Sharing economy: an opportunity for car dealers?



IRVINE, Calif. - 

Not only can you expect new-car buying and vehicle ownership to remain relatively unscathed by car-sharing and ride-sharing upstarts, these burgeoning services may actually present an opportunity for dealers and others in the auto business.

That’s according to a recap of the 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study, which was commissioned by KBB and conducted by Vital Findings.

First, the basics on the terminology. Think of companies like Uber or Lyft when you hear “ride-sharing”, KBB explained. The consumer uses a smartphone app to request and pay for a ride. The vehicle is usually owned by the driver who picks the requester up.

When you hear “car-sharing,” think folks like Getaround, ZipCar and Car2Go. These companies provide cars that consumers can borrow.

“Ride- and car-sharing services are getting a lot of attention these days, and we wanted to better understand the current landscape of these app-fueled platforms and how they may impact both consumers and the auto industry moving forward,” Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said in an analysis.

“While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors,” he said.

In a nutshell, the key point from KBB’s research is that consumers mainly use these services as an alternative to a taxi or going the traditional rental car route, not necessarily as an alternative to owning a car. 

But what could also be pivotal for the auto industry are the potential business opportunities within this segment for dealers and rental-car companies.

When it comes to potentially using a ride-sharing provider in the future, the companies with a ride-sharing app still command the most consideration from consumers at 37 percent. However, rental-car companies (32 percent) and dealerships (24 percent) earned some looks, as well.

Taxi/limo companies were at 26 percent consideration. Sixteen percent would consider automakers for ride-sharing, private individuals had 15 percent consideration and tech companies were at 14 percent.

The numbers were even more favorable to rental-car companies and dealerships on the car-sharing side.

In fact, consideration for traditional rental companies to provide car-sharing services was at 36 percent, with dealerships at 31 percent. And then companies designed specifically to provide car-sharing services were in between at 33 percent.

More vital stats

Seventy-six percent of vehicle-sharing users say they plan on buying or leasing a car during the next two years, according to KBB.

A similar percentage (73 percent) of overall survey respondents say they’re familiar with ride-sharing and 43 percent say they’re familiar with car-sharing. However, just 16 percent have used ride-sharing and just 7 percent have used car-sharing.  

KBB’s stats also show respondents having significantly more favorable views of vehicle ownership than either car-sharing or ride-sharing when it comes to reliability, safety and convenience, as detailed below:
 

More reliable: ownership or ride-sharing?
Ownership: 81 percent
Ride-sharing: 19 percent

More reliable: ownership or car-sharing?
Ownership: 78 percent 
Car-sharing: 22 percent

Safer: ownership or ride-sharing?
Ownership: 80 percent
Ride-sharing: 20 percent

Safer: ownership or car-sharing?
Ownership: 80 percent
Car-sharing: 20 percent for car sharing

More convenient: ownership or ride-sharing?
Ownership: 74 percent
Ride-sharing: 26 percent 

More convenient: ownership or car-sharing?
Ownership: 75 percent
Car-sharing: 25 percent

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