Carsharing business keeps growing

There are 1.7 million members of carsharing services worldwide. What's fueling the growing demand?
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Carsharing has quickly moved from a fringe mode of urban transportation to a mainstream car rental service in cities around the world. That trend was made clear earlier this year when the car rental giant Avis bought Zipcar for $500 million. We've also seen the Germany luxury carmaker Daimler get into the business with its Car2go services. And carsharing services from other rental car companies, nonprofits, and smaller companies are popping up in numerous cities. So what's fueling the high demand? The New York Times reports:

“There’s a trend in general for people wanting to pay for what they use,” said [Car2go’s chief executive, Nicholas] Cole. “It’s like the success in iTunes, where people choose to buy a few songs instead of the whole album.” The need for cheap, convenient mobility is fueling the growth of car sharing around the world, said Ms. Shaheen of the University of California, Berkeley.

According to Shaheen, there are currently about 1.7 million carsharing members in 27 countries, not including peer-to-peer carsharing. But with so many services and options available you might think the carsharing bubble would burst, right? It doesn't seem that way. At least not anytime soon.

So far, big corporations and smaller organizations coexist comfortably because of the growing demand for car sharing in urban areas.

The arrival of companies like Daimler and Avis in the market “isn’t putting anybody out of business,” said Wilson Wood, head of theCarSharing Association,which represents 19 smaller providers, like City CarShare.

Car-Sharing Services Grow, and Expand Options [New York Times]

Photo: Flickr/elizaIO

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