Car sharing in profit as utilisation eclipses private cars

October 05, 2016

Car sharing schemes are beginning to generate a profit as they grow to meet the changing mobility needs of consumers who increasingly want short-term transport solutions that do not involve ownership. BMW’s DriveNow service, which currently has 700,000 users in 10 markets, sees average vehicle utilisation of two to five hours per day. This is up to five times the typical use of a private car, the firm says, with car-sharing customers typically requiring vehicles for 20-40 minutes per rental. Ian Robertson, BMW’s board member for sales and marketing told Automotive News Europe: “The program is profitable, and the market is developing well.” With 700,000 users and an estimated 4,000 BMW and Mini vehicles, DriveNow has an average of 175 members per vehicle. This is very high when compared with figures obtained for the Mobility Intelligence report from Autovista Intelligence, which indicates that in London typical car club membership is 70 drivers per vehicle. However, demand is increasing and driving up utilisation. Over the past year, membership at Daimler-owned Car2go has leapt 43% to reach 2m members, so that it now has 142 members per vehicle for its 14,000 vehicle fleet. Maximising utilisation is the key to generating profit, but there are additional forms of revenue generation. For example, Autolib' in Paris is selling advertising on the outside of its cars in a three-month trial that started this week. Although Ford has announced it is closing its GoDrive service in London, it says this is not because of profitability issues. Ford is trialling a range of products as part of its Ford Smart Mobility programme and says it always planned to wind down the GoDrive service after two years of gathering data to feed into new global vehicle sharing services. For more information on the Mobility Intelligence report email Autovista Intelligence at

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