Germany's big three rival carmakers - BMW, Mercedes and Audi - club together 2.5 billion euros to buy Nokia's HERE mapping business as they push towards autonomous driving. Grace Pascoe reports.
Fierce rivals turn business partners as Germany's big three carmakers join forces to buy Nokia's mapping business HERE. BMW, Audi and Daimler's Mercedes will pay equal stakes totalling 2.5 billion euros. The move seen as a bid to keep HERE from falling into the hands of high-tech digital rivals. Alastair McCaig of IG thinks it is a natural progression to directly invest for carmakers already heavily dependent on Nokia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG, MARKEY ANALYST, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "The fact that we have got three big automakers deciding to invest directly is maybe no real surprise. It also enables them to take a step away from the reliance that they have previously had in a number of other areas as far as Google Maps is concerned it is something that has sat a little bit uncomfortably with a number of them." HERE is already the leading supplier of digital maps for most of the world's top carmakers. Some of whom may be unhappy about the new ownership. The three premium car manufacturers hope HERE's technology will allow them to offer new features including autonomous driving. Intelligent mapping systems linked to wireless networks can recalculate routes to go via any location, weave around traffic jams and get speed limit warnings. The deal will shake up the pecking order between car makers, their parts suppliers and software rivals including Uber, Google, Waze and Apple. While Nokia is shedding the map business to focus on its merger with Alcatel Lucent. The deal is expected to close in early 2016.