BMW and its main rival from Germany, Daimler, decided to join forces a while back and develop some alternatives to more traditional ways of getting around town. Along with three other companies, the two giants set up FreeNow, a ride-hailing app that’s rivaling companies like Uber and Bolt in a lot of places around Europe. And while initially FreeNow was doing great, the pandemic put a halt in its development. Uber apparently is interested in taking over its operations, according to a new report.
The issues started for FreeNow recently, when the company struggled to raise capital, according to sources quoted by Automotive News. That would be a quite likely scenario, as the pandemic outbreak forced a lot of people to review their way of life and even more had to work from home, making ride-hailing a bit redundant. Nevertheless, the market is recovering as more people start to move around more often but issues are still plaguing the entire segment.
Even though no official confirmation came from Uber or BMW/Daimler about discussions being carried out regarding the potential sale of FreeNow, we’re also missing a denial which means things are in motion. The main issue in this regard could be setting a price, as the ride-hailing segment is very volatile right now. From the available data, FreeNow apparently brought in 2.5 billion euros last year and was hoping to reach 8 billion in 2022 but obvious those plans are now gone, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The move would make sense for BMW and Daimler who have admitted in the past that making money from ride-hailing and mobility services proved tricky in the past. They are probably going to shift focus back to what they know best: car making. They wouldn’t be the only ones either. GM and Ford have also pulled back on their car-sharing business this year and back in 2019, for the same reasons.