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Analysis of the Market for Carsharing in North America
Deliverable Type: Market Research
Date Published: 18 Jan 2010
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Research Overview

This Frost & Sullivan research service titled Analysis of the Market for Carsharing in North America analyses the nature, historical development, industry challenges, market drivers and constraints, as well as business models of carsharing, and forecasts its growth from 2010 to 2016. It conducts scenario analysis of the growth of the carsharing membership and shared vehicles. This study also includes competitors’ benchmarking, leading carsharing organizations’ profiles, and stakeholder opportunities analysis.

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Market Overview

Rapid Growth of the Market for Carsharing in North America Unleashes New Business Opportunities

The economic recession that started in December 2007 in the United States had huge repercussions on the global automotive industry. Consumers were forced to be cognizant of fuel efficiency and transit costs. Vehicle manufacturers are focused on the development of fuel efficient vehicles, such as hybrids and electronic vehicles (EVs). In such a scenario, alternative mobility services are generating and receiving attention. Among these services is carsharing, a sustainable and innovative personal mobility solution that is emerging in the spotlight. The carsharing industry has exhibited great potential, registering significant growth during the past two years and offering huge business opportunities for stakeholders. With the green concept gaining traction across North America, more people are lending support to the cause and gravitating toward green vehicles. "The two major social benefits of carsharing are reduced vehicles on the road and lower emissions," notes the analyst of this research service. "Moreover, consumers benefit from carsharing by being relieved of ownership costs."

Frost & Sullivan research shows that on an average, each shared vehicle replaced 15 personally owned vehicles in 2009 and carsharing members drove 31 percent less than when they owned a personal vehicle. These two factors translate into 482,170 fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions and less travel congestion in the urban areas. The research also shows that a car owner who drives 12,000 miles a year at an average driving speed of 30 miles per hour can save $1,834 by shifting to the carsharing service. Commuters who drive less than 12,000 miles can save more.

Although the model has many advantages, the fast development of carsharing programs has proved to be a double-edged sword to the vehicle manufacturers. While on the one hand it means sales opportunities, on the other, it can lead to a further decline in sales of new vehicle, as carsharing vehicles replace personal vehicles. Moreover, carsharing businesses tend to lose money until they reach a critical mass. External funding is vital for new programs to survive the startup stage. The vehicle utilization rate should reach nearly 40 percent; otherwise, the carsharing program will fail to cover its costs. "Carsharing organizations are actively seeking fuel efficient, low emission, low price, and trendy vehicles, and if these demands can be satisfied, potential sales can be converted into real, increasing businesses," says the analyst. "Vehicle manufacturers need to carefully gauge the potential impact on their total sales." Having realized the potential of carsharing, some OEMs have chosen to jump onto the bandwagon. For example, Daimler has launched its own carsharing subsidiary, Car2Go, in Europe in 2009, and penetrated the North American market in Nov 17, 2009. Car2Go will deploy 200 Smart cars for 13, 000 employees of the city of Austin, Texas to use.

Market Sectors

Expert Frost & Sullivan analysts thoroughly examine the following market sectors in this research:

  • Electric vehicles

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