BMW has reportedly partnered up with a few other carmakers to offer their own ride-hailing platform in China, named the BMW WeReach. This move puts them in direct competition against China’s premium ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing. While both the platforms operate similar vehicles, there are numerous differences between the business models which both of these companies offer.
BMW ReachNow was first started as an electric car sharing platform which started an electric car rental business with local partners in December 2017. Now, after 1 year, the service has grown to a fleet of 200 BMW 5 series vehicles where half of them are electric variants of their petrol counterparts. This was initially an attempt at reducing Greenhouse gasses and making driving a cleaner experience for all involved.
Both BMW ReachNow and Didi Chuxing use similar cars including, especially in the upper tiers of their service. Both companies offer rides in class A vehicles like the BMW 5 series, the Mercedes-Benz E Class, or even the Audi the Audi A6. However, that’s just as far as the similarities go. The BMW platform reportedly charges rates up to thrice as high as the rates for their Chinese counterpart.
“We are excited to offer our new premium ride-hailing service in Chengdu, one of the largest ride-hailing hubs in the world embracing mobility solutions for a sustainable urban future,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of BMW AG’s board of management, in a statement.
In this competition, BMW seems to have the edge for now, as it turns out that due to the murder of two passengers inside a Didi car, the government has now tightened regulations concerning who can drive cars professionally. They now demand two certificates, one for the driver, and one for their car. This causes a shortage of drivers for Didi as most people now either don’t want to invest the time and money for exams, or they don’t wish to have their car scrapped after eight years of service as a commercial vehicle.
Didi Chuxing has decided to start teaching driving lessons to willing participants of the program in order to give them the necessary resources they need to attain said certification. Furthermore, they have also made plans to make customised vehicles for on-demand rides as seen in a ride-hailing service such as Didi Chuxing or BMW ReachNow.
BMW was the first non-Chinese organisation to get permission from the authorities to spread their ride-hailing business into the cities of China. This puts both companies against each other in a race against the clock to see which company can establish and maintain the major market revenue for a longer period of time. With the recent events that have transpired, the tides seem to be in BMW’s favour, at least for now.
Source: BMW/Press Room