In response to the growing popularity of several ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft the German automaker BMW is attempting to be one of the first major car manufactures to capitalize on this growing trend in automotive divergence. They are going to offer a car sharing service in Seattle as a test market with the hopes of expanding to additional markets if it goes smoothly. The Service is going to be refereed to as ReachNow, which provides customers the ability to use 370 BMW mini vehicles that they can use in several different ways. This includes short term rentals, a delivery service, as well as chauffeur and long term rentals to name a few.
“our customers rightly accept uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions,” so sayith BMW member Perter Schwarzenbauer.
The way people are going to have this freedom could not exist without the rise of smartphones and the widespead use of GPS and computers in your pocket. Customers will have the ability to unlock and start a car within the network with just their smartphone, and the service will also be able to make car sharing available to the groups like hotels and residential apartments. They will be directly competing with American auto Makers.
Reach now is set to launch Friday, and is intended only as a trail before they consider expanding the service. But given the investment that BMW has made we can be fairly certain that it is not so much a matter of if, as much as when. GM launched a similar service in Ann Arbor Michigan called Car2Go, which is a car sharing service launched three years prior in Seattly that offers the consumer the use of a 2 door. Another test market that has dipped its toes in the pool of car sharing is Austin Texas, However their uses only smartcars but is not affiliated withe corporate office itself so its a slightly different situation, however it is indicative of a general trend.
In the year 2013 a study showed that the standard American family without a car has been on the decline since 1960, this hit an altime low of 8.7 percent back in 2007. by the year 2011 that trend had reversed ever so slightly when it reached 9.3 percent of families or about 1 out of 10 lacking a car.
It is going to be interesting to see where this trend goes and how BMW answers this call. There are two ways it can go for them. They can pour huge sums of money into research and RD and work out all the kinks and ultimately loss out on a lot of money but still be ahead of the curve ultimately. The point is clear though that the American consumer and most notably the millennials are saying in a clear and conses voice that they do not want a car for them selves. Most do not even want to share a car, they want the ability to live in urban settings where they do not need to use one in the first place.