(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen is partnering with three German companies to fight cybercriminals.
VW has teamed with insurer Allianz, medical company Bayer and chemicals producer BASF to sell information-technology security services to companies in Germany starting next year.
The venture will help companies in Germany to identify cyber risks and repel cyber attacks, the companies said in a statement Friday. Measures will include an early-warning system and security audits to review corporate information security.
The Berlin-based venture will be called DCSO Deutsche Cyber-Sicherheitsorganisation (German Cybersecurity Organization), with each partner taking a 25 percent stake each. No investment value was given.
"Attacks on corporate IT systems are increasing, and it's of interest to Germany's economy to be prepared," said Lasse Osteneck, a VW spokesman. "Security is non-negotiable and that's also true for Volkswagen. We believe the new company is closing a market gap."
IT security is becoming more important for carmakers such as Volkswagen, with CEO Martin Winterkorn saying this week he seeks to reinvent Europe's biggest automaker into a company providing "smartphones on wheels."
In July hackers landed a Jeep Cherokee in a ditch, sparking a recall of about 1.4 million cars and sending a warning to BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz as they compete increasingly on technology rather than just horsepower.
By 2020, about 90 percent of new vehicles in western Europe will be connected to the Internet, compared with about one-third next year, according to Hitachi Ltd.
German companies lose about 51 billion euros ($58 billion) a year due to cybercrime, with the car, chemicals and pharmaceutical industries most affected, according to the country's Bitkom technology-industry association.
The government is eager to improve Germany's IT defenses as part of its "digital agenda," which is also aimed at blanketing the country with high-speed Internet by 2018 and backing the digitalization of industry.
DCSO will cooperate with Germany's Interior Ministry and the Federal Office for Information Security, and is open to additional partners, Osteneck said.