BMW to launch the ReachNow car sharing service in China
BMW Group launched its ReachNow online ride-hailing service program on Friday in Chengdu, in the southwestern province of Sichuan - as part of the German luxury auto giant's efforts to usher in the future of shared mobility in China.
"Customers' demands for vehicles have changed dramatically over the years and Chinese customers are younger and more avant-garde than customers from the European and US markets," said Jochen Goller, president and CEO of BMW Group Region China at the launch event.
"Therefore, we are promoting our business in terms of electrification, connectivity and mobility services in China," Goller added.
According to the automaker, some 200 BMW 5 Series sedans - after one-month's trial operation - are ready to serve customers in Chengdu with the on-demand ride-hailing service.
Customers can now hail a car through the ReachNow application through a simple procedure, and the application is available in mobile phone app stores.
A driver from BMW's ReachNow ride-hailing service team said the new service's starting price is 65 yuan ($9.41), and it has a minimum charge of 140 yuan, with 10 yuan per kilometer for trips exceeding 5 km.
The ReachNow ride-hailing service is run by BMW Mobility Services Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW Group, which was founded in April in Chengdu.
BMW Mobility Services got its online ride-hailing business license in November and BMW is the first internationally funded company to get this type of permit in China.
"We are committed to integrating the experiences BMW Group has had in international markets with local customers' demands, and are aiming to offer high-end mobility services," according to Joe Pattinson, CEO of BMW Mobility Services Ltd, who was speaking at the event.
Equipped with high-tech devices and luxury interiors, the 200 BMW 5 Series sedans aim to provide the customers with a premium comfort and luxury riding experience, Pattinson noted.
Full-time drivers in BMW's online ride-hailing team are strictly selected and professionally trained, according to the German automaker.
"We have been trained for three months in terms of BMW brand positioning, communications and business etiquette, service standards, traffic regulations and even the local knowledge and customs of Chengdu," a driver on the ReachNow online ride-hailing team told China Daily on Friday in the city.
BMW Mobility Services CEO Joe Pattinson said his group has exceptionally high standards for the drivers, with a view to offering safe, convenient, pleasant and premium services to all its customers in various scenarios.
ReachNow provides premium mobility solutions not only for high-end businessmen and tourists, but also for everyone who requests transportation services for special occasions, such as family reunion dinners, weddings and anniversaries.
ReachNow online ride-hailing service was inspired by the car-sharing brand "ReachNow Powered by EVCard" - BMW's station-based premium electric car-sharing mobility service - which was launched in December last year in Chengdu, according to Pattinson.
Joining hands with EVCard, a Shanghai-based electric car-sharing company, ReachNow Powered by EVCard provides a new and innovative solution to Chinese customers at the price of 2 yuan per minute.
"To us, it (ReachNow) is a statement of intent for BMW, to discover mobility solutions in Chengdu," Pattinson noted. "For the coming future, we will act like a start-up and run services step by step," Pattinson noted.
ReachNow is in line with the group's ACES - automated, connected, electrified and shared - strategy, which has made great strides in China and demonstrated the automaker's vision for the Chinese auto market.
By the end of this year, for example, BMW will have built 80,000 charging poles in total in more than 150 cities across the country, and will offer free charging facilities and services to individuals in more than 135 cities across China, according to the automaker.
In addition, the group's close attention to the Chinese market has been underscored by its reduction on Saturday of the suggested prices of models imported from the US - a direct response to the Chinese government's suspension of additional tariffs placed on US-made vehicles and auto parts for three months, from Jan 1 to March 31, announced on Friday by the State Council's Customs Tariff Commission.
For example, from Dec 15 to March 31, the price of the all-new BMW X5 starts at 779,900 yuan, down from 809,900 yuan when it was launched on Dec 7.
Similar adjustments have been made to prices for the BMW X6, BMW X5M, BMW X6M and the third-generation BMW X5, according to the automaker.