Uber launches in Hamburg, now live in six German cities

FILE PHOTO: Screens display the Uber Technologies Inc. logo on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the company's IPO in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Uber said on Wednesday it was launching ride-hailing services in Germany’s second city, Hamburg, as it seeks to achieve scale in a country where it has met resistance from local taxi firms, city governments and the courts.

The $75 billion platform, which connects drivers and passengers in 100 European cities, is launching its low-cost UberX option in Hamburg along with Uber Taxi, a traditional taxi service, and Uber Green, which uses electric vehicles.

Hamburg is the sixth German city in which Uber Technologies Inc has rolled out its full range of services, following a pledge last year by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to make a fresh start here in Europe's largest economy and seek responsible growth.

“The ways people move around cities are changing and we see positive regulatory momentum for ride sharing across Europe,” said Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Vice President, International Rides, at Uber.

“We are partnering with cities throughout Germany to address their growing transportation needs and to shape the future of urban mobility together.”

Uber competes in Germany with FREE NOW, a taxi app backed by Daimler and BMW. Recently rebranded, FREE NOW is part of a joint venture into which the two carmakers plan to invest 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion).

The U.S. ride-hailing platform, which floated in New York in May, has faced a string of setbacks in Germany dating back to the buccaneering days of founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick.

Germany’s highest court ruled last December that a defunct limousine service offered by Uber was illegal, finding in favor of a complaint brought by the owner of a Berlin taxi business that it violated laws governing car rentals.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by David Evans