BMW Group Financial Services will launch a pilot program in the New York metropolitan area next month that offers short-term rentals at its dealerships, according to Ed Robinson, CEO of the captive finance company in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Starting August 13, customers can make online reservations. The pricing for this service named ‘BMW on Demand’ has yet to be announced. When interviewed by Automotive News, Robinson said that BMW on Demand is meant to be positioned in the market niche between car sharing and rentals. BMW on Demand rentals are expected to stimulate new-car sales. Robinson said that this pilot program, which is set to run until the end of the year, is limited to just 12 BMW dealerships in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
He said that BMW Group Financial Services will keep the title to the cars and insure them. He said that the cars may be in service for maybe a year and after that, dealers have the chance to purchase the cars for resale, similar to how dealerships manage off-lease cars. He said that the dealerships will be paid by the finance company for their service work as well as for the time and effort devoted to the program.
For example, several customers may want to ask for a product orientation when they get a car or have to be at the customer waiting area for some time. Robinson said that these features are not similar to car-sharing programs like Zipcar, where the cars can be picked up from the street right after customers use them. He said that customers could expect BMW on Demand cars to be clean, in good condition, and with ample fuel.