According to a Kelley Blue Book survey, ride- and car-sharing is not an imminent threat to new-car buying and vehicle ownership, despite the growing number of services being offered to consumers.

This is just one of many findings from the recent 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study. 

Conducted by Vital Findings to understand the motivations behind ride-sharing and car-sharing usage, as well as opinions and behaviors surrounding current and future transportation, the survey found that these sharing platforms primarily are used as substitutes for taxis and traditional rental car companies, and have very limited impact on current or future vehicle ownership.  In fact, the expected transportation method of the majority of Americans that currently own or have access to a vehicle (74%) is to drive themselves in the next six months.  When asked what statements about owning or leasing a vehicle respondents agree with, 80% completely or somewhat agreed that owning or leasing a vehicle provides a sense of freedom and independence, followed by 62% that completely or somewhat agreed that owning or leasing a vehicle gives you a sense of pride/success.   

Ride-sharing services, including Uber and Lyft, among others, use a smartphone app for consumers to request and pay for a ride on demand from drivers who typically own the cars they drive.  On the other hand, car-sharing companies, such as Getaround, ZipCar and Car2Go, among others, provide consumers with the opportunity to borrow vehicles and drive themselves, using a smartphone app to schedule, unlock and pay for borrowed vehicles. 

 "Ride- and car-sharing services are getting a lot of attention these days, and we wanted to better understand the current landscape of these app-fueled platforms and how they may impact both consumers and the auto industry moving forward," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors."   

Looking down the road, the field is relatively level for potential ride-sharing providers to enter the market with more than one-third of respondents (37%) giving the most consideration to companies with a ride-sharing app, followed closely by rental car companies (32%) and taxi/limo companies (26%).  In addition, 24% of those surveyed also would consider vehicle dealerships as a potential ride-sharing provider over vehicle manufacturers (16%) and individuals with a vehicle (15%).  Respondents were least likely (14%) to consider tech companies as potential ride-sharing providers.

Similar to ride-sharing, the opportunity for new car-sharing services to enter the market is fairly level, as traditional vehicle rental companies (36%), companies specifically created to provide vehicle sharing (33%), and notably, vehicle dealerships (31%) were among the most considered car-sharing providers among respondents.

Additional findings

  • Awareness Doesn't Mean Use:  Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) are aware of ride sharing, but only 16% have actually used these services, with Millennials and city dwellers leading usage.  As for car sharing, 43% of respondents are aware, but only 7% use these services.
  • Still Planning to Buy or Lease:  Vehicle-sharing services are viewed as substitutes for taxis (41%) and rental cars (39%), with more than three-quarters (76%) of vehicle-sharing users reporting their intent to purchase or lease their own vehicle within the next two years.
  • Ownership Has Its Benefits:  According to respondents, vehicle ownership is more reliable (81% vs. 19% for ride sharing; 78% vs. 22% for car sharing), safer (80% vs. 20% for ride sharing; 80% vs. 20% for car sharing) and more convenient (74% vs. 26% for ride sharing; 75% vs. 25% for car sharing) than depending on sharing services.
  • Budget Is Primary Ownership Factor:  Among those surveyed who did not currently own or lease a vehicle, more than half of respondents (57%) name affordability, which also was the highest listed reason, as the main deterrent for not purchasing or leasing their own vehicles.  Only 5% said utilising ride sharing and 3% said utilising car sharing as reasons for not owning a vehicle in the future.
  • Safety First:  More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) believe that ride-sharing services are a great way to combat drunk driving; however, only 33% of those surveyed deemed ride-sharing to be safe.  In fact, 48% stated they wouldn't be comfortable riding alone with a ride-share driver.         
  • The national survey reveals the responses from more than 1,900 U.S. residents between the ages of 18-64 years old, weighted to census figures by age, gender and ethnicity that have a variety of residential and ownership patterns.

Car sharing not as disruptive as driverless cars - study