PHOTO CAPTION: Car2Go carshare vehicles are smart fortwo electric in San Diego.

What Carsharing, Social Trends Mean to Auto Industry

The growth of carsharing services is starting to have a small but noticeable impact on the auto industry, new research finds.

Published: 09-Feb-2014

Car-sharing services such as Zipcar Inc. and Cars2Go are eating into demand for new and used cars adding to social changes, such as smaller households and mass-transit improvements, that pose long-term challenges for new-car sales, according to two recent studies.

AlixPartners LLP, a consulting firm with a large automotive practice, says Americans would have purchased about 500,000 new or used cars between 2006 and the end of 2013, if they didn't have car sharing services as an alternative.

"It is a huge difference," said Mark Wakefield, a managing director at AlixPartners. The firm's study is based on surveys of car-sharing customers in 10 major cities where car sharing has taken root. They include Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore.


Govec electric motorscooter cruises street in Germany.

Brian Palmer considers the greenhouse gas emissions of use a carshare service like Zipcar or Car2Go versus a motorscooter, petrol-powered and electric.

Nissan LEAF electric car used in car-share experiment in Montreal's Plateau borough the summer of 2013.

Quebec-based Communauto wants to introduce electric carshare, similar to Autolib system in Paris, while competitor Car2Go would use gasoline or diesel smartfortwo cars instead.

Renault ZOE, as well as Nissan LEAF, are used by UK electric carshare clubs.

The city of Dundee, in Scotland, would expanding the current programme that has 500 members.


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