Get ready for "ReachNow" -- something that might take a chunk out of Uber.
BMW has just made a major move that could alter the course of the auto industry.
The auto manufacturer is shifting toward “mobility services,” which would include car sharing — a service that has been pioneered by companies like ZipCar and Car2Go. They’re calling the initiative “ReachNow,” and they are rolling it out in Seattle with the plan to start exploring other cities eventually, according to a company statement.
It’s a competitive market already. Not only are ZipCar and Car2go already in the car-sharing business, but they’ll also be looking competing with Uber as the ride-sharing company also fills short-term ride needs that car-sharing focuses on.
BMW is already operating the DriveNow program in some European cities, and will have to tweak it to service the needs of American customers. DriveNow had been available to San Francisco customers, but problems with finding parking spaces forced the company to end that effort.
“We are currently witnessing an extremely exciting period in the development of the automotive industry,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG and responsible for MINI, BMW Motorrad, Rolls-Royce, After Sales and Mobility Services, said in the statement. “Our customers rightly expect uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions. This is why we are supplementing our classic business model with additional services that make life on the road easier for people in big cities. I am pleased that with the establishment of the ReachNow brand, we are able to offer our customers in Seattle ‘on-demand mobility’ – mobility when it’s needed, from one single source. With this service, we are building up on Drive Now, our extremely successful European business model, and bringing it up to a new level in the USA. Seattle is an innovative, internationally-oriented city which makes it the perfect location to launch these services.”