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BMW, Daimler Offer New Share-A-Car Program

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On: Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 10:13AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


BMW, Daimler Offer New Share-A-Car Program

Two European luxury brands are making their way into a new arena in the automotive industry, car sharing, an innovative idea for automakers which have spent the past 100 years in the sales market.

Daimler AG and BMW are testing new auto-sharing programs. Both automakers report that the decision to launch into the car sharing program was prompted by a changing market, specifically amoung youth car buyers living in urban areas.
 

A new program, that was actually proposed by Google some time ago, is now being launched in Austin, Texas, as well as New Ulm, Germany. The project has been named “Car2go.” In Munich, BMW has launched a program as well, and all reports so far indicate the program may be a huge hit.

The idea was developed with the younger car buyers in mind; they are concerned about their carbon footprint (and their bank account balance) when selecting a new vehicle. The share-a-car program consists of hybrids and electric vehicles, which are more attractive to the younger demographic.

The program allows consumers to sign up, and then go online to check for vehicle availability when transportation is needed for the day. There is an hourly rate of $12, and a full day rate of $65. Cars that are available are parked at designated locations spread throughout the city. Drivers simply pay online with a credit card for hourly use, and can drive a different car every day if they so choose. After the driver is done using the vehicle, he/she simply parks it back at one of the designated parking spots and the credit card is charged. If a motorist fills up with gas or charges the electric battery, credit is given for more drive time.

According to BMW, the "BMW Upon Demand Program," as it’s called, can allow drivers to “use various models at different times instead of being tied to one vehicle. Basically, this means you can color coordinate your outfit to your car for a special occasion. Sharing a BMW will cost around $21 an hour."

"The majority of people using car-sharing are looking for transportation," said Mary-Beth Kellenberger, program manager of a Toronto-based consulting firm. "The proportion of those people looking for specific type is very limited."

A recent study shows that by utilizing the car-share program, for every program user, there will be 15 fewer new cars that would be manufactured for purchase.


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