DriveNow keeps drivers up-to-speed on their car reservations with Twilio

Planet with user symbol


customers worldwide

Car-1 icon


rental cars available globally



expected savings with Twilio


Ensure the car rental registration & reservation process is quick & reliable for customers.

DriveNow is a joint venture between German automobile giant BMW and Sixt, one of the world’s largest car rental companies. Its fleet includes some of the most coveted cars on the market, from the BMW 1 Series to the MINI Convertible. Drivers don’t have to park vehicles at specific bays or stations; they just reserve a nearby car, pick it up, and then leave it anywhere within a defined area. Customers pay by the minute for each journey.

Never wait for notifications

DriveNow uses SMS at two key stages of the customer journey. First, when a user registers for DriveNow, they receive a confirmation PIN by SMS. When a user then reserves a car via the DriveNow app, they receive a message containing important information, including car model, color, and location.

When it comes to instant notifications, nothing compares to SMS, said DriveNow’s operational business manager, Katrin Lippold. “In cities, we have network coverage, but it’s not always the best. So, SMS is the only thing that goes through immediately.”

Solving a reliability problem

DriveNow initially received a lot of phone calls because text messages took a long time to arrive, or failed to arrive at all. This frustrated customers and increased costs for the DriveNow call center as people phoned to ask about their missing SMS.

“With our previous providers, we had a bit of a reliability and response problem, and we wanted to have a more stable performance. I was also not very happy with the price we were paying,” said DriveNow CEO, Nico Gabriel. “We figured out that Twilio might be a very good alternative. After implementing Twilio, we expect to see around 30% to 35% savings.”

“After implementing Twilio, we expect to see around 30% to 35% savings.”

Nico Gabriel CEO

Wheels around the world

DriveNow also needed a service that could adapt to different cities and territories. So, while Twilio makes it easy to provision a local German number by making an API call, it also allows DriveNow to create a consistent SMS profile, regardless of the location.

Currently DriveNow is available in 5 major cities in Germany, as well as San Francisco and Vienna. The company plans to expand into at least 10 more North American and 15 more European cities over the next few years.

As Katrin Lippold explained, “Definitely Twilio is an enterprise-ready concept. We just signed the contract, used the interfaces, and everything was set up and done, it makes things easier.” Because Twilio works in different territories without the need to make big code changes or installations, this allows DriveNow’s communications infrastructure to scale up to any size.

“Every partner we use, we want to make sure is a premium service that we can use worldwide,” said Head of PR, Michael Fischer. “Twilio is one of the services that fits into that strategy perfectly.”

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