BMW Buys Other Half of Car-Sharing Company DriveNow 

The acquisition helps forward the brand's corporate vision of developing into a consumer-centric mobility company.

Berlin Embraces Sharing Economy For Transport
Carsten Koall—Getty Images

Automakers are transitioning to be more and more like technology companies every day. Whether through innovation or acquisition, the average auto manufacturer today looks a lot different than it did ten years ago. To back that statement up, BMW just announced that DriveNow has become a wholly-owned subsidiary. The company says the acquisition is in line with their development into a customer-centric mobility company. BMW now owns a huge vertically integrated suite of companies from car-sharing with DriveNow, on-demand parking with ParkNow, and electric-vehicle charging with, you guessed it, ChargeNow.

DriveNow was founded just 7 years ago as a car-sharing joint venture between BMW and Sixt SE. The service has now grown to more than one million customers in 13 European cities. Its fleet is made up of more than 6,000 BMW and MINI vehicles. The all-electric i3 model is also available for rent at every DriveNow location. The acquisition buys out Sixt SE's shares in DriveNow, although BMW still plans to continue to partner with Sixt SE on deliveries for its fleet.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, had a lot to say about the acquisition. He’s quoted as saying, “We have achieved extraordinary success with DriveNow over the past seven years—thanks to the efforts of the DriveNow employees and the excellent cooperation with our joint venture partner, Sixt. Sixt will remain a strong partner for us in the future. Our aim is to win one hundred million customers for our premium mobility services by 2025. With DriveNow as a wholly-owned subsidiary, we have all options for continued strategic development of our services in our hands. Our experience with mobility services supports our development of future autonomous, electrified and connected fleets.”

BMW AG

DriveNow i3 on the road

One hundred million customers by 2025 seems like a lofty goal for the company but it’s not farfetched when you think about the total addressable market out there for ride-sharing. Already in just a few short years, DriveNow has experienced considerable growth. According to DriveNow Managing Director Sebastian Hofelich, “In 2017 our customers drove over eight million kilometers (five million miles) with the DriveNow electric fleet—that is equivalent to driving around the globe more than 200 times on electric power. DriveNow not only reduces traffic and improves the parking situation in urban areas, but it is also supporting the breakthrough of electromobility. We look forward to working with our franchise and city partners to continue actively shaping urban mobility in a sustainable manner.”

As car-sharing becomes more mainstream and car ownership sinks, services like this should experience continued growth.