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'Slower than expected' growth for free-floating car schemes
BMW's "free-floating" car-hire scheme, DriveNow, has revised its growth objectives downwards after posting a €3.25 million loss last year.
DriveNow has been successful in Berlin, Stockholm and Milan - but Brussels is proving more difficult, with the pace of new user registrations "not going as planned".
"We were the first free-floating provider on the market here in Belgium, and it takes time," said DriveNow Belgium chief executive Christian Lambert.
DriveNow's closest competitor, Zipcar, which arrived on the scene in 2016, has also described growth as "slower than expected, but on track". The company hopes to turn a profit in the next two or three years.
The free-floating car hire schemes do not used fixed parking slots, but GPS tracking and a mobile phone app to help users locate and book their nearest vehicle, which can be left in any parking space for the next user to find and pick up.
The schemes were set up to challenge legacy operator Cambio, which operates using fixed parking stations. A Cambio spokesman said its service has been growing at a rate of 5-10% per year.