Daimler Vans Partners with Via Transport on Euro Ride-Sharing Venture

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz Vans unit is forming a joint venture in Amsterdam with Via Transportation Inc. to expand the New York City-based ride-hailing startup company’s services to Europe.

Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing $50 million in the venture. Volker Mornhinweg, who heads Mercedes-Benz Vans’ adVANce mobility strategy, will join Via's board of directors. The partners are launching European service in London this year and plan to expand soon to other major metropolitan areas.

Using Via's smartphone app and advanced algorithms, passengers headed in the same direction are connected to share rides based on their schedules and routes. The European joint venture also will license Via's technology to third parties, such as transport service providers and local public transit operators.

Initially, the partners will use Mercedes’ 9-seat Vito Tourer and 8-seat V-Class vans. They also plan to work together to optimize the design of future models for ride-sharing applications, including next-generation electrified and automated vehicles.

Mercedes Vans and Via have been collaborating in the U.S. since 2015. Launched four years ago, Via currently operates in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The company says it provides more than 1 million rides per month.