A new set of wheels every day
The obsession with owning a car will be replaced by subscription models that will no longer limit drivers to having one or two different models in their garage. BMW offer a lot more than that.
»The neighbour’s polishing the car again«, is a common remark in Slovenian suburbia. But much like car ownership, it might be heading to the rubbish dump of history in the not so distant future. The intoxicating smell of a new set of wheels will no longer require going to the bank to secure a loan, or entering a long leasing agreement; paying a monthly fee will suffice.
Life per month is taking over the automotive industry. The sharing economy is a popular link between the manufacturers of electric vehicles and their users, and the Swedish Volvo, German Porsche, and American Cadillac have all started experimenting with various subscription models in the last year and a half. In the USA, the legendary BMW, which, much like its competition, have recognised the enormous potential of the subscription economy, also started offering vehicles to subscribers in 2018.
»Drivers continue to explore the growing mobility market. Subscription-based services are of emerging interest for our customers«, said Ian Smith, CEO of BMW’s financial services in North America. »We’re excited to be offering a mobility service to meet their individual and evolving needs.«
In April 2018, BMW launched a pilot project in Nashville, a city with a million and a half inhabitants in the state of Tennessee. Using an application called Access, subscribers could choose from two main subscription packages that cost a monthly sum of 2000 and 3700 American dollars respectively.
Life per month, please!
Over the summer, BMW have made some changes, and they lowered their prices. The cheaper package, Icon, now costs only 1099 American dollars and allows subscribers to access a fleet of smaller Bavarian pride vehicles. The »Basic Package« includes the biggest-selling 3 Series, as well as the X2 and X3 SUVs, the convertible M240, and the i3 electric city car.
BMW also offer a new medium package, Legend. For 1399 dollars a month you can additionally access the 4 and 5 Series, the SUV model X5, and the M2 coupé. The most expensive package, M, the price of which decreased by a thousand to 2699 dollars, offers luxury on wheels, from the sports range M3, M4, M5, and M6 to the tuned SUVs X5M and X6M, whose purchase price starts at over 100,000 euros.
First, BMW intend to spread the option to rent vehicles across the USA, and if the service is popular and if less wealthy consumers are interested, they intend to diversify the service with cheaper packages.
For the price, which greatly exceeds a monthly payment under a leasing agreement for their best-selling models, BMW offer a lot. The number of car swaps that you can do in a month is unlimited. For example, a subscriber can drive to work today with the newest 5 Series saloon, and order an X3 series SUV for the very next day. And what’s more, there are no more car ownership-related worries. Registration, insurance, repairs, and regular servicing are all taken care of.
BMW aim to offer its customers a fully personalised service. When a subscriber picks a new vehicle on the Access app, a BMW employee will personally deliver the car to a desired location at a desired time. Each vehicle is exactly what the subscriber chose, delivered with a full tank of fuel and with all the settings the driver had in their previous vehicle.
And that is only the beginning. BMW’s goal is to spread this service across America using a network of BMW dealers. If it proves to be popular, and if less wealthy consumers show interest, cheaper packages will eventually become available. The potential is extraordinary. How many people will even want to own a car, when every few days a new set of wheels will pop up in front of their neighbour’s house?