BMW joins Peugeot and Daimler with 'premium' car rental scheme

German automaker BMW announced a tie-up with car rental firm Sixt this week, hoping to raise its profile in major cities, where car ownership is becoming less common.

The brands' new venture, DriveNow, will allow consumers to rent premium BMW 1 Series and MINI models, and unlike some competing services, it's not dependent on car-rental stations.

Instead, consumers can log onto the website to find the vehicle that is parked closest to them, or use a smartphone app to direct them to the nearest one before booking it and driving away.

Driving will cost €0.29 per minute on an all-inclusive basis, with a maximum hourly charge of €14.90 for the MINI Cooper, although users will also need to pay €29 to register.

The scheme will go live in Munich, home to BMW headquarters, in April 2011, followed by Berlin, although further European countries are set to be added in the coming years and BMW says that the long-term plan is to introduce DriveNow on other continents - the partners are targeting one million users by 2020.

It's likely that electric vehicles will also be added to the scheme, adding emissions-free vehicles to the mix when BMW's first BMW i branded vehicles hit the roads around 2013.

Recent years have seen several automakers jumping into the car-sharing sphere, previously dominated by brands such as Zipcar in the US and Streetcar in London, as well as Hertz's Connect by Hertz service in the US and several major European cities.

Peugeot launched its MU service in France in 2009, before rolling it out to other European countries including Britain and Germany.

Last year, Daimler followed suit, internationally expanding its Ulm, Germany-based car2go rental service with Europcar to the US before announcing further expansion in Germany.

Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mt19JukTrk

http://www.drive-now.com/

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