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BMW's New Try-Before-You-Buy Program

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On: Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 12:13PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW's New Try-Before-You-Buy Program

Grocery stores stumbled upon a very smart marketing campaign: offer customers free samples. BMW has seized upon that concept for the roll out of its Megacity Vehicle electric car. The German automaker plans to offer the Megacity Vehicle through its successful car-sharing program that is all the rage in Europe. Technically, these aren’t going to be free samples, but it is certainly a proactive way to give folks a taste of the new car design and perhaps most importantly, the luxury car driving experience.

“We're looking for an alternative to traditional purchase or leasing of a vehicle,” so says sales chief Ian Robertson. “'We don't want to sell the car, but rather the use of the car. The 'Car to Go' concept is an interesting approach,” Robertson told Automobilwoche, the sister publication of Automotive News Europe. “More and more people in large cities are looking for an alternative to the ownership of a vehicle,” Robertson said.

Car-sharing is a unique concept for automobile use. As the title implies, a motorist doesn’t actually purchase a car, but shares it for the couple of hours for whatever specific needs that may arise. The auto is picked up at a designated spot, then dropped off at another spot. The next user looks up the destination on the net and applies for his/her turn. BMW’s has the “Car2Go” program up and running on a short-term basis in Ulm, Germany, and in Austin, Texas.

There is some sound reasoning behind this idea. BMW thinks it would be a big hurdle to overcome to get a return on all of the company's high development and production costs if they were to sell a number of Megacity Vehicles. This way, potential buyers will get to sample the car. The hope is when they decide to make a purchase the Megacity will be the way to go.

The Megacity Vehicle project is actually the cornerstone of BMW’s Project I. That’s a six-year rethinking of this electric drive auto. Part of that rethinking is an overhaul of the passenger compartment utilizing super-light carbon fiber.

BMW development chief Klaus Draeger said, “The scope of the project has been challenging. This is not like a normal car project.” He explained in an interview last year that “Every day you experience something new.” The car’s actual name will be revealed by BMW on February 21st.



Michigander | 6:22PM (Mon, Feb 7, 2011)

I practically live out of my car so I don't think that I could ever share long term. But, if i were without a vehicle for a period of time or just looking to test drive before making a purchase, I can see why the sharing plan would be a great option.

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