A study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) finds that the growth of car sharing will erode the traditional automotive industry's sales through the next five years, but will not be as disruptive as the move towards autonomous cars later in the 2020s.

The report says that car sharing – of the sort pioneered by Zipcar and Car2Go – will cost OEMs approximately 550,000 units in worldwide vehicle sales in 2021. In revenue terms, that works out to EUR7.4bn in net lost revenues, once the impact of forgone purchases, increased car sharing, and car-sharing fleet sales is taken into account.

The study forecasts that car sharing will have a far greater impact in Europe and the Asia-Pacific than in North America. Fleet sales to car sharing firms will help to offset lost sales to private buyers. By region, BCG says there will be 96,000 fleet sales to car sharing firms and 278,000 forgone private sales in Europe, 44,000 fleet sales and 52,000 forgone private sales in North America, and 106,000 fleet sales and 462,000 forgone private sales in Asia-Pacific.

Autonomous vehicles (AVs), BCG says, will have a much greater impact on new car sales than car sharing will. However, AVs are not expected to arrive until 2021, and even then "their use will be limited". Therefore, they are not likely to affect large-scale mobility patterns until 2027, the study says.