The 2019 BMW X4 M40i M Performance debuted at the New York Auto Show last month (Photo: BMW)

BMW became the latest major car brand to offer a subscription to its vehicles rather than selling or leasing them to customers.

The German premium brand said it had launched a pilot program in Nashville, Tennessee, to see whether subscriptions are a viable business model in today's car market.

Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and other brands are already running similar trials.

BMW's program, which is called "Access by BMW," offers members unlimited access to various BMW vehicles through a monthly subscription that costs between 2,000 and 3,700 dlrs a month. The program is run with the help of local BMW dealers, which are responsible for deliveries and maintenance.

"As customers continue to explore the growing mobility market, service-related offerings are becoming more in demand," Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA and Region Americas, said in a press release.

"Subscription-based services are of emerging interest for our customers, and we’re excited to be offering a mobility service to meet their individual and evolving needs,” he added.

During the pilot phase, BMW offers two tiers of subscriptions, with the more expensive tier providing a broader range of BMW vehicles.

Access by BMW is powered by Clutch Technologies, a specialist company that has developed a software platform for automotive subscription services.

-By Arjen Bongard