Mini's new concept, when summoned, will pick up you up autonomously, change colour to driver preference, recharge without plugging in a cord, and you probably won't own it.
“It opens up millions of new customers who would really like to have a premium car but maybe can’t afford one or live in a city where they can’t park one,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, told journalists, adding that the wider ground-transport market including buses, taxis and rail is valued at about $10 trillion.
“If you can reach new customers, then the scope and the scale of what we are in business with today takes a massive, massive reach forward,” he added.
The shared-ownership model could extend to vehicles from the main BMW brand, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the group executive who oversees Mini, said at a separate briefing.
BMW is facing both current and future challenges.
This year, the namesake marque will probably lose its sales leadership in luxury cars to Mercedes-Benz for the first time since 2005.
And after basing its identity on luxurious Autobahn-speed exhilaration, Munich-based BMW may face more difficulty than rivals in keeping its brand desirable as cars automate and consumer attitudes about owning a vehicle change.
BMW’s answer has been to give drivers the choice between using the latest in self-driving technology and taking the wheel themselves for more of a thrill. It presented the Mini alongside a Rolls-Royce concept after doing the same back in March for the BMW nameplate.
Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger said in May the company will introduce its first electric flagship car with autonomous features in 2021.