Currently reading: BMW and Mercedes cancel tie-up for autonomous car development
German rivals say partnership could resume in future; other collaborations remain unaffected
Rachel Burgess
2 mins read
19 June 2020

BMW and Mercedes-Benz have halted their partnership to develop autonomous car technology, having announced their plans to collaborate in February 2019.

The German car makers said that, following an extensive review, they “have arrived at a mutual and amicable agreement to concentrate on their existing development paths – which may also include working with current or new partners”.

The joint statement added that the partnership could be resumed at a later date and that the firms’ approach to “safety and customer benefits in the field of automated driving remains highly compatible”.

The announcement doesn't affect the co-operation between BMW and Mercedes parent company Daimler in other fields. They joined forces with Audi in 2015 to acquire location and technology platform Here. Then in early 2019 they pooled their mobility services in a €1 billion (£907 million) joint venture, which includes car-sharing, electric vehicle charging and ride-hailing.

Explaining the decision, the statement said: “BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG were unable to hold detailed expert discussions and talk to suppliers about technology roadmaps until the contract was signed last year.

“In these talks – and after extensive review – both sides concluded that, in view of the expense involved in creating a shared technology platform, as well as current business and economic conditions, the timing is not right for successful implementation of the co-operation.”

While no more details were given, the move shows the increasing importance of non-automotive partners to achieve technology-led goals. It also demonstrates the huge impact of the recent pandemic and the subsequent need for manufacturers to prioritise certain areas of their respective businesses to ensure profitability.

BMW development boss Klaus Fröhlich said: “We have systematically further developed our technology and scalable platform with partners like Intel, Mobileye, FCA and Ansys. Our current technology generation offers very strong, sustainable potential: with extremely powerful sensors and computing power, our robust modular system puts us in an excellent position to offer our customers what they need for many years.”

Mercedes research and development boss Markus Schäfer commented: “Our expertise complements that of the BMW Group very well, as our successful collaborations have proved. Next to decarbonisation, digitalization is a major strategic pillar for Mercedes-Benz. To prepare for the future challenges of a rapidly changing environment, we are currently also sounding out other possibilities with partners outside the automotive sector.”


BMW and Daimler to partner up for autonomous car development 

2021 BMW M5 gets fresh look and new technology 

Saloon showdown: Tesla Model 3 vs BMW 3 Series


Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
BMW 3 Series 320d 2019 Road Test review - hero front

In compelling 320d guise, Munich’s seventh-generation 3 Series successfully reclaims compact executive class honours

Join the debate


19 June 2020
Never in a month of Sundays were these two going to get along. I.M.O.

19 June 2020

 They know they're top Dogs, they can do this anytime or not and still make billions, that's just business, isn't it?

20 June 2020
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 They know they're top Dogs, they can do this anytime or not and still make billions, that's just business, isn't it?

What does this mean?

Is it easy to make billions?

Why aren't you making billions?  What aren't I making billions?  I like billions.

20 June 2020

he talks bollocks

20 June 2020
Pietro Cavolonero wrote:

he talks bollocks

more thought required?, what's to stop them in a few years collaborating then?, they can wait.

20 June 2020
They realise it's an uncrackable egg that, even if they manage to crack it, simply wouldn't be taken up in enough numbers to cover the development costs.

20 June 2020

are being applied to luxury, usually the bigger, car models. But there's where the paradox starts. The bigger the car, the less margin to evade other road users, the less agile, and the more difficult for the AV technology to scan-sensor-image the car's vicinity. 

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review