Thursday, November 17, 2011

BMW Takes Aim Corporate Fleetsharing

BMW is not resting after launching DriveNow one-way carsharing service in Berlin and Hamburg.  This week they announced they would launch a corporate carsharing program to improve utilization of large company fleets.  The program will be offered starting in 2012 by BMW's fleet leasing arm Alphabet.

The new program will be called AlphaCity and BMW's head of mobility services Christian Steiner told Dow Jones that the project is an indication of "a new trend in customer behavior and vehicle ownership".

BMW estimates that this will be worth the additional 15% lease rate through "better utilization and flexible use by multiple customers".  

Operationally, cars will booked like any carsharing vehicle: via the web or smartphone and accessed via RFID card

Press reports indicate BMW is testing the concept with 60-70 vehicles in Germany, France and UK.  The company alludes to the possibility of the service in the US and China sometime in the future.

BMW has made major investments in fleet leasing, acquiring the Dutch company ING Car Lease and the merged operations currently have 460,000 vehicles in 18 countries.  

This is another indication that some auto manufacturers are getting serious about finding new sources of revenue outside of traditional car sales.  I guess once you've got carsharing technology, why not put it to work?