Mercedes-Benz and BMW are two of the biggest automotive brands across the world with a combined history of over 200 years. With a presence in almost every car market across the globe, Daimler and BMW have led the European charge in the global car industry not only in terms of technology but also in terms of volumes.
Daimler group, Mercedes’ parent company, and BMW have been in talks for joining hands in terms of resources to develop future tech for transportation. While the joint effort had already got a green signal from the competition authorities in the EU some time ago, now America has also issued a nod clearing the path for the two German conglomerates to come together.
The global automotive industry is undergoing a tectonic shift after a century of building combustion engines to an electricity driven future. It is not only the powertrain that is reinventing itself, but along with it, the buying patterns, customer choices and the basic definition of transportation is being questioned in order to fit into the future that looms ahead of us.
In the meantime, while the traditional carmakers continued playing to their strengths, disruptors like Tesla built the alternate narrative and have now have gained the higher ground in terms of technology, learning and applications. Autonomous driving tech has been catapulted into the limelight by advances in artificial intelligence and the old-school manufacturers have been left behind, having to play the catch up game with small-scale startups not only from the Silicon Valley, but also from China. While China’s imminent collapse, as predicted by the western economists, isn’t even on the horizon, the capability of Chinese investors and hence, their technology has become a major threat to the global biggies of the automotive industry.
The joint venture would work towards developing and standardising non-specific components like batteries, motors, control systems et al. While that would certainly help in cost sharing, it might also lead to a faster development cycle. This would, ultimately, allow the Germans to catch up to the leaders in the multiple fields and help re-establish their supremacy on the back of the decades of production and quality management experiences that the existing thought leaders lack.