AutoGravity Expands Mercedes-maker Buys Stake in U.S. Car App

Daimler has bought a stake in a California-based app for users to compare financing deals to buy a car. The automaker will invest millions in the software company, AutoGravity.
Daimler is expanding its digital clout with its investment in AutoGravity.

Daimler will invest a “higher two-digit million” figure in California-based software firm AutoGravity, whose app allows users to compare financing deals before buying a car, the Mercedes-maker said Tuesday.

The luxury carmaker’s subsidiary Daimler Financial Services will invest in AutoGravity by the end of this year, a company spokesman told news agency Reuters.

Former Daimler manager Andy Hinrichs co-founded AutoGravity, which describes itself as a fintech, at the end of 2015 in Irvine, California and he is currently its chief executive.

The app allows customers to compare financing from different banks and financial firms for cars of different brands and connects the customers to dealerships. It competes with Auto Navigator, a subsidiary of New York-listed bank Capital One.

In conjunction with Daimler’s investment, the U.S. company has rolled out its product nationally across 46 states in the U.S. after running a pilot version of its digital financing app in California  in the summer last year, Daimler said. AutoGravity may expand to other markets, it added.

The investment underlines initiatives by German carmakers to expand digital car services as Silicon Valley-based tech firms, such as ride hailing app Uber and Google’s self-driving car technology subsidiary Waymo, encroach on an industry still dominated by Mercedes, BMW, VW and other traditional vehicle producers.

VW, which wants to be a leading “mobility provider” in the ride-sharing economy, last May announced a $300 million investment in Gett, a New York-based competitor to Uber. BMW has teamed up with Intel and Mobileye to develop self-driving car technology. Daimler launched its car sharing service Car2go in 2008 and offers an app called mytaxi.