Back in October, BMW announced their on-demand car sharing program to satisfy all demands and personal taste. BMW will offer a wide range of vehicles, from the ultra-efficient four-cylinder models to the flagship M6. Even the popular M3 can be rented for a fee.

Automotive News published today an article on the car sharing programs from BMW and Mercedes, and offer more insight into the offerings.

BMW’s one-year pilot starts in Munich, while Daimler ‘s Car2go program is running in Austin, Texas, and Ulm, Germany. The automakers say the move was prompted by changing attitudes about car ownership, especially among young buyers, and increased urban congestion.

01-2011-bmw-frozen-gray-m3For Auto News, Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and marketing, said:

the popularity of the Zipcar private car sharing program — especially among young people — sparked the automaker’s interest. Robertson said the car sharing phenomenon crosses age and income levels. And BMW already has a presence: Minis are part of the 5,000-plus Zipcar fleet in New York City.

BMW’s On Demand program started this fall and a driver can book a car in a specific color and trim level in person, on the Internet or by phone. Rates depend on the model and time of day.

Auto News mentions that a 1 Series (most likely hatchback) costs 16 euros ($21.20) an hour, while the higher-end 5 Series is 23 euros ($30.49). Insurance, cleaning and servicing are included.

BMW plans to add a second site in Munich and to potentially extend the program to other European cities as well.

The competitor, Mercedes, says 20,000 people are registered for the Car2go project in Ulm and 10,000 in Austin. Car2go uses only the Smart ForTwo minicar.


From the same magazine:

The Car2go project has 200 Smart ForTwos in Ulm and 210 in Austin, where a pilot with city workers began in November 2009. The Austin program was opened to the general public in May. More than 80,000 rentals have taken place this year, said Nicholas Cole, CEO of Car2go N.A., based in Austin.

Austin charges 35 cents per minute, $12 an hour or $65 for the day. Renters are liable for the first $1,000 of damage but don’t pay for gasoline or insurance.

Toronto-based consulting firm Frost & Sullivan anticipates that by 2016, the car sharing programs in North America will produce $3.3 billion in revenues.

[Source: Auto News ]