BMW Expands Rentals That Put Young Drivers Behind The Wheel – Forbes

Posted: Friday, March 07, 2014

Unlike their parents and grandparents, who couldn’t wait to get their hands on the car keys, young people seem less enthusiastic about cars, but will save up for smartphones, tablets and other gadgets that keep them connected.  The trend was first identified in Japan, but troubling signs then appeared in Europe and the U.S., where teens aren’t rushing out to get a license as soon as they’re old enough to drive.

Add to that high youth unemployment rates and their concerns about the environment, and it presents a challenge for carmakers.  BMW and the rental car company Sixt developed the DriveNow “car-sharing concept” in 2011 to appeal to young people.  They rent out Minis and small BMWs and battery-powered electric versions at affordable rates.  BMW will add its new electric i3  car to the lineup.  Terms are flexible: people can take the cars out for short spins or longer rides, and each city has several drop-off points.  DriveNow was offered in Germany’s biggest cities first and introduced in San Francisco in 2013.  Daimler Daimler AG’s rival Car2Go service, which offers Smart cars, is adding Rome to its network of 25 cities.

BMW says the business provides a showcase for its cars, and it’s turning car-sharers into buyers.  Earlier this week BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Bloomberg Bloomberg at the Geneva motor show that  BMW was thinking of putting DriveNow in 25 more cities.  ”In Europe we have shortlisted around 10 to 15 cities,” a BMW spokesman said on Friday.  ”In the U.S. we have shortlisted round about 10.”


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