Mini introduces new car-sharing scheme for owners image

BMW’s British Mini brand has joined the expanding ranks of automakers that have jumped to the new business opportunities revealed by car-sharing schemes, trying to work out a way to address customer problems such as abandoning car ownership.

The brand has now launched a program that allows buyers to try and recuperate part of the cost by simply renting out their vehicle when not in use. Numerous traditional carmakers have been hard at work trying to figure out a way to remain relevant in a rapidly changing environment, with a generation of drivers that increasingly skimp the car ownership practice in favor of convenient car sharing schemes – exploited rapidly by numerous startups and car rental companies. The Mini brand will build on the already established BMW DriveNow car-sharing scheme, allowing Mini owners to have the same smartphone app for third-party drivers paying a part of the earnings. The Mini concept comes with a twist, though, in a bid to bring the best of both worlds – with Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the Mini brand saying the idea was based on accommodation web site Airbnb, which facilitates the access to other people’s lodging.

The sharing industry has gained a massive momentum lately and is beginning to impact auto sales – a recent report from AlixPartners on U.S. metropolitan car-sharing markets showing that one car-shared vehicle could displace up to 32 new car sales. So far the shared mobility companies have accounted for just one percent of public passenger transportation in major cities in North America, Europe and Asia in 2014, but the exponential growth rate is exploding, according to forecasts. Mini announced the option to use BMW’s DriveNow service to use private Minis would be introduced in the United States next year and would then be expanded worldwide.

Via Automotive News Europe