BMW’s ReachNow relaunch & new CEO = Opportunity

ReachNow RattiSteve’s breakdown: ReachNow’s relaunch and new CEO, who was most recently a CMO, is just the crack in the door you need to get in there.

SEATTLE, WA: BMW relaunched ReachNow in Seattle last month and has now named a CEO to help expand the car-sharing service.

The new CEO, Steve Banfield, is a former chief marketing officer at Inrix, a real-time traffic data company, according to Fortune.

Inrix partnered with BMW to launch a service that helps drivers of the i3 electric vehicle find parking spots. Banfield has also worked at Sony, Microsoft, and Paramount Pictures.

BMW operates a successful car-sharing service in Europe, DriveNow, which had 580,000 registered users at the end of 2015. The automaker originally tried to launch ReachNow in San Francisco in 2012 but ran into regulatory problems and shut it down last year. The relaunched ReachNow has a new technology partner, RideCell, which provides the software platform for the service.

So far 13,000 people in Seattle have downloaded ReachNow’s app and used one of the 370 vehicles the service operates in the city. The service competes primarily with Daimler-owned Car2Go, which has 75,000 users and 750 vehicles in the Seattle area. Banfield will be charged with expanding the service to include Seattle’s suburbs and its airport. Later in the year ReachNow will start looking to launch in other U.S. cities.

Automakers are exploring car-sharing and ride-hailing to hedge against a forecast drop in personal car ownership over the coming decades. While car shipments are expected to steadily rise over the next decade, the entity buying the car will likely shift from a consumer to an enterprise service like Uber or Lyft. For instance, in India, Morgan Stanley estimates that shared-mobility players such as Uber India and Olacabs will buy 16% of new cars sold in 2030 — up from 3% in 2015.

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