China. As part of the investment agreement, Daimler intends to acquire a minority share in Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), a subsidiary of the BAIC Group. The goal is to strengthen the strategic collaboration with BAIC on vehicles with alternative drive systems. China is already the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles.
In July 2017, the two partners also signed an agreement that will further strengthen their cooperation within the framework of the production joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC). The companies plan to jointly invest around RMB 5 billion (approximately €655 million) in the production of battery-electric Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles at the BBAC manufacturing facility in Beijing. As part of this strategic framework agreement, Daimler and BAIC Motor are to prepare for the local production of battery-electric vehicles at BBAC between now and 2020. The partners also intend to provide the infrastructure needed for the local production of battery cells in China, as well as the required research and development capacities.
Daimler launches e-payment business
In January 2017, Daimler Financial Services acquired the electronic payment services provider PayCash Europe SA. With its entry into the e-payment sector, Daimler is launching its own electronic payment services provider under the brand name “Mercedes pay.” The “Mercedes pay” brand is a key component of Daimler’s mobility and digitization strategy. The new payment system underscores Daimler’s goal, as a leading provider of digital mobility services, of making its products and services even more attractive.
mytaxi invests in international expansion
Daimler’s mytaxi subsidiary — Europe’s leading taxi app — acquired 100 % of the Greek taxi app operator Taxibeat LTD in February 2017. Through this acquisition, Daimler is investing in the further development and expansion of urban mobility systems in Europe. Daimler will initially continue to use the Taxibeat brand name. In June 2017, Daimler also acquired a 100 % interest in Clever Taxi, the taxi app market leader in Romania. As a result, mytaxi now operates in 11 European countries. In the third quarter of 2017, we introduced a pooling service known as mytaxi match, which allows several customers to share a taxi. The pilot project for the service was launched in Warsaw.
Introducing mytaxi match
Targeted investments in mobility services
During the year under review, we expanded our range of innovative mobility services in a targeted manner. In August, the moovel Group acquired the Hamburg startup Familonet, which offers a locator app. Private car-sharing services have also been expanded through the acquisition of a minority interest in Turo, which is the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace for vehicle rentals in the United States. Turo plans to enter the German market in 2018. At the same time, Daimler integrated its Croove private car-sharing platform into the Turo organization. With the acquisition of flinc, the leading provider of door-to-door ride-sharing services, Daimler added yet another component to its portfolio of forward-looking mobility solutions.
ViaVan joint venture with the US startup company Via
Mercedes-Benz Vans entered the ride-sharing sector in October 2017 through the establishment of the ViaVan joint venture with the US startup company Via, which has its headquarters in New York. Via’s intelligent algorithm enables the creation of a dynamic mass transportation system that supplements public transport systems and reduces traffic volumes in cities. Technology from Via and engineering from Mercedes-Benz Vans thus form a perfect combination for efficient, affordable and sustainable ride-sharing services. Furthermore, Daimler acquired an equity interest in Via Transportation Inc. in 2017.