Daimler prefers sharing 

Contact: Scott Denne

Daimler has topped off an industrious 2017 with the acquisition of Uber rival Chauffeur Prive. Not only has the German automaker printed more deals than its peers, its M&A strategy highlights the alternate route it’s taking toward the industry’s impending technological changes. While many automakers have spread investments across autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing apps, Daimler has fastened on the latter category.

The purchase of Chauffeur Prive lands Daimler’s ride-hailing business a French outpost, adding to services it picked up in Greece, Romania and other locales across four such deals this year and eight since 2014. It also printed two additional transactions this year in related categories with the acquisitions of a mobile payments company and a location-based social network provider, and joined a consortium of automakers with the purchase of Nokia Maps back in 2015.

Compare that with Ford Motor and General Motors, which have bought five autonomous vehicle makers between them and each nabbed one ride-hailing app in the past two years, according to 451 Research’s M&A KnowledgeBase. That’s not to say Daimler doesn’t plan to develop autonomous cars. Rather, it suggests that the Mercedes-Benz parent views ride-hailing and -sharing apps not as a new sales channel for its cars but as a new sales model. When automakers do roll out fully autonomous vehicles at scale – something 451 Research expects to happen in about five years – Daimler will have an extra lane to monetization.

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