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BMW cuts jobs, ends self-driving project with Mercedes

BMW will slash 6,000 jobs this year and freeze a major self-driving technology collaboration with rival Mercedes-Benz as the German luxury carmaker sees demand plunging because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 6,000 positions make up a considerable chunk of BMW’s more than 120,000 worldwide, with the job cuts coming as the industry battles a demand trough and production setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, BMW and Daimler-owned Mercedes “are putting their cooperation on development of next-generation technology for automated driving on hold,” the Munich and Stuttgart-based firms said in a joint statement.

The two groups had joined forces to catch up their American and Chinese competitors, including Tesla and Google, which have a head start
But talks begun last year had showed that “in view of the expense involved in creating a shared technology platform, as well as current business and economic conditions, the timing is not right,” they said.

“Cooperation may be resumed at a later date,” the two firms added.

BMW had already announced in May that it would bulk up a cost-cutting programme to tackle the economic devastation of infection control measures introduced to fight the coronavirus.

“Further steps are needed to make the BMW Group more resilient to external influences and market fluctuations,” bosses said in a statement, adding that the company aims “to achieve planned workforce reductions through attrition and voluntary agreements”

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