BMW Financial Services next month is kicking off BMW On Demand USA – a service the company already provides in European cities – that enables people to easily rent a BMW by the hour, day or week from dealerships.

The first location, BMW of Manhattan, is considered a pilot, and will have about 100 328i sedans in the fleet. According to Ed Robinson, president of BMW Financial, the makeup of the fleet will change over time. But the all-328i lineup to start reflects the newest product from BMW and the one the company wants to push right now.

Other logical cities to follow will be Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Miami. But the service could easily spread to smaller cities with smaller fleets.

Pricing for checking a 328i out like a library book will be announced in August. The website to go to is www.bmwondemandusa.com.

The business model for the program has multiple layers. It gives dealers in urban centers a fleet of cars from which to provide extended test drives. It also gives luxury car owners a readily available pool of premium cars to rent that you can't get from Hertz or Avis. And it is part of a longer-term trend BMW sees of an increasing number of urban dwellers not wanting to own cars at all. "We have seen the research that shows as cities become more dense, the desire for car ownership goes down, but the desire to drive cars to get out of town stays constant," says Robinson.

In time, the On Demand fleet will be expanded to include other BMWs like the new 7 Series coming later this year, X5 and X3, and possibly specialty vehicles like the M3 and M5. Robinson said that with specialty vehicles, though, drivers would probably go through an extra layer of qualification.

"BMW On Demand USA goes beyond any existing premium-rental or car-sharing programs in this market," said Robinson. Indeed, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, nor Audi have any similar service that is scaled like this. "This is a great opportunity for anyone who is considering buying a BMW or someone who wants a luxury car, premium service and ultimate driving experience for that special occasion, weekend getaway, business trip to experience being part of the BMW family."


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  • 30 Comments
      Joe Saab
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does it cone with the manual "how to drive like a typical BMW jerk"?
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joe Saab
        Just paste a Roundel over the Saab manual, 'How to Drive Like a Typical Saab A$$Hole."
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      It all depends on the price. It's not worth $50/day, for example, over a Chrysler 300 to drive a 328. Maybe $10-20. But even Enterprise or Hertz, that DO rent premium cars in some locations like Miami or LA, charge a bundle. I can't see BMW dealers successfully competing with Avis unless BMW NA subsidizes the action to get tin on the street.
      Rental Rep
      • 2 Years Ago
      We rent BMW's @ Enterprise and have everything from a 3 series up to a 7. Granted you wont find anything larger than a 3 at a non-specialty branch. Half the people that rent them already have a Lexus, BMW, or Benz and they tend to beat the sh1t out of the cars.
      Harrison
      • 2 Years Ago
      Zipcar's been offering the old(er) shape 3 for $11-13/hr.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Ferris Macau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sadly, non ownerships are a trend. With cars getting so expensive to own its a big headache, no sure why we put up with it LOL.
        Adhominem
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ferris Macau
        I think it is more due to car usage than car ownership costs. If you live in a big, densely populated city with decent public transport, you do not need a daily driver*. You only need a car for getting out of the city or going to IKEA. All the car is doing on most days is sitting in a parking lot costing money. Renting a car for those few occasions when you actually need it just makes much more sense and has the added benefit that you can even tailor the kind of car you rent to the task at hand. *) In fact, using a car will often be slower than public transport, due to traffic jams, searching for parking ...
        Stephen Meade
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ferris Macau
        Is this really that much of a stretch from leasing, which is already semi-non-ownership?
      ksrcm
      • 2 Years Ago
      For those who would like to know what it costs to do the same in Munich (BMW Welt): http://www.bmw-welt.com/web_rb/bmw-welt/en/bmw_welt/bmw_on_demand/_shared/pdf/prices.pdf It should be on a bucket list of every enthusiast to rent one of these and hit Autobahn for couple of hours on Sunday morning.
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      This sounds like a great idea. I bet it will be a success.
      Craig Ewing
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder how much of this is just BMW's way to unload excess production capacity. "Say, we aren't selling as many as we can produce and we can't avoid the Euro-crash forever, so let's create a rental market among those Americans." It sure looks smarter than having all those cars sitting on the dock.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      GuyClinch
      • 2 Years Ago
      This sounds better then it is. BMW Manhattan is in the middle of nowhere for alot of NYC residents.. Hertz is walking distance. BMWs are nice - but mostly for the sweet manual shifter which they won't have.
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      This could be good if you were in the market to buy one. You could live with it a bit...
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