Editor's choice
2 Oct 17

Europeans no longer committed to car ownership

Consumer appetites for mobility solutions instead of car ownership are growing at an exponential rate, according to a new survey.

ALD Automotive, the leasing and fleet management company, commissioned the study of over 5,000 people in Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

National differences
It found that half of Europeans no longer consider car ownership to be essential, and only 36% now think a car is vital for commuting. A quarter of those surveyed have already tried car pooling. There are, however, significant national differences in attitudes towards car pooling – a third of the German respondents have used it, but only 15% of Italians.

Financial saving is the primary attraction of car pooling, with its cost effectiveness compared to car ownership cited by 58% of respondents.

Environmental awareness is also a key factor in decision making, with travelers prepared to accept longer journey times for trips that involve greener modes of transport. Europeans under the age of 35 are the most committed to eco-friendly travel, with 66% having already made journey decisions based on environmental issues.

Technology impact
The research also revealed the rapid development of technology in the mobility sector, with 44% of respondents to the survey using at least one type of transport app on a monthly basis.

“The relationship between Europeans and mobility is undergoing profound change,” said a spokesman for ALD. “This transition relies more heavily on using a vehicle rather than owning it.”

This is leading ALD to develop carpooling and car sharing services, “with the ambition of becoming a leader in the mobility sector.”

The survey tallies with new research by consultancy Frost & Sullivan that advises vehicle manufacturers to look beyond the sale of new cars and focus on becoming ‘providers of mobility services’ in order to generate new revenue streams.

The development of autonomous, connected, and electrification technologies is creating a virtuous circle for greener, more efficient vehicle transport, but it challenges the concept of car ownership.

Jagadeesh Chandran, future of mobility industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan, said, “OEMs should focus on collaborating with diverse players such as utilities, charging infrastructure owners, mobility providers, service providers, and leasing companies to establish a potential eMobility market.”

Startup investment
In a new investigation by McKinsey, the global consultancy estimated that, to date, at least $32 billion has been invested in ridesharing start-ups alone. It also forecasts strong growth prospects - fewer than 1% of passenger miles traveled today are carried out using shared mobility services. In the US, consumers expect shared mobility usage to surge by 80% when robo-taxis become available. The revenue composition of the mobility market, said McKinsey, will shift from traditional (ie privately owned card) to disruptive by 2030.

Early evidence of this happening is already apparent. Mercedes-Benz, for example, has invested $50 million in a joint venture with US start-up Via to change the way people travel in urban areas. Instead of travelers having to follow the fixed routes and timetables of public transport, Via offers an on-demand network that matches passengers headed in the same direction with a single minibus (a Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer or V-Class). Passengers use a smartphone app to request a ride, and Via’s algorithm instantly finds a vehicle that best matches the passenger’s route. This effectively creates thousands of virtual bus stops, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without detours that take passengers out of their way. London will be the first city to launch the new joint service, followed by other European cities.

“On-demand ride-sharing offers many new ways of making city traffic efficient, needs-based and sustainable – especially when it involves the use of spacious, safe and comfortable vans,” said Volker Mornhinweg, from Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning