Car Makers Have Little to Fear from Ride-Sharing, So Far

The emergence of car-sharing and ride-sharing services in recent years caused a few fits of indigestion for auto industry executives. After all, if these services proved to be cost-effective and convenient, would people stop buying cars?

They needn’t have worried. As a new study from Kelley Blue Book points out, these services are beloved by many who use them – but not that many people actually do use them.

According to the 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study, the services have gained traction, but they are thus far a niche phenomenon, and no threat to auto sales.

As KBB put it:

Awareness Doesn’t Mean Use: Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) are aware of ride sharing, but only 16 percent have actually used these services, with Millennials and city dwellers leading usage. As for car sharing, 43 percent of respondents are aware, but only 7 percent use these services.

Still Planning to Buy or Lease: Vehicle-sharing services are viewed as substitutes for taxis (41 percent) and rental cars (39 percent), with more than three-quarters (76 percent) of vehicle-sharing users reporting their intent to purchase or lease their own vehicle within the next two years.

Ownership Has Its Benefits: According to respondents, vehicle ownership is more reliable (81 percent vs. 19 percent for ride sharing; 78 percent vs. 22 percent for car sharing), safer (80 percent vs. 20 percent for ride sharing; 80 percent vs. 20 percent for car sharing) and more convenient (74 percent vs. 26 percent for ride sharing; 75 percent vs. 25 percent for car sharing) than depending on sharing services.

Budget Is Primary Ownership Factor: Among those surveyed who did not currently own or lease a vehicle, more than half of respondents (57 percent) name affordability, which also was the highest listed reason, as the main deterrent for not purchasing or leasing their own vehicles. Only 5 percent said utilizing ride sharing and 3 percent said utilizing car sharing as reasons for not owning a vehicle in the future.”

None of this means that the services won’t one day become more widely used. They may even succeed in reducing the number of cars people buy.

But that day isn’t happening anytime soon. America’s love affair with the car continues.

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