Uber Car: This Is a Big Disappointment for Uber Fans

Uber CarNo Uber Car Coming, CEO Says

The rumor mills were buzzing about it for weeks, but now it appears there won’t be any “Uber Car” rolling off assembly lines.

Considering that Uber Technologies Inc. and Daimler AG are nearly equal in market value, you would expect the two firms to be at war. But earlier this week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sat down for a panel discussion with Daimler’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche.

The panel was a feature event at the Axel Springer NOAH conference. It’s a two-day summit in Berlin that brings investors together with technology companies.

What’s really strange is that Kalanick and Zetsche even showed up together. Everyone who was there says it was an absurd entrance. They arrived in the back of an ancient Soviet-made yellow car while being driven by the editor of a major German newspaper.

At least it drew some laughs from the crowd.

Once they were on stage, though, things got a little more serious. The moderators asked some pointed questions about the future of Uber, including a possible Uber IPO (initial public offering), and the rumored Uber Car.

The market has been salivating for an Uber IPO for several years now. Most people thought the company would go public as it approached a staggering valuation of $40.0 billion, which would have tied Facebook’s record for the most highly valued startup.

Instead, Uber just kept raising money in private placements. The company expanded into China, raising money for a subsidiary called…yup, you guessed it—Uber China.

Now, Uber has raised money from Saudi Arabia. Kalanick defended that decision by saying the company is helping Saudi Arabian women get around.

He was equally vague on the IPO question, saying the company would go public sometime in the next 10 years.

Great; thanks for the insight!

After crushing rumors about a supposed merger (or hostile takeover) between Daimler and Uber, the two CEOs went on to talk about the future of the car industry, including the possibility of an Uber Car.

“Cars are not going away soon and companies like Uber are not going to be making them,” Uber’s Kalanick said. He lost his appetite for manufacturing after visiting a German car factory. Its precision was too daunting for him. (Source: Ibid.)

However, he did say that the company is looking to work with major automakers to make an Uber Car. It’s choosing to license its technology with partnerships. The company is reportedly in talks with Fiat, and it recently signed a deal with Toyota Motors.

“We are competitors, of course,” Daimler’s Zetsche said about the potential Uber Car. “There might be many areas where we are competitors in the future.” (Source: Ibid.)

Image source: Flickr; Image copyright 2015, Mark Warner