Ride- and car-sharing services will not hit car sales image

Despite their popularity, a new study says services such as Uber or Lyft are not an imminent threat to new-car buying and vehicle ownership.

There have been many voices lately that predict that the growth of car-sharing and ride-sharing platforms will disrupt the current flow of the market, saying this trend will have a greater impact on the carmakers’ sales and profits in the coming years. However, a new study commissioned by Kelley Blue Book and conducted by Vital Findings to understand the motivations behind the usage of such services, as well as opinions and behaviors surrounding current and future transportation, shows that is not quite the case. The survey found that Uber or Lyft are primarily used as substitutes for taxis and traditional rental car companies, and have very limited impact on current or future vehicle ownership. 74 percent of those asked about the subject – 1,900 US residents between the ages of 18-64 years, weighted to census figures by age, gender and ethnicity, that have a variety of residential and ownership patterns – said their expected transportation method is to drive themselves in the next six months.

“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,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “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.”

Other findings include:
Awareness Doesn’t Mean Use: Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) are aware of ride sharing, but only 16 percent have actually used these services, with Millennials and city dwellers leading usage. As for car sharing, 43 percent of respondents are aware, but only 7 percent use these services.

Still Planning to Buy or Lease: Vehicle-sharing services are viewed as substitutes for taxis (41 percent) and rental cars (39 percent), with more than three-quarters (76 percent) of vehicle-sharing users reporting their intent to purchase or lease their own vehicle within the next two years.

Ownership Has Its Benefits: According to respondents, vehicle ownership is more reliable (81 percent vs. 19 percent for ride sharing; 78 percent vs. 22 percent for car sharing), safer (80 percent vs. 20 percent for ride sharing; 80 percent vs. 20 percent for car sharing) and more convenient (74 percent vs. 26 percent for ride sharing; 75 percent vs. 25 percent for car sharing) than depending on sharing services.

Budget Is Primary Ownership Factor: Among those surveyed who did not currently own or lease a vehicle, more than half of respondents (57 percent) name affordability, which also was the highest listed reason, as the main deterrent for not purchasing or leasing their own vehicles. Only 5 percent said utilizing ride sharing and 3 percent said utilizing car sharing as reasons for not owning a vehicle in the future.

Safety First: More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) believe that ride-sharing services are a great way to combat drunk driving; however, only 33 percent of those surveyed deemed ride-sharing to be safe. In fact, 48 percent stated they wouldn’t be comfortable riding alone with a ride-share driver.