BMW Group has entered a joint venture with Lisbon-based Critical Software to collaborate on sales digitalisation and connected car ecosystems.

The joint venture, named Critical TechWorks, will be 51% owned by BMW Group. It will tap into BMW’s data troves to develop solutions for connected cars, customer ecosystems, car-sharing, digitalisation of sales and smart factories.

“The new joint-venture company with the name Critical TechWorks will combine both partners’ expertise in premium mobility and automotive software engineering,” BMW said in a statement.

“[It] represents an important addition to the BMW Group’s global innovation network in the area of IT and software development,” it added.

“With increased involvement in the field of digitalisation, the BMW Group is … forging ahead with its transformation into a mobility-tech company and actively shaping the digital shift in the automotive industry.”

Rui Cordero, chief executive officer of Critical Software, said: “Software has a huge role to play in shaping the future of mobility and the automotive industry as a whole, and we plan to become a reference point not only in Portugal, but across the world.”

BMW is the latest carmaker to tap into Portugal’s thriving software development industry, as companies traditionally centred around manufacturing look to build their capabilities in more ethereal areas of technology.

In April, Volkwagen Financial Services (VWFS) took an indirect stake in Portugal’s VTXRM, a software developer for B2B and B2C financial services. The VW captive also held its first startup competition in the country last year, which it later replicated in the UK.