Daimler has come to terms to acquire a majority stake in the France-based on-demand taxi service Chauffeur Privé, the companies have jointly announced.
The move represents just one of many similar instances in recent times when a large auto manufacturer (such as Daimler) has acquired, or acquired a large stake in, a new mobility services or on-demand taxi service firm (such as Chauffeur Privé, Lyft, Ridecell, etc.).
While Chauffeur Privé is reportedly a rather small competitor to Uber in France, based on Daimler’s own associations with luxury (through the Mercedes-Benz brand, amongst others), it may well be the case that Chauffeur Privé will be focusing on the higher end of the potential market rather than competing across segments with Uber.
“Daimler says it intends to complete its acquisition of the company by 2019. It has been moving aggressively to acquire ride hailing services in the Middle East/North Africa area as it positions itself to be a major playing in the ride hailing industry in coming years,” Steve Hanley wrote in an earlier article on CleanTechnica.
Reuters provides further details: “The price of the acquisition, which will be carried out by the German company’s Daimler Mobility Services division, was not disclosed. Chauffeur Privé was founded in 2011. The company says it has more than 1.5 million customers and access to 18,000 drivers, and the service is relatively popular in Paris.
“Daimler has already made forays into the growing industry of car-ride hailing mobile applications. In June, Dubai-based ride hailing firm Careem said it would step up its expansion into new markets after raising $150 million from investors, which included Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding.
“Earlier this month, Daimler’s French rival Renault bought a stake in a glossy magazine publishing group, which it said formed part of its strategy to see how to keep travelers entertained in an era of driverless cars.”
I hadn’t actually heard about Renault’s purchase of a stake in a major publishing group until very recently — the move certainly represents an interesting approach to the eventual “boredom” that may accompany self-driving taxi use for some. Given how glued many people are to their smartphones, though, even when they should have their eyes on the road, it’s perhaps unnecessary to worry much about keeping riders entertained.