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.
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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- The Ford Motor Company is partnering with Microsoft to widen the scope of its connected car plans using the software giant’s Azure cloud platform.
- Volvo has begun a pilot involving 1,000 vehicles for car-to-car communications to warn drivers of dangerous road conditions.
- Autonomous connected vehicles will be launched onto the market in 2016, the head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance tells Mobile World Congress.
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.