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Hailing a Lyft or Uber has become so normal those companies pretty much have become verbs, kind of like “googling.” But no one is asking, “Wanna Getaround to dinner?” It’s clear car-sharing hasn’t become as popular as ride-hailing, and it may stay that way.
Car-sharing, which involves renting someone else’s car or borrowing a car from a fleet, has some major roadblocks. It’s inherently difficult to get people who already have cars to take someone else’s vehicle. For car-less folks, renting a car means driving yourself — and parking, not drinking, staying focused, following traffic rules, and more.
With ride-hailing, even if you have a car, ordering a Lyft is a smaller, supplemental cost with fewer responsibilities. We’d rather a stranger drive us around than drive a stranger’s car.
Cox Automotive, which owns Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, released its latest alternative car study Thursday. After surveying 1,250 Americans, it found ride-hailing use has increased 77 percent since its last survey back in 2015. Car-sharing only saw a 17 percent increase.
Getaround is one of the peer-to-peer car-sharing companies hoping to keep pushing through. It’s now in 66 U.S. cities and recently raised $300 million in a funding round led by SoftBank, the same company betting big on Uber.
We’d rather a stranger drive us around than drive a stranger’s car.
Getaround founder and CEO Sam Zaid said that he believes every car will be a shared car eventually. In the meantime he wants “to make it easier to share” or find a car when you need it.
Zaid acknowledged car-sharing is a “noisy” market with several players trying to rise to the top, including Zipcar, Turo, and Car2Go. Traditional car maker General Motors is even in the space with its car-sharing service, Maven. There’s no one name that sticks out as the Uber of the car-sharing world yet.
Looking at the different car-sharing apps, monthly user numbers indicate growth and a crowded list of apps used for car-sharing. Turo had 1.7 million monthly active users, Car2Go (which rents out cars from a fleet) saw 759,000, and Getaround had 276,000. That’s up 153 percent since May, based on an analysis from Apptopia.
A study from AlixPartners this year found car rentals clearly fall into a “leisure” activity, not an everyday option to get from place to place. And 35 percent of survey-takers said they replaced car rental services with Lyft and Uber rides — not a good sign for car-sharing.
Turo CMO Andrew Mok said that ride-hailing and car-sharing services work side-by-side. Instead of getting people across town (like an Uber ride to the movies), Turo let’s you borrow someone’s car for a few days for a weekend getaway or business trip. You wouldn’t road-trip in a Lyft.
“Folks will always use Uber and Lyft,” Mok acknowledged. So Turo is targeting people looking to rent for longer periods of time.
This muddled ecosystem of car-sharing and ride-hailing is why HyreCar is focused on car rentals for the ride-sharing driver community. CEO Joe Furnari said that his company focuses on a more niche market as car-sharing starts to break into communities beyond the major metro areas. “There’s still a lot of room to grow there,” Furnari said.
Even so, car-sharing isn’t as widely accepted as ride-hailing. The study found that 75 percent of respondents consider ride-hailing services to be at least somewhat accessible, compared to 38 percent for car-sharing. Looks like the technology has a long road ahead of it.