Bosch, a leading maker of diesel engine parts and steering gearboxes, is about to shift gears. The privately-owned company on Wednesday said it bought Detroit-based ride-sharing service Splitting Fares, branded as SPLT, for an undisclosed amount. The purchase will catapult the world’s biggest car parts supplier into direct rivalry with ride-hailing apps from Uber and Lyft. It also makes Bosch a direct competitor of many of the carmakers it supplies: Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz cars, has its own app to order a taxi.
SPLT, founded in 2015, focuses on creating carpools from commuters heading in the same destination. It specifically targets companies, universities and municipalities, to allow them to offer ride-sharing services to their employees. SPLT’s business-to-business approach sets it apart from Uber, which targets end-users directly, but is similar to Daimler’s US subsidiary Via, which targets businesses as well as consumers.
Stuttgart-based Bosch, founded in 1886 as a mechanics and electrical engineering workshop, has been steadily building up a portfolio of new mobility products and already operates COUP, an electric-scooter sharing service. Buying SPLT will help transform it from a supplier of brakes, engine parts and wiper blades into a competitor of Daimler, VW, BMW and GM, which have all been building up car-sharing or ride-hailing services. In addition to Via, Daimler operates the German Car2Go sharing service. BMW has DriveNow in Europe and ReachNow in the US. VW owns Greenwheels and ride-hailing subsidiary Moia as well as a stake in Gett.