BMW Active E – Click above for high-res image gallery
Financial institution ING has agreed to sell its automotive leasing service, ING Car Lease, to BMW for an estimated €700 million ($994 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) as part of the Dutch firm's efforts to focus its portfolio on core activities and to repay its remaining €3 billion ($4.26 billion U.S.) debt.
The deal, expected to become official by the end of 2011, will see BMW Alpha Fleet Management (BAFM) acquiring lease contracts for some 240,000 additional vehicles, bringing the German automakers total amount of leased contracts to 540,000. Additionally, BAFM will be tasked with lease contracts for the automaker's upcoming electric vehicles, including the 1 Series Active E and i3. Leasing, it seems, is one way to avoid buying into technology that's likely to become obsolete.