Will car ownership be a thing of the past?

Remember buying your first car and the freedom you felt being able to drive wherever and whenever you wanted to in your own vehicle?

Remember buying your first car and the freedom you felt being able to drive wherever and whenever you wanted to in your own vehicle?

Well, this may just be a memory you share with your grandchildren, as the growth in on-demand transport means owning a car may be a thing of the past.

The projected growth in population and traffic congestion in cities is another factor working against car ownership. In the Cars Online 2017 study by Capgemini, 34% of respondents viewed mobility services such as car sharing and on-demand transport as an alternative to car ownership.

The survey registered a significant shift in the automotive landscape. Half the respondents said they appreciate having access to a wide range of cars and services that can be used as needed.

More than half the respondents in the study said mobility services were complementary to owning a car. The study suggested enterprising car manufacturers and dealers might want to offer mobility services to customers, since they’re not a threat to sales but are, in fact, quite the opposite.

Original Equipment Manufacturers could use their complete portfolio to position themselves as mobility providers — a win-win strategy since some consumers use a mobility service to “test drive” a car before making a purchase, while others explore their desire for “something new” by taking another brand out for a spin.

The results showed some bias towards car ownership, with urban singles and students more likely to use mobility as a service than suburban families. There is still a desire to own a car among parents of young children, as the on-demand service is not as convenient when you must lug prams, children and the assorted accessories to a location to collect a car.

On the other hand, encouraging learner drivers to get into the habit of on-demand transport may put less financial stress on both the parents and the young drivers to find funds to buy a car. If a new generation assumes it’s normal to rent a car as they need it rather than own one, the whole car ownership landscape will change very quickly.