BMW ex­pands Reach Now mo­bile ser­vices

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Ger­man au­tomaker BMW an­nounced Tues­day in Los An­ge­les that it is ex­pand­ing its ReachNow pro­gram with new mo­bile tools and adding a city lo­ca­tion: New York’s trendy Brook­lyn bor­ough. BMW ReachNow, launched in Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton state in April, is adding ser­vices to its ini­tial of­fer­ing, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the new pro­gram Steve Ban­field said at a news con­fer­ence on the first day of Au­tomo­bil­ity, a car show fo­cused on mo­bile tech­nolo­gies.

Among the new ser­vices of­fered on the ReachNow app is a car-shar­ing ser­vice, ri­val­ing Uber and Lyft, that al­lows a per­son to hail a ride and per­son­al­ize it by se­lect­ing tem­per­a­ture, mu­sic or even a “do not dis­turb” fea­ture. It will launch in test mode in Seat­tle on De­cem­ber 8 be­fore be­ing tested in other ci­ties. ReachNow also is ex­pand­ing its shared car rental ser­vice, sim­i­lar to Zip­car and launched in April that un­til now was avail­able only in Seat­tle and Port­land, Ore­gon with 800 BMWs.

That ser­vice for the first time will leave the West Coast and head east, to Brook­lyn, where 250 BMWs and Mi­nis will be wait­ing for cus­tomers. In Man­hat­tan, a pi­lot pro­gram for res­i­den­tial build­ings will give res­i­dents ac­cess to a fleet of elec­tric BMW i3 or BMW Se­ries 3 ve­hi­cles that will re­main on­site for their ex­clu­sive leas­ing. ReachNow also will al­low longer-term car rentals of two to five days with mem­bers able to sched­ule a ve­hi­cle to be de­liv­ered at their pre­ferred time and lo­ca­tion. This re­serve ser­vice will be­gin in Seat­tle in early 2017.

An­other pi­lot pro­gram for own­ers of MINI 2016 or 2017 model year ve­hi­cles will be launched in Seat­tle. The Share pro­gram en­ables MINI own­ers to rent their ve­hi­cles when they do not need ac­cess to it, help­ing to off­set the cost of car own­er­ship. The Share ser­vice faces competition from other com­pa­nies such as Turo or Car2go. BMW and other big au­tomak­ers like Gen­eral Mo­tors, Ford and Mercedes are rac­ing ahead to develop full suites of mo­bile tech­nolo­gies. Au­tomo­bil­ity LA is be­ing held through Thurs­day at the Los An­ge­les Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. The event com­bines the for­mer Con­nected Car Expo and the press days of the LA auto show. The 10-day public show opens Fri­day and will fea­ture 1,000 ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing 50 new mod­els. —AFP

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