BMW Motorrad is to launch a short-term hire service aimed at motorbike riders, called “Rent A Ride”, starting out in core European markets and with plans to expand further.

The scheme is being launched across Germany, Austria, and France, involving two selected BMW Motorrad sales partners in each country. Asked whether the service would expand to further markets, Tim Diehl-Thiele, head of communications at BMW Motorrad, told Motor Finance: “We want to learn and experience, and from there we will look to expand to other markets including the UK.”

A website with smartphone capabilities will enable customers to select a model of their choice, availability for which will be checked in real time at all Rent A Ride partner dealerships. Users can also book additional accessories and rider equipment if required. The selected motorcycle can then be picked up at the dealership of choice.

Timo Resch, head of international sales and marketing at BMW Motorrad, said: “Mobility services are a future focus area that forms one of the cornerstones of our corporate strategy. By offering Rent A Ride, BMW Motorrad is advancing the BMW Group’s development towards becoming a customer-oriented mobility company.

“If the first season of Rent A Ride goes according to expectations, the aim will be to expand the scheme to cover the full extent of the BMW Motorrad sales network.”

Henning Putzke, head of BMW Motorrad Germany, said: “This new mobility scheme gives our customers an attractive and straightforward way of familiarising themselves closely with a wide range of our BMW motorcycle models on a non-binding basis – by taking a weekend trip, for instance.”

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BMW has been growing its mobility offering steadily over the past few years, mainly through the “Now” family of products, which includes the “DriveNow” car club.

Automakers are looking to get a bigger slice of the short-term hire market, making use of their extensive dealership networks to answer what they perceive as bigger demand for flexible driving solutions.

This month, Audi On Demand launched on both a commercial and consumer basis in Britain, making Audi models available on loan periods from one hour to 28 days. It followed a similar move by Volkswagen Financial Services UK, which started experimenting with dealership rentals in June.