BMW, Sixt carsharing making money most places

The DriveNow carsharing service, which is a partnership between BMW and Sixt, is growing quite rapidly. "We've been surprised about the explosion of new subscriptions, which has helped boost revenue," says Sixt CEO Erich Sixt. The number of DriveNow users has increased from 215,000 at the end of last year to 300,000 today.

Sixt says that DriveNow has been profitable in cities in which it has been established for over a year. Perhaps encouraged by its unexpected success, DriveNow is set to expand even further. The service is currently available in five German cities, as well as in San Francisco, California, and the involved parties are considering a five-year plan to expand to 25 more cities in Europe and the US.

Still, Sixt expects DriveNow to report a "small-to-medium, single-digit" loss for this year, according to Sixt CFO Julian zu Putlitz. It's no big deal, just the result of startup costs in new areas. Sixt, which is Germany's largest car rental company, also reported that its own second-quarter income rose 12 percent to $37.7 million, while sales rose 7.6 percent to $585.78 million.

DriveNow uses a membership and pay-per-minute model that allows customers to rent BMW and Mini vehicles as they need them. The service also acts as a way to let potential customers try out the vehicles and familiarize themselves with the brands before they buy cars of their own at some point. Depending on the location, DriveNow's fleet includes the BMW 1 Series, ActiveE and X1, as well as several Mini vehicles like the Cooper, Clubman and Countryman.

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