Daimler, BMW exiting North American car-sharing market

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FILE PHOTO: The Mercedes-Benz logo is seen before the company’s annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BMW AG (BMWG.DE) and Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) said Wednesday they plan to exit the North American car-sharing market and will halt operations in Montreal, New York, Seattle, Washington D.C. and Vancouver.

SHARE NOW and its Car2Go unit, a joint venture of the two German automakers, are ending operations on Feb. 29 in the United States and Canada citing the “volatile state of the global mobility landscape”, and “the rising infrastructure complexities facing North American transportation today and the associated costs needed to sustain operations here”.

Car2Go had 1 million North American members and 3 million worldwide, Daimler said last year.

The service allowed consumers to rent vehicles by the minute and park them on city streets or at parking meters without charge. The service faced tough competition from ride-hailing firms such as Uber Technologies Co (UBER.N), Lyft Inc (LYFT.O) and electric scooters.

SHARE NOW said Wednesday it “had remained hopeful that we would be able to come to a solution – especially these last few months – we are ultimately not in a position to commit to the level of investment necessary to make the North American market successful both in the near and long term”.

In October, the companies ended operations in Denver, Austin, Portland, and Calgary and said they were end operations by year-end in Chicago.

In 2018, Daimler bought Europcar’s (EUCAR.PA) remaining 25 percent stake in Car2Go for 70 million euros ($78 million). Last year, BMW and Daimler merged their car-sharing units Car2Go and DriveNow as well as ride-hailing, parking and charging services.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Alex Richardson

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