German auto companies are embracing car sharing. Volkswagen is the latest German carmaker to announce the launch of aprogram.
Europe's largest automotive group said it is launching a project called "Quicar - Share a Volkswagen," with 200 VW Golf BlueMotion cars in the northern German city of Hanover.
Daimler has been expanding globally with its car2go car-sharing program for the past years and just recently competitor BMW announced it was launching a project called DriveNow with car rental group Sixt.
Volkswagen is working closely with the city of Hanover on its new mobility project. The city of 520,000 is a major industrial hub and one of Germany's biggest trade fair venues. "It is the ideal setting for such a project," the city's mayor, Stephan Weil, said in a press release.
The Golf BlueMotion models to be used in the scheme will have 1.6 liter TDI diesel engines with average fuel consumption of 3.8 liters per 100km. There will be 50 pick-up and drop-off locations across Hanover, a total that will go up to about 100 later.
Customers need to register and can then book online, use a special App or contact a call center up to five minutes before the car is needed. A chip card or chip fixed to the driver's license will unlock the car and the driver completes the authorization process by entering a PIN on the car's touch screen.
VW said it has developed a totally new telematics and software solution for bookings, reservations and vehicle management. In addition, all cars are fitted with navigation and entertainment systems. Customers are issued with an additional SD memory card for this equipment, allowing them to save individual destinations or routes and to store music.