BMW starts car-sharing programme in US image

The Munich-based premium automaker plans to expand its car-sharing services and it seems that the US market is the next frontier for BMW.

Increasingly more automakers are trying to explore other businesses as well, as the well-known path of just selling cars is not the only way for getting extra profit anymore. Car- and ride-sharing services are the next big thing and the automotive industry does not intend to leave the whole cake in the hands of companies such as Uber. “We are currently witnessing an extremely exciting period in the development of the automotive industry,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member responsible for mobility services, said. “Our customers rightly expect uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions.” Therefore, under the new brand name “ReachNow”, BMW launched last week a car sharing service in Seattle, the automaker’s first step in the US market, before it tries to expand to other cities.

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The programme is based on BMW’s mobility service currently operating in Europe under the name “DriveNow”. Customers in Seattle can choose from an initial fleet of 370 BMW and MINI cars, out of which 20 percent are i3 electric models. “With this service, we are building up on Drive Now, our extremely successful European business model, and bringing it up to a new level in the USA,” Schwarzenbauer said. “Seattle is an innovative, internationally-oriented city which makes it the perfect location to launch these services.” The service will offer short- and long-term rental services, delivery service, chauffeur service or longer-term rental. Car sharing is also available exclusively to companies or residential complexes.

All models in Seattle are charged at a rate of 0.49 dollars for each minute a BMW i3, 328i model or a Mini Cooer is used and a break of journey (parking) 0.30 dollars per minute, while the one-off registration fee is 29 dollars. However, ReachNow is launching with an introductory offer of 0.41 dollars for each minute the vehicle is used and registration is free of charge. All prices are inclusive of insurance, petrol, electricity, parking costs, taxes and fees.