German car makers eyeing Nokia Here mapping service

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz said to be planning a bid for Nokia’s Here mapping division to keep the unit in European hands

A consortium made up of German car makers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler is considering putting forward a bid for Nokia’s Here online mapping service, with assistance from Chinese search engine giant Baidu.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, the consortium is seeking to keep the unit in Europe and prevent it from falling into the hands of US firms such as Apple, Facebook and Uber, all of which have been linked to the sale of the Here service.

A mapping service such as Here is an essential component of the connected car proposition, and something that brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz would be keen to get their hands on. 

Note that Mercedes-Benz demonstrated a driverless car, the F-015, at CES in Las Vegas at the beginning of 2015.

Nokia initially announced it was exploring its options for a sale of Here at the time it set out a €15.6bn plan to acquire Alcatel-Lucent.

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Here could net Nokia over €3bn, and as much as €4bn or €5bn, according to analysts.

The Finnish networking supplier is understood to see the unit as a powerful alternative tool to Google Maps, particularly when it comes to building ad-free connected car applications.

Nokia has already established partnerships for Here with Mercedes-Benz, as well as automotive components supplier Magneti Marelli, to develop connected car products and services. It has also struck up formal ties with the consortium’s other member, Baidu, which uses Here maps for location services to serve the growing number of Chinese tourists worldwide.

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