Premium carmaker turns premium car-sharer

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ReachNow users can hire cars, as well as have them delivered, extend their hires spontaneously and pay for a chauffeur service

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A number of new car-sharing services have been announced of late, not least by carmakers looking to diversify, like GM and Hyundai. BMW is the latest to get in on the act and it's seeking to differentiate its new service by loading it with additional features in what it calls "car-sharing 2.0."

The new service, called ReachNow, has launched in the US city of Seattle. It's actually based on the model of BMW's existing "DriveNow" service that operates in Europe, with a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles.

ReachNow has an initial fleet of 370 BMW and Mini vehicles, with 20 percent of the fleet made up of BMW i3 electric vehicles. ReachNow users can, of course, hire cars, but are also able to benefit from a variety of additional service features.

To begin with, it's possible for users to have a car delivered, making their lives easier if they have luggage or are short on time, for example. Users can also choose to keep a car for longer than initially planned during the hire without having to change it or visit a hire office and, for users who don't wish to or cannot drive, it's possible to pay for a chauffeur service.

Also on offer is car-sharing for closed user groups, such as workplaces or residential complexes, which is aimed at ensuring such groups can always have quick access to shared cars. It's possible for users to rent out their own cars via the service when it is not in use, too, subject to approval from BMW.

ReachNow is one of the new customer-oriented services outlined as part of its "Strategy Number One > Next" program, which also includes planned cutting-edge iNext models, moves toward automated driving and digital services. This reflects what BMW AG board of management member Peter Schwarzenbauer calls "an extremely exciting period in the development of the automotive industry."

"Our customers rightly expect uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions," explains Schwarzenbauer. "This is why we are supplementing our classic business model with additional services that make life on the road easier for people in big cities."

The ReachNow service has a one-off registration fee of US$29, after which all models are charged at a rate of $0.49 per minute when the vehicle is in use and $0.30 per minute when the vehicle is parked.

Having launched in Seattle, the plan is for ReachNow to be expanded into other US cities.

Source: BMW

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