BMW has launched a ride-hailing service in the Chinese city of Chengdu, the company reported. The luxury car brand is the first foreign company to get a license to operate a ride-hailing service in the country.
“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, a member of BMW’s board of management. “Half our fleet of 200 BMW 5 Series are sustainable plug-in-hybrid vehicles, and our highly skilled and trained drivers will ensure an exciting premium mobility experience.”
Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan Province and is home to more than 14 million people.
BMW’s foray into the ride-hailing business is part of its ReachNow car-sharing brand, which debuted an electric vehicle rental endeavor last year. The new service involves trained drivers chauffeuring customers in a fleet of 200 BMW 5 Series cars.
Didi’s comparable luxury feature, which is available in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, includes cars such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6, as well as the BMW 5 Series.
For a 23-kilometer ReachNow ride in Chengdu on a Monday afternoon, a rider will pay about $68. A similar trip in Shenzhen through Didi Luxury is about $30, which is $3 versus $1.3 a kilometer.
The ReachNow news comes as the BMW Group announced it was expanding its footprint in China, including a plan to build the company’s first fully electric vehicle, the BMW iX3, in the country. The company also recently signed an agreement with a Chinese auto manufacturer.
“The BMW Group has signed an agreement with the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motors to produce electric mini vehicles in China through a mutual 50:50 joint venture,” the company said. “As well as electric mini vehicles, the Spotlight Automotive Limited joint venture will also produce electric vehicles for Great Wall Motors.”