JOHANNESBURG - As the world moves towards a so-called ‘sharing economy’, it is envisioned that ownership of items such as cars will become less commonplace as ‘on-demand’ services allow people to share their possessions when not in use.

Mini is set to become the first car company to embrace the sharing economy with the launch later this year of a new service called Mini Sharing.

The initiative will allow both Mini owners and non-owners to experience various Mini products, and according to Mini the process will require just a few taps on a smartphone.

Mini Sharing is currently being tested for local conditions ahead of its anticipated launch in the third quarter of this year as a pilot programme in Sandton, Gauteng. Initially the service will only be available to a closed group of users, but it will in time expand to other “quintessentially urban” parts of South Africa, the company said.

"Mini is taking on a pioneering and innovative role in advancing urban mobility in South Africa,” said Mini South Africa head Shaun Willis. “Mini Sharing creates new opportunities to share the Mini experience and this technology fits perfectly with our desirable cars and our innovative customer demographic.”

Mini has not yet released any details on the costs, terms and products that will form part of this initiative, but it is likely to offer the full range of Mini vehicles, which includes the three-door and five-door hatchbacks as well as the Countryman SUV and Clubman wagon.

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