Uber Technologies wants to work with carmakers, not build vehicles itself, Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick said, leaving open the possibility of more partnerships after last month’s agreement with Toyota Motor.
Just go to a German manufacturing facility, “and you will very quickly realise you do not want to make cars”, Kalanick said at a panel in Berlin with Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche, citing a visit to a Daimler factory near Stuttgart. Instead of seeking to acquire its own automaking capacity, he said Uber will “work with companies that make them”.
Trading compliments after riding onstage together in a yellow Cold War-era Trabant, Kalanick and Zetsche ducked questions about whether the two companies will work together. Zetsche said Daimler chose chauffeur portal Blacklane for a 2013 investment because the carmaker could have a “dominating impact”. Kalanick said he’d be glad to take Daimler’s money but wouldn’t want an investor to have such a big role.
Uber is in partnership talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The technology company is also talking to other carmakers, one of the people said. Ride-sharing apps have drawn $9 billion in funding since January 1, including Saudi Arabia’s $3.5 billion investment in Uber last week, as investors seek a stake in an industry that’s challenging the concept of car ownership.
“Car companies have realised that especially in an urban area, people don’t own a car, but they need to use one sometimes,” said Martyn Briggs, a transportation expert at Frost & Sullivan. “They’re looking at a longer-term view.”
- Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is looking at the future of transportation.