August 12, 2011
BMW Financial Services has created a mobile application that allows all driving enthusiasts to share driving tips, road trips and best-route information.
The Ultimate Drive app is a social navigation app that operates on iPhone and Android devices. BMW Financial Services is aiming to encourage a sense of community among its users with the app.
“The Ultimate Drive engages an existing community of people who are passionate about driving,” said Pawan Murthy, general manager of online business at BMW Group Financial Services, Woodcliff Lake, NJ.
“Our app localizes that large community around great roads in your backyard,” he said. “It also serves as a tool for users to showcase their hobby.”
BMW Group Financial Services was created in 1992 to support the sales and makerting of BMW products in North America.
Not a stretch
The Ultimate Driving app includes maps of the entire United States allowing consumers to find the best roads in 50 different countries.
The app lets consumers read other drivers’ tips, ratings and comments about the roads.
Driving enthusiasts can than share all of their tips and ratings with friends via Facebook or email.
In the future, the app will allow BMW Financial Service consumers to make profiles, gain points and achieve rankings.
When consumers download the app on their smartphones, they can use the app's GPS system to find locations and then easily see which nearby roads have been rated as the best in the area.
BMW’s Mr. Murthy finds this feature the most engaging.
“Within a few seconds, you'll see the stretches of roads appear with detailed descriptions and ratings -- some you may have passed on your way to work,” Mr. Murthy said.
“Conversely, discovering a scenic back road and posting it on the Ultimate Drive is just as rewarding,” he said.
Paving the way
BMW Financial Services is working on creating similar mobile apps for its Mini Motoring and BMW Motorrad brands.
BMW felt that there was a need for a mobile app that connected driving enthusiasts. The brand claims this is the first app of its kind for the industry.
The amount of engagement a smartphone offers was also not overlooked.
“If you have a smartphone, you're probably using it every two to three minutes, be it for work or fun,” Mr. Murthy said.
“No other media has that kind of persistence of attention from its user,” he said.
The group has also noted that the app will give BMW Financial Group services another channel to communicate with consumers and increase BMW brand loyalty.
The innovative brand is always looking for new ways to connect with consumers.
For example, BMW Group Financial Services was the first OEM captive finance organization to offer financial services via social media through a personal tab on the BMW Facebook page (see story).
“The ability to discover or share great driving roads, whether it be in your neighborhood, state or country is truly unique to The Ultimate Drive,” Mr. Murthy said.
“We hope to attract the full spectrum of driving enthusiasts, whether you use the app to take an alternate route to work or to plan a multi-day road trip across the country with your driving club," he said.
“The important part is providing a platform where everyone can contribute to a mobile knowledge base of great roads.”
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York