12/5/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

BMW By the Minute

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  You can buy a BMW.

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You can buy a BMW. You can lease a BMW. And as of this week, if you’re in London, you can rent, in effect, a BMW 1 Series or a MINI Countryman by the minute. When you need it.

DriveNow, a carsharing undertaking that’s a 50-50 partnership between BMW Group and Sixt SE, a car rental firm that already operates in Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna, and San Francisco, allows people to access cars within a 25-square-mile area in London.

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Cars can be had for 39 pence (about 61 cents U.S.) per minute. The hourly rate is capped at £20 (~$31). And there are various packages that can be purchased. Fuel, taxes, insurance and parking charges are included.

Next spring, BMW is adding 30 all-electric i3 vehicles to the fleet in London, bringing the total to 300 vehicles there.

DriveNow presently has more than 360,000 customers in the cities it serves.

According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG and responsible for Mobility Services, said, “This program is part of BMW Group’s strategic response to the growth in urban living and shared ownership. Our aim is to expand it into about 15 more cities in Europe and about 10 in North America in the future.”

In places where car ownership can be onerous, car sharing can make a lot of sense. Clearly, with OEM involvement, the idea of what it is to be a manufacturer of cars is undergoing a non-trivial transformation.

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