Cars-as-a-Service likely to drive auto usage by 2030

The Future of Mobility report from Avis shows people in Europe and Asia may be ready for affordable, on-demand car sharing.

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Car owners will be among the minority in 10 years, according to 68% of respondents in a new mobility survey of people in Europe and Asia by Avis Budget Group

In The Road Ahead: The Future of Mobility, 32% of respondents said that car ownership will still be the most common way to use a car in 2030. However, 34% said that on-demand car sharing or car subscription services will be the most common approach by then. Many call this Cars-as-a-Service, or CaaS. Ride-hailing (15%), car leasing (10%), and carpooling (9%) are the other services that could replace owning a car.

The Avis mobility report is based on a survey of 14,286 people in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and 13 countries in Europe during July and August 2019.

These findings are good news for mobility start-ups of all kinds from scooters to on-demand car pools, to mobility-as-as-service subscription plans: "Customers expect technology to work and be user friendly and are willing to try new things."

The Avis study also found that consumers, "expect cars to be part of a kind of mix and match buffet of transport options which will be accessed via apps and that journeys will be planned using technology."

SEE:  Smart cities: A business leader's guide (free PDF)

Survey respondents rated on-demand access as the top requirement for a car rental or subscription service with 78% of people putting that as the deciding factor.

The next three requirements were:

  • Repairs and maintenance taken care of
  • Costs comparable to car ownership
  • 24/7 customer service

Avis bought ZipCar in 2013 and the car-sharing company hit 1 million members in 2016. The subscription service allows customers use a car for an hour or up to 14 days. Customers sign up online, reserve a car via an app, and use a Zipcard to lock and unlock the car.

Christopher Cerruto, vice president of global architecture and analytics at Avis, said the company has three goals for innovation: 

  • Reinventing the rental experience
  • Digitising our business
  • Developing new models 

Cerruto said hitting these goals meant evolving the company's technology platform from mainframes to APIs.

Mike Ramsey, senior research director, automotive and smart mobility at Gartner, said that Avis is one of the more advanced mobility companies in terms of implementing new technology.

"In general, the car rental companies are very well positioned to take advantage of different asset and use models, probably better than anyone else in the value stream," he said.

Ramsey said that companies like Avis understand the challenge of profitability in the business, knowledge that new entrants don't have.

"It requires a pivot on their part but in general as I look at the future of who owns and operates assets, rental car companies and organizations that have large fleets have a good position," he said.

Ramsey said one advantage Avis has is a data set that includes performance information from multiple car brands.  

"In some ways they have the ability to execute on the use of data in a way that's hard for a single automaker to do," he said.

Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said they would give up or consider giving up a car if the alternative was easy and convenient. Italians were most likely to turn in their car keys, with 25% saying they would do so. And 22% of residents of Singapore said they would. Germans and Austrians were the least likely to give up owning a car at 10% and 9%, respectively. 

People listed saving money and better public transit as the two most powerful motivations to choose an alternative mode of transport. 

Respondents were split on issues of privacy: 54% were fine with their mobility data being used to improve infrastructure services, while 48% were quite or very uncomfortable with that idea. 

In the report, Avis suggests that, "inner cities have gone from being viewed as exceptions to the car-owning rule to harbingers of a future where private car ownership is no longer the norm."

Apps that make it easy to plan a trip that includes several modes of transportation - a bus, a scooter, and a car ride - are key to this transition. According to the Avis mobility report, about 35% of travellers made everyday journeys which required two or more modes of transport.

About 60% of respondents said smart infrastructure was a good idea that would make city living better. Sixteen percent of respondents did not believe it would improve urban life.

Also see

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A survey of 14,000 people in Europe and Asia found that people still like their cars but they may be ready to trade in ownership for car sharing or a subscription service.

Image: Avis Budget Group