Mercedes-Benz, BMW, And Audi Preparing To Launch Bid For Nokia HEREAuto News
According to a report posted by the Wall Street Journal, it appears that three premium German carmakers – Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are preparing to launch a formal bid to acquire a majority stake of HERE, Nokia Corp.’s mapping unit.
If you aren’t familiar with HERE, they provide consumers with maps and navigation systems and unlike Google Maps and Waze, it doesn’t require mobile data if you have downloaded its offline maps. You can check it out here (pun not intended) for Android and iOS devices.
However, why would the usually highly competitive premium German brands be interested in Nokia’s mapping unit, reportedly valued at more than two billion Euros?
Well, the three are looking to gain control of a key piece of technology that will be used in self-driving cars and in-car digital services (infotainment navigation units). With carmakers looking to implement automated driving into their vehicles in the future, having a well-established mapping unit would certainly be an advantage.
“The greatest threat to the automobile industry would be if Google developed an operating system for self-driving cars and made it available free to everyone,” said a person familiar with the situation. “We need the map for the operating system in the cars.”
Besides German carmakers, HERE’s customers also include General Motors, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Nissan, and Renault. They also claim to control about 80% of the United States and European markets for on-board navigation systems in cars.