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The amount of car brands that explore alternatives for car ownership is increasing rapidly. Manufacturers are starting to see the urgency to experiment with business models that are focused on car as a service rather than car ownership. To ensure that their brand is future proof. Research carried out by shareNL shows that 47% of brands or brand groups are actively playing a role in the car-as-a-service business. The infographic is a unique visual piece of research mapping active car brands with a typology of their initiatives. The overview will be updated on a regular basis via www.car-as-a-service.com in order to monitor growth and innovation in the way automotive manufacturers explore car ownership alternatives.

Exploring different routes

The infographic maps the most important active car brands and the way they are preparing themselves for the future with a choice of mobility services. The possibilities in the car-as- a-service landscape are endless. Where some brands start with direct rental services, others launch car sharing services or subscription models, like Book by Cadillac. 43% of the car brands actively involved in the car-as-a-service business have their own initiative, where others invest in existing ride-hailing or car sharing platforms. The major brand groups explore multiple routes, like the Groupe PSA with 8 different initiatives. Honda was one of the pioneers, starting as early as 1994 in Japan and Singapore. Where some brands start with very local pilots, others launch their service worldwide.

Car companies selling less cars is an apparent contradiction

Automotive brands are organised in traditional ways and built empires around selling cars. They depend on local importers who in turn depend on local dealerships to sell their cars. There has never been much direct involvement with consumers. This is changing as brands set-up consumer-facing services with new business models, which requires a different way of interacting with customers and a different mindset. Car dealers are organised around selling as many cars as possible to customers visiting their showroom. Playing a role in a world in which we want to be less dependent on the car and leave private ownership behind requires salesmen to convince their customer not to buy a car, which seems an apparent contradiction. Why would automotive brands sabotage their own profitable business model of selling as many cars as possible?

Because they must? Even if we have not reached peak car yet, automotive manufacturers do feel the pressure of change and they fear for declining numbers. But how long will the business model of selling private cars still be a cash cow? Will it take long before the privately owned car is a stranded asset? Nobody knows when we will reach a turning point. And as this is unsure, car brands better be prepared for the storm ahead. And once consumers will start to own less cars, they will very likely find other ways to consume cars. And someone will need to supply the fleets of cars that will be available for rental, sharing and rides with or without driver. It therefore seems that striking deals with ride-hailing apps or supplying cars for shared fleets today is a good way to gain knowledge and experience and a good alternative to keep your cars out on the road. Maintenance and service of car fleets use for new business models could be another way for automotive brands and dealers to keep on adding value.

Hot and happening

Recently Daimler and BMW announced their long awaited joint venture. The car sharing giants car2go and DriveNow bundle forces to secure their seat in the mobility-of-the-future bus. It’s a race to the top, because there are many contenders for the position of top player in the mobility market of the future. And the race is not exclusive for car manufacturers. Technology platforms like Google have moved into the automotive space. Public transport-, rental- and leasing companies are reinventing themselves as mobility operators. Giants like Uber and Didi Chuxing are investing in autonomous technology and are not afraid to take bets on the future. Also bike sharing companies, like Mobike in China, are moving into car sharing and it is not unlikely that other industries will be making an entry soon. Even non-transportation companies, like telecom and energy players are about to enter the mobility game. How this will ride out and who the dominant players of the market will be in the future, that is still a question unanswered.

One perspective

While there are many ways to look at developments in the car-as-a-service market, the car brand perspective is one of them. But it is an interesting one to watch and changes come at high speed with new players, new initiatives. Do you want to help to keep the overview up to date? You can leave your feedback and additions at car-as-a-service.com

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