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BMW and SAP join forces to build German auto data alliance

[FRANKFURT] Germany's biggest industrial and technology firms formed a data-sharing alliance with carmakers as Europe's biggest economy fights to recover ground lost to US and Chinese competition.

Industrials giant Siemens and technology firm SAP will collaborate with automaker BMW and others to build a cloud-based data exchange platform that doesn't rely on US or Chinese technology.

The platform will enable German car manufacturers and their suppliers to identify production bottlenecks or parts shortages, helping them to avoid some of the production outages seen earlier this year due to coronavirus lockdowns.

The alliance's data-sharing platform will use the European Gaia-X cloud service and not US or Chinese data hosts like Amazon or Alibaba.

Geopolitical tensions and trade wars are making European politicians cautious about domestic champions ceding control of their data to external firms, fearing European companies could lose control of sensitive information about customers or production.

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The automotive alliance will "ensure value-added manufacturing and employment in Europe are secured," German economy minister Peter Altmaier said in a statement.

Telecom giant Deutsche Telekom and parts suppliers Robert Bosch GmbH and ZF Friedrichshafen will also take part in the project.

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