Moves away from car ownership intensify as fifth of Italian car sharers ditch car

21 July 2017

Moves away from car ownership intensify as fifth of Italian car sharers ditch car

21 July 2017

Car sharing is growing rapidly in Italian cities, with 6.3 million bookings made last year across 6,000 shared vehicles, according to a study by Italy’s national car rental and automotive services association Aniasa and consultancy Bain & Company. There are growing signs this momentum is beginning to change mobility habits in Italy, with the study revealing that one in five users of car sharing have either already abandoned their own vehicle or have decided that they will forgo any future car purchase in favour of using car sharing instead. It therefore highlights the growing need for OEMs to broaden and diversify their core business models into mobility services, as further highlighted in the last Capgemini study, and take account of this in their key performance indicators.

The study reveals that the typical current user of car sharing services in Italy is a 38-year-old male, and, crucially, is mainly using car sharing for commuting purposes. This is one of the two areas of massive potential future growth highlighted by consultancy McKinsey for ridesharing services, alongside the family market – and that these two giant markets represent more than 70% of the full possibilities of ridesharing services still untapped.

In addition, more than half of these Italian ride sharers travel alongside one or more other passengers, helping to reduce the cost of mobility services, also helping to grow the market as a result.

In addition, it is estimated that every car share vehicle replaces nine privately owned vehicles, helping to dramatically reduce pollution and congestion in cities if vehicle numbers fall as a result. Therefore, car sharing providers present an attractive proposition to city authorities as an alternative to driving bans.

It is also increasingly a cheaper option for its users compared to private vehicle ownership, with costs continuing to fall – especially for those doing regular short journeys in cities. Car sharing is now cheaper for those who drive less than 8,300km (5,157 miles) a year for a compact car, and 11,800km (7,332 miles) a year for those driving a larger car.

Car sharers also have the added benefits of being able to enter restricted traffic areas and park for free in many city public pay and display zones.

However, Aniasa also highlights steps needed to be taken now to further maximise Italian uptake of car sharing. Most importantly, it calls for the need for a single legal framework for private and public operators, since regulations currently differ from city to city.

In addition, it also stresses the need for better and guaranteed connections between car sharing in cities and other transport modes such as public transport, to maximise its effectiveness as a core part of the city transport system. For example, this could include dedicated bays for car sharing outside major train stations.

This is one of a growing number of areas which increasingly highlight the need for OEMs and mobility service providers to work ever more closely with city authorities. It will also help them to see the key role the automotive sector can provide in assisting them in their plans to reduce city air pollution and move towards smarter mobility solutions.