If you think that joining in on the car-sharing party means that you'll be stuck behind the wheel of a low-buck auto, prepare to be amazed. According to AutoWeek, both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are diving into the car-sharing world with programs designed to allow users to experience a slice of luxury without having to foot the hassles associated with car ownership. BMW on Demand will provide drivers with a 1 Series for as little as €16 per hour in Europe (around $21 USD/hr). Those wanting a little more room can opt for a 5 Series for the low price of €23/hr ($30/hr), including servicing and cleaning.
Daimler, meanwhile, is working on a similar program in both Austin, Texas and Ulm, Germany, though that program will serve up products from the company's Smart line. Users can reserve trim levels and colors on line or by phone, use the vehicle for as long as they like and drop it off in convenient car-sharing parking spaces. The time behind the wheel is automatically calculated and the user's bank account automatically debited.
Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are delving into car-sharing to confront a growing lack of interest in ownership from younger generations and increased traffic in urban settings, even though some research has shown that the use of a single shared vehicle can contribute to the loss of as many as nine to 15 personal cars.