While fewer German consumers are actually buying cars now, more and more people sign up for the country’s highly sought after car-sharing programs offered by respectable, traditional automakers.
A large wave of urban drivers in Germany have the financial power to afford the purchase of a new vehicle, but instead rely on car sharing as they will forego any worries about finding a parking space, go through all the worries of maintaining a vehicle or even pay for insurances. Germany is not only Europe’s biggest auto market but also the largest arena for car sharing in a sign the market might be finding a new way of dealing with transportation that doesn’t involve ownership at all costs. BMW AG and Daimler AG have read the signs and are now trying to ride the wave – in Berlin for example, which holds around one fifth of all cars being shared, vehicle density last year had a small negative change and the same happened in Munich, where there are now 491 cars for 1,000 residents from 493, according to figures from the Federal Motor Vehicle Office.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW executive in charge of DriveNow as well as the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands says the popularity of programs such as BMW’s DriveNow and Daimler’s Car2Go is among the reasons of the declining ownership. Martyn Briggs, who leads the mobility team at consultancy Frost & Sullivan Inc. says a single shared vehicle can actually replace from six to up to 15 privately owned auto. The market switch, he contends, could first affect mass-market brands because the first category to embrace car-sharing and thus avert personal ownership are the younger people.