Earlier this week it was announced that – as previously reported on numerous occasions – the German consortium comprising BMW, Audi and Daimler had won the bid to acquire Nokia’s Here mapping unit.
The triumvirate showcases a rare situation – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are dire rivals in terms of sales and profits but still managed to overcome issues and unite to buy a business that might be crucial to the future of the automotive industry – tipped to embrace very soon the era of autonomous vehicles. And with Here the supplier of all three and numerous other manufacturers, the Germans have already announced it would remain an independent company while more investors into the consortium could be considered immediately after the buyout is complete – most likely in the beginning of 2016. The consortium is also planning to increase the number of software engineers in a bid to continue the breakthrough work down by Here in the areas of navigation and high-resolution mapping for vehicle automation.
Also, the idea of taking Here and transforming it into an open platform used by the entire automotive community could fundamentally transform the way the industry handles innovative development. The Here division is also an asset for the traditional automakers to prevent the rising to power of technology firms such as Google – and the use for free without licensing fees already includes FCA, Renault, PSA, Ford, GM and Toyota. It is also interesting to note that former German acquisitions outside of their home country have rarely worked – just remember Daimler and Chrysler or BMW and Rover – and this new purchase will surely be monitored closely by the entire auto community.