We are likely trending towards a reduction in the number of vehicles per household in dense urban areas, falling by up to 16 percent by 2030.
This trend information comes to us by way of ABI Research (ABI), which stated today around half the world’s population lives in urban areas but this is expected to increase substantially during the next 10 years. Continued urbanization will place unsustainable pressures on urban infrastructure and services and cause other serious problems such as increased vehicle congestion which extends commuting times and increased pollution levels which detrimentally effects the environment.
ABI explained although car sales in many emerging markets are expected to grow strongly during the next 10 to 20 years as the standards of living of the new middle classes increase, there is, nevertheless, a strong possibility that sales in developed markets are approaching a plateau and that a historic “peak” in the total number of vehicles sold in these markets may be reached towards the end of the next decade.
There is already evidence in some countries such as the U.S. and Germany, said ABI, that the number of cars per household is declining.
ABI forecasts that the installed base of private cars in North America will fall to around 120 million vehicles by 2030 as various alternatives to car ownership become available.
“Although the desire for mobility is not decreasing, there are an increasing number of options to car ownership becoming available for people living in urban areas,” said Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Examples include ride-sharing services such as Lyft and ride-booking services such as Uber which commuters can book using their smartphones.”
ABI sees a future in which it will be very likely that commuters in urban areas will be able to order a ride to work via their smartphone and be picked up by a driverless cars. In fact, self-driving or so called autonomous vehicles could be a key catalyst that enables car-sharing companies to flourish. This may be an opportunity for companies outside the traditional auto industry such as Google, added ABI.
“As a result, urban dwellers will have less of a need to own a car in the future. More car-sharing fleets will inevitably result in fewer personal car sales. This, coupled with increasing average age of cars due to better build quality and reliability all points to a gradual downward trend in car production and sales in the future,” added Owen.