Please wait while the search results are loading...

Car-Sharing Programs (Short-Term Rentals), AKA Mobility Services, Proliferate, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Car sharing has become a big business in North America and Europe.  This practice is called car sharing because the organizations providing the cars enable short-term, on-demand use, without the burdens of car ownership. 

The costs of buying, operating, insuring and parking a personal automobile are extremely high.  At the same time, consumer attitudes and behavior regarding transportation are evolving rapidly.  Surveys in mature economies such as Japan show that a relatively large number of young people have no interest in purchasing a car.  The percentage of people in major cities in the U.S. and UK who do not own cars is rising.  The term Mobility Services is widely used to describe car sharing strategies like ZipCar, ride-on-demand systems like Uber and other alternative personal transportation systems.

Autonomous vehicles capable of driving themselves will have very profound effects on automobile manufacturing, usage, sales and ownership patterns.  At least in dense urban environments, the result is very likely to be a large proportion of individuals who opt to use shared vehicles rather than user-owned cars.

A car sharing pioneer called Zipcar ( offers drivers inexpensive alternatives to owning their own cars.  Zipcar members are issued smart cards that allow them to unlock Zipcar vehicles with a wave of the card over the windshield.  The cars are equipped with pre-paid cards for use at gas stations and insurance coverage; and drivers are allowed 180 miles of driving per day.  Business boomed during the firm’s early years, as gas prices escalated to dizzying heights and then again at the onset of the global economic crisis.  In March 2013, Avis Budget Group completed its acquisition of Zipcar for $491 million.

Zipcar is utilizing innovative, densely populated locations as pick up spots, such as garages in major hotels and university campuses.  The firm spawned a number of similar offerings from competitors, including rental car firm Hertz Corp.’s Hertz 24/7 (formerly Hertz on Demand and Connect by Hertz) and Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s CarShare (formerly WeCar).  Hertz is taking the car sharing business so seriously that all vehicles in its U.S. fleet are equipped with devices that allow customers to use the internet to reserve and unlock a rental car from Hertz 24/7.  There are no membership or annual fees, and users earn points in the Hertz Gold frequent renter program.

Luxury versions of car sharing are also available in select cities, offering vehicles for manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.  For example, Turo Go is an app for startup rental company Turo for luxe car shares in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.  A number of car share companies use automotive subscription service software from Clutch Technologies ( ).  Many of these services provide forums in which owners can list their personal vehicles for rent.

An initiative in France is Autolib, a car sharing program which has about 2,000 electric vehicles.  Along with commissioning the vehicles (designed by CEO Vincent Bolloré), Autolib is building a total of 4,000 electric charging stations for parking and recharging.

BMW offers the BMW on Demand program.  Available vehicles range from its 1 Series of compacts up to its luxury 7 Series.  Cars can be picked up and dropped off at the BMW Welt, the company’s exhibition and event center next to its headquarters in Munich.  BMW is betting that the trend of younger urban drivers choosing not to own vehicles will continue.  The project is similar to other European initiatives, including Daimler’s car2go (which offered service in 26 locations in eight countries as of 2019).  BMW also has a European rental program called DriveNow in partnership with German car rental company Sixt AG.  Electric cars are accessed by a computer chip embedded in driver’s licenses, and can be left at any location without having to return it to a specific drop off point.  In 2019, BMW and Daimler announced plans to merge their car-sharing businesses into one firm, with services to include Uber-like ride-hailing, as well as parking space locator apps.  The two companies are investing about $1.1 billion in the joint venture.



A Representative List of Organizations that Have Used our Research and Products:


I’m amazed at how much information is available and the various ways to access it. This will be a major resource for our serious job seekers.

Career Services, Penn State University

Plunkett Research Online provides a great ‘one stop shop’ for us to quickly come up to speed on major industries. It provides us with an overall analysis of the market, key statistics, and overviews of the major players in the industry in an online service that is fast, easy to navigate, and reliable.

Wendy Stotts, Manager, Carlson Companies

I really appreciate the depth you were able to get to so quickly (for our project). The team has looked through the material and are very happy with the data you pulled together.

Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Manager

We are especially trying to push Plunkett since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Library Services, St. John’s College

We are especially trying to push Plunkett’s since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Gary White, Business Materials Selector, Penn State University

Your tool is very comprehensive and immensely useful. The vertical marketing tool is very helpful, for it assists us in that venue, as well as targeting customers’ competition for new sales…The comprehensive material is absolutely fabulous. I am very impressed, I have to say!

Tammy Dalton, National Account Manager, MCI

The more I get into the database, the happier I am that we’ll have it–REALLY happy!!! Between the quality and affordability of your product, its appeal to and value for our users, and the inestimably ethical and loyalty-guaranteeing conduct of your business, I will always have more than sufficient praises to sing for Plunkett Research.

Michael Oppenheim, Collections & Reference Services, UCLA

Plunkett Research Online is an excellent resource…the database contains a wealth of useful data on sectors and companies, which is easy to search and well presented. Help and advice on how to conduct, export and save searches is available at all stages.

Penny Crossland, Editor, VIP Magazine
Real Time Web Analytics