Daimler to launch Via ride-hailing in Europe

Sign shows to Daimler AG headquarter near Mercedes museum in Stuttgart, Germany, January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler DAIGn.DE is investing 50 million euros (£46 million) in a new joint venture with U.S.-based ride-hailing start-up Via to offer on-demand shared shuttle services in European cities starting with London this year.

Via already offers 1 million rides a month in Chicago, New York and Washington, complementing local transport by allowing customers to hail a van to a virtual bus stop using their smartphone.

The European joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via will operate as a new entity with headquarters in Amsterdam, Daimler said, adding that Volker Morhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, will join Via’s board of directors.

Daimler and Via’s joint venture will seek to partner with public transit operators across Europe and to develop vans with electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Jason Neely