5 reasons why car ownership is doomed

It's bad news for car dealers as modern consumers prefer sharing and subscriptions...

49w ago

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We live in an age of finance and renting, of borrowing and lending. Everything from phones to furniture can be paid off on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis. Cash flows out of our bank accounts in small, bitesize chunks, but you get the same products and the same service as the neighbour who coughed up thousands in one cruel hit. So it seems logical that cars are just the next item on the list, right?

Lynk & Co, the mobility brand, has done some digging that backs this up. The company’s studies of its target market in European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden has revealed intriguing results that show us why the days of buying and owning cars may well be numbered. Any car dealers out there might want to look away now...

We want to share...

Depending on who you ask, between 62% and 80% say they are increasingly owning fewer things, thanks to the rise of subscription services. When it comes to cars, 83% of people are open to, or already a member of, a subscription service, while more than three quarters of respondents said they wanted to share cars with friends. About six in 10 even said, “cars are over”, with customers more likely to use mobility services. And that’s backed up by external research, with figures from Deloitte showing Europe already has more than six million people in car sharing schemes, and that’s set to grow by around a third in the next two years.

We still want cars, we just want fewer of them…

The research shows the importance of the car tends to vary from nation to nation, with bigger, less dense countries placing more emphasis on the need for a vehicle. In France, 55% say they “need” to own a car, but that falls to 40% in the Netherlands. However, drivers seem very aware of cars’ impact on the planet, and 82% said they thought the world needs fewer cars. Three quarters (76%) even described the car as something of a necessary evil that “does not support the planet’s health”.

We don’t value possessions

While it’s true 57% of Lynk & Co’s respondents said they thought owning a car was an important status symbol, not everyone is materialistic. Two thirds said they thought Covid-19 had changed their attitude to ownership, and they now want to be “freer of possessions”, while a massive 86% thought their experiences were more important than their possessions.

It’s a trend that's been noted elsewhere in the manufacturing industry, with HS Kim, the president of Samsung, claiming: “We are not looking to spend our money on things, we are looking to buy convenience, peace of mind, and enjoyment.”

We want to be kinder to the planet

Deloitte’s research found 73% of people think mobility is a “key factor” in sustainability, while eight in 10 say they need to lower their carbon footprints and make “more sustainable choices” when it comes to transport. With 78% agreeing that renting or subscribing to a vehicle is more environmentally friendly, it’s easy to see a market for ‘usership’ business models.

The revolution has already begun

If you think this is pie-in-the-sky dreaming that won’t happen in a month of Sundays, you may be in for quite a shock. Sure, Lynk & Co’s survey only covered European nations, but the trend has already begun here in the UK. Finance and leasing deals are all the rage, with personal contract hire (PCH, or leasing) and personal contract purchase (PCP) agreements leading the charge. According to the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA), around 92% of new cars registered to private buyers in the UK during 2019 were acquired through an FLA member’s finance deal. That means fewer than one in 10 private cars were bought outright last year. Two decades ago, such an idea would have been inconceivable, but now it’s a stark reality of the world we live in.

Is it such a leap to think consumers might turn from leasing to month-to-month membership over the next few years?

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Comments (23)

  • God it sounds familiar. Let's list them all. 1) Theatre is doomed because of moving picture. 2) Radio doomed because of Television. 3) Cinemas are doomed because of VCR's 4) Back in 1987 predictors said that in 20 years' time we will live in paperless society and THE BEST 5) World will be a BIG, BIG, BIG MESS BECAUSE OF Y2K. Any more Doom Predictions???

      11 months ago
  • I've allready considered subscribing for a car, and it is just not worth it. I've bought a used car about 6 weeks ago. I'm planning on keeping it for about 3-4 years, and then sell it with maybe 10-12% discount, as I maintain my cars properly, don't crash much, do an average of 10 thsnd miles a year. With all the running costs and etc it would cost me 3 or 4 times less then subscribing for the same period of time. And I don't even mention the whole emotionally connecting with the car thing, and it does exist for me, my car means quite a lot to me.

    So no, thank you, I will stick with having my own car.

      11 months ago
    • Agree with you, fellow comrade! Even though I'm not allowed to drive yet, I'd rather drive something like a Kia Rio (I hate it, it's cheaply made and for other DTers - it's not the one you have in Europe) rather that have to share my car with...

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        11 months ago
    • Yeah, exactly. And btw, don't be so hard on the Rio 😄 a friend of mine owns one, and its really not bad, reliable, drives okay, and practical, the boot is just huge. Obviously I would prefer a German or a British car, but for what it is and what it...

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        11 months ago
  • Doubt that it will work because most people don't like to share things with strangers.

      11 months ago
    • And now with the Covid-19 disaster, it is the last thing I would want to do: share things with strangers

        10 months ago
  • In poland we already tried it in wrocław, there is not a single car on the street becouse almost nobody used it, and cars were vandalised and noone took care of them becouse "not their car", it's like communism, sounds great but wont work out

      11 months ago
  • Ok, lynk and co why on earth would I listen to someone on the internet being sponsored by a company. Ok, as you can see not everything is something we wanna share, house ok, car no, phone no, computer maybe, cloths no, some times not everything is ok to share, ummmm like my card info. And ur website is a little sus

      11 months ago
    • Btw I’ve heard of lynk and co twice

        11 months ago
    • And you are a Chinese-Swedish company

        11 months ago