WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — The age of “gamification” has come, and BMW Group Financial Service is bringing this social nuance to its customer base of nearly 1 million individuals. Beginning with the development of a new and unique mobile and social experience, “The Ultimate Drive,” is a social navigation mobile app that allows users to not only discover the best roads to drive in over 50 countries, but to rank, comment and share those roads via Facebook, email or other GPS devices. Future versions will integrate the ability for BMW Financial Services customers to gain points and achieve high rankings. As the first automotive channel, and specifically captive finance organization, to create a branded social navigation tool, BMW Group Financial Services defines itself as a consistent touch point with customers, through an engaging and interactive means.
“As a company, we pride ourselves on our ongoing uses of technology to build stronger relationships with our customers,” said Ed Robinson, President and CEO of BMW Group Financial Services, Americas Region. “Not only does ‘The Ultimate Drive’ app allow us to broaden our awareness as an organization to a vast audience, but more so, it provides us the ability to nurture a two-way dialogue with our customers in an engaging way.”
According to Pawan Murthy, General Manager of Online Business for BMW Group Financial Services, “The Ultimate Drive” is an example of how a captive financial services company can use mobile and social strategies as a consistent touch-point to customers while fostering a connection with BMW vehicles and the global BMW brand.
“A social app succeeds when it forms a community of users with similar interests. A mobile app succeeds when it shrinks that large community into something local and familiar,” said Murthy. “Within a few seconds of opening the app, ‘The Ultimate Drive’ connects you to driving enthusiasts who have discovered great roads in your neighborhood – roads you may have overlooked. Sharing that joy of discovery is why we are eager to launch this app to everyone.”
San Francisco-based software and technology firm, SocialNav, Inc., developed the technology that powers “The Ultimate Drive”. “We’ve found that the success of applications like ‘The Ultimate Drive’ is built on organic growth amongst friends and enthusiasts with similar profiles,” said Daniel Pifko, CEO and Co-Founder of SocialNav. “BMW Financial Services is an exceptional partner because it is at the forefront of using smartphones to improve the driving experience. We’re excited about the relationship and have great ideas for many more things to come.”
While utilizing the latest in navigation technology, “The Ultimate Drive” still remains simple in nature and nearly effortless to use to its full potential – after downloading the app, the user allows the app to find their location and then it displays the stretches of road which others have contributed as the best ones in the area. Conversely, when the user has generated their own favorite stretch, it is as easy as three taps to share via email or Facebook or send to one’s favorite GPS device or app.
“The Ultimate Drive” is available for both iOS and Android devices. It can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store and the Android Marketplace and is meant to broaden the social community around driving.
BMW Group Financial Services is currently developing similar versions for its MINI Motoring and BMW Motorrad brands, and will be extending all applications for its financial service customers in the near future.
About BMW Group Financial Services
BMW Group Financial Services was established in the U.S. in 1992 to support the sales and marketing of BMW products. Since then, the Group has expanded to provide service to markets in multiple countries and continues to evolve beyond its role as a captive finance unit.
BMW Group Financial Services offers a wide range of leasing, retail and commercial financing and banking products tailored to meet the needs of the BMW customer. The Group also provides financing to BMW dealers for expanding dealership capabilities and enhancing overall operations. With more than $34 billion in serviced assets and 1,000,000 automotive lending customers across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, BMW Group Financial Services finances almost three-quarters of the BMWs sold or leased in North America. BMW Group Financial Services employs more than 800 people, including consultants and temporary workers, most of whom are located in the Hilliard, Ohio Regional Service Center which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
In 2001, the MINI Financial Services division was established to provide support for the brand’s dealer and customer networks by offering various financing and leasing options. Alphera Financial Services was established in 2006 to provide financial services to dealers who are not part of the BMW and MINI networks.
BMW Group Financial Services also offers credit card products through its subsidiary, the BMW Bank of North America. up2drive.com is a division of BMW Bank of North America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW Financial Services NA, LLC. BMW Insurance Agency, Inc., a property and casualty producer, is also part of BMW Group Financial Services.
Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:
About SocialNav, Inc.
SocialNav, Inc. is the first and leading developer of social navigation applications for smartphones. Individuals with iOS and Android smartphones in over 50 countries share routes and commentaries on the best local trips and long distance travel plans. SocialNav, Inc. is based in San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit www.socialnav-inc.com.