That’s what Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford called it while delivering the keynote address to the ITS World Congress in Detroit last week. How does this square with the automakers’ historical dependence on personal vehicle ownership and the sales volume it represents?
It doesn’t. Instead, it is causing automakers to evolve their business models away from simply producing vehicles to becoming “mobility companies” that would embrace this movement in ways that completely change how the auto industry and its customers view personal car ownership.
As previously reported, mobile phone apps are already enabling peer-to-peer car use that suggests increased co-ownership as a way to spread out the cost of ownership and to benefit the community by having fewer vehicles on the road. Automakers such as Ford and GM have taken notice of this and have gotten closer to the likes of Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services with experimental programs that have tested the concept of shared vehicle usage in controlled environments such as college towns. And BMW and Mercedes-Benz have even launched their own car-sharing divisions.
Will car sharing programs will have impact on the development of new vehicles? That’s yet to be seen, but logic suggests that some performance parameters such as horsepower, handling and visibility could be sacrificed in favor of enhanced passenger safety and comfort, fuel efficiency and lower curb weight.
In the meantime, let’s watch how car sharing programs grow from their niche popularity today into a meaningful movement that changes the face of the auto industry.
Source: Automakers warm to the era of ride-sharing – Automotive News