Lyft, Uber, and Zip – Will Consumers Stop Buying Cars and Start Sharing Them?


lyft

Photo Credit: Raido Kaldma

For those in the know, “Lyft” “Uber” and “Zipcar” are taxi and/or car rental services that have become increasingly popular over the last five years. Essentially tools that make vehicle sharing possible, there’s talk that that these services will shift consumer behavior. Instead of buying cars, consumers may one day favor vehicle sharing.

While this topic is a bit “pie in the sky” as far as QCEP is concerned (predictions are hard, especially about the future), there’s a lot of discussion about car sharing in the media and we wanted to weigh in. Will consumers reject vehicle ownership in favor of car sharing? Keep reading.

The Allure Of Car Sharing

Car sharing is a popular concept with tech bloggers, futurists, etc., many of whom believe that owning a car is a waste of money when sharing a car is so easy. The argument goes like this:

  1. Most people use their cars primarily for basic transportation
  2. Most cars are unused for 90% of the day, as they’re driven to and from work and parked the rest of the time
  3. Car sharing services (like Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar) make car sharing easy and very affordable

The conclusion often drawn from these facts is that the “auto industry is in trouble,” as the economics of sharing are just too good to ignore. While there may be some consumers who question the value of vehicle ownership, there are lots of reasons to challenge the idea that people will share their cars.

What Consumers Don’t Like About Car Sharing

Car sharing services definitely offer some convenience, but they’re not perfect. What’s more, many of the problems these services have are very much a consequence of sharing. These problems include:

  • Consumers have to plan, at least a little bit. It’s not at all reasonable to share a car during a particularly busy time, at least if you don’t get your reservation in ahead of time. When the work day ends, the bar closes, or 4th of July weekend kicks off, people who depend on car sharing and didn’t plan will likely be stuck.
Posted February 2, 2015 in: Automotive Retail.

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