2020 – The Starting Decline of the Consumer-Owned Automobile?
(Rick Sander, CEO, Tuesday, April 7, 2020)
Automobiles have been synonymous with America for over a century. In 2018, there were 273.6 million vehicles registered in the US (the most in the world) according to Statistica. Statistica also reported that there were 17.2 million car sales sold in 2018 in the US (second only to China). However, there may be some clouds showing up on the horizon. If you have been following the stock market over the past year or so, two of the most notable initial public offerings (IPOs) were Uber and Lyft. We won’t get into their valuation or how well they have done in the stock market recently, but it is clear that ridesharing offers a real alternative to car ownership, especially for those living in large metropolitan areas. In many cases, ridesharing also offers a means for those living in large metro areas to earn income from their vehicles.
The interesting thing about the IPOs of Uber and Lyft for the fleet vehicle market, and specifically the fleet electric vehicle (EV) market, is data that both companies cited in their IPO filings regarding the drop in vehicle ownership by consumers. By and large, industry analysts and industry groups have found that these statements by Lyft and Uber are valid. One example of this is the data in the chart from Cox Automotive, which indicates a correlation between the age of a driver, and the desire/likelihood of owning a vehicle. This is not a pattern in just the US – it is a buying pattern in most of the developed world. On the other hand, other statistics suggest that baby boomer will not reduce their ownership of their automobiles, even as they migrate to urban areas in droves. What is clear is that automobile ownership and usage is shifting, and will continue to do so.
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