BMW takes over Sixt share of DriveNow
BMW Group has acquired the shares of car rental and mobility specialist Sixt in car-sharing programme DriveNow. The mobility joint venture will soon be wholly owned by BMW. The deal, which is subject to approval by anti-trust authorities (expected in Q2), fits with the vehicle manufacturing group’s strategy to become a customer-centric mobility company, as stated in its corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.
The Group is actively expanding its offering in the areas of sustainable, on-demand mobility (DriveNow and ReachNow), parking (ParkNow) and charging (ChargeNow). “Following the acquisition earlier this ear of Parkmobile LLC, a move which made the BMW Group the world’s leading provider of digital parking solutions, the acquisition of the Sixt shares in DriveNow is the next logical step in this strategy”, the Group said in a press release.
“Our aim is to win 100 million customers for our premium mobility services by 2025”, 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. “With DriveNow as a wholly-owned subsidiary, we have all options for continued strategic development of our services in our hands”.
Founded in 2011 by Sixt SE and BMW Group as a car-sharing joint venture with a 50% stake for each partner, DriveNow is currently present in 13 European cities, and counts more than a million customers. Its current valuation stands at €420 million. Its fleet comprises more than 6,000 Mini and BMW vehicles, including the electric BMW i3. Last year, customers tallied up 8 million kilometres with the electric vehicles in the DriveNow fleet alone.
BMW Group will continue its partnership with Sixt in other areas, including the delivery of BMW and Mini vehicles to the Sixt fleet.
UK car manufacturing falls by 3% in 2017
A fall of 3% in UK car manufacturing has prompted the British motor industry to call for urgent clarity on the Brexit transition.More than 10% of UK car exports are at risk from Brexit, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which supports the interests of the Uk automotive industry.New figures reveal that 1,671,166 vehicles rolled off British production lines last year, the second highest output in 17 years, but a -3.0% decline on 2016. The SMMT attributed the fall to a 9.8% decrease in production for the domestic UK market. Exports account for 79.9% of cars manufactured in Britain, and their numbers were down by just 1.1% in 2017. More than half (53%) of the cars made in the UK are sold to European Union countries, hence the industry concerns regarding Brexit. Equally worrying were SMMT figures that revealed UK automotive investment fell by 33.7% in 2017 to £1.1 billion, down from £1.66 billion in 2016. More positive news came from booming sales to other key markets, including Japan up 25.4%, a 19.7% rise in sales to China, and a 7% increase in sales to the US. In addition, demand for UK-built engines grew both domestically and overseas, with overall output up by 6.9% to more than 2.7 million units – with 54.7% destined for car and van plants around the world, the majority of which are in the EU.Jaguar Land Rover is the biggest vehicle manufacturer in the UK, producing 532,107 cars last year, followed by Nissan with 495,206, MINI with 218,885, Toyota on 144,077 and Honda with 164,160. Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT, said, “We urgently need clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit, arrangements which must retain all the current benefits else around 10% of our exports could be threatened overnight.”We compete in a global race to produce the best cars and must continue to attract investment to remain competitive. Whilst such investment is often cyclical, the evidence is that it is now stalling so we need rapid progress on trade discussions to safeguard jobs and stimulate future growth.”The Brexit transition period will run from March 2019, when the UK leaves the EU, to 31 December 2020. During this time, the SMMT’s members want to see a deal that allows business to continue as usual until a new trading relationship with the EU comes into force. This would include maintaining the UK’s membership of the single market and customs union and guarantees that the UK will continue to benefit from EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Customs Union arrangements with third countries. About 10% of UK car exports are destined for countries such as South Korea, Canada, Turkey and, soon, Japan, with which the EU has beneficial trading arrangements.The SMMT also wants assurances that vehicle certifications issued in the UK will remain valid at home and abroad. And finally, it insists that during the Brexit transition there should be no new customs checks, which would add cost, cause delays and disrupt manufacturing.