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Third of people want mobility, not auto ownership

News, 18 May 2017
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GLOBAL: As the world's population moves to urban areas, car manufacturers' business models are under threat, as 34% of people see mobility services, including car sharing and on-demand minicabs, as a viable alternative to vehicle ownership.

This is according to the Capgemini Cars Online study, which surveyed 8,101 people across eight countries, with both mature and developing markets studied, in January and February 2017.

As two thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, the survey registered a significant shift in the automotive landscape; 50% of respondents said they appreciate having access to a wide range of cars and services that can be used as needed.

Increasingly, carmakers are having to rethink their business strategies in response to a growing urban population, as the lack of parking spaces and congestion make ownership less desirable. Nick Gill, an analyst at Capgemini, described the interest in mobility services as "huge".

It is only in the last year, Gill added, that "this has really taken off" – the figures showed an increase in people who would consider using an on-demand service such as Uber rising from 34% two years ago to 50% in 2017. A shift to shared ownership, says Gill, "is closer than we think".

A handful of carmakers have responded through strategic partnerships, as in the case of Toyota with Uber. Elsewhere, General Motors invested $500m in Uber's rival, Lyft, before launching its own on-demand mobility service, Maven.

In December of last year, VW debuted its mobility service brand, Moia, which aims to provide solutions to city living with fleet-based commuter shuttles and a view to autonomous on-demand transport.

While developed markets include a significant proportion of respondents who say they are 'very unlikely' to use a mobility on-demand service, attitudes in developing markets are more open.

In China, for example, 80% of respondents said they were either likely or very likely to use an on-demand service compared to just 18% in the UK or 40% in the US. For carmakers, Gill observes, the figures in China are "very scary".

Asked whether they would switch brands if tech companies like Apple or Google were to manufacture cars, 83% of respondents from India said they would, as did 76% in both Brazil and China – an indication of the potential threat to traditional manufacturers from new, disruptive market entrants.

Data sourced from Capgemini, United Nations, TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff

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