Vehicle users ready to give up car ownership in favour of autonomous mobility solutions, report

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 11 Oct 2019

Representational image courtesy: Accenture

Many car owners would consider giving up car ownership in the future in favour of autonomous mobility solutions, such as self-driving buses or taxis, according to a new report from Accenture, the Ireland-headquartered technology and consulting company.

The report titled 'Mobility Services: The Customer Perspective,' looks at the key challenges for car manufacturers now and in the future in relation to the rise in mobility services. The study is based on a survey of 7,000 consumers in the United States, Europe and China, of which 85 percent respondents were car owners. The study notes that revenues from mobility services are projected to reach nearly 1.2 trillion euro (Rs 8,502,000 crore) by 2030, with the exponential growth in the market for mobility as a service driven by constant improvements in autonomous vehicle technologies.

The study's key finding points that despite the fact that 96 percent of car owners said they think they will own a car in the future, nearly half (48%) said they would consider giving up car ownership if autonomous mobility solutions were available.

Accenture says perhaps somewhat surprising, owners of premium-brand cars were more likely than owners of non-premium brands to say they’d be willing to give up car ownership for autonomous mobility solutions. Among owners of premium-brand cars, those in China were twice as likely than those in the USA to say they’d consider giving up car ownership (78% vs 39%), with those in Europe falling in between (55%).

Axel Schmidt, senior MD at Accenture who leads its Mobility industry practice globally, said: “The transition from car ownership to mobility-as-a-service seems inevitable, so traditional auto manufacturers will be at great risk of losing customers to new mobility service providers that can establish mature offers. Traditional car companies need to begin fully embracing alternatives to the ownership model — becoming brokers of mobility solutions rather than just car manufacturers. And given the greater willingness among the Chinese for autonomous mobility solutions, manufacturers might consider China as a blueprint for their efforts before rolling out solutions to Europe and the U.S.”

Brand no longer the top priority
Another key finding of the report, saw that vehicle brand were losing its importance. When asked to rank their top criteria for both car purchasing and car-sharing from among more than a dozen factors — including price, speed, flexibility, comfort, environmental impact, brand and privacy — respondents overall ranked brand as the sixth-most-important factor in terms of car buying but tenth in terms of car-sharing.

“While brand clearly enables some auto manufacturers to charge a premium for their products, the importance of brand will likely fade for the product and shift to the service as the popularity of car-sharing services and autonomous vehicles grows,” Juergen Reers, a managing director at Accenture who leads its Mobility X.0 practice.

The study found that respondents indicate strong desire for add-on services to autonomous mobility trips — such as music and video streaming, wellness (e.g., massage seats), food and hotel services — with 89 percent of all respondents, and 97 percent of those between 18 and 37 years old, expressing interest in such services. Yet the report notes a large difference between the geographies, with respondents in China far more likely to say they’d pay for such services.

“There is clearly great interest — and therefore significant revenue potential — for add-on services in the future of autonomous mobility. To get a jump on the competition, car companies should start piloting and refining these services to be ready once autonomous vehicles hit the market,” added Reers.

Autonomous vehicles have huge opportunity outside cities
Accenture's study found that almost half (45%) of respondents said they’d be willing to change their place of residence if their daily commute could be facilitated by autonomous vehicles. Respondents in China were the most likely to cite this willingness to relocate, at 55 percent, compared with 42 percent of European respondents and 37 percent of U.S. respondents.

In addition, one-third (34%) of all respondents said they’d consider moving to a suburb or rural area when autonomous vehicles become reality. While most auto manufacturers focus their autonomous driving activities on urban areas, the report suggests that they expand their focus to suburban and rural areas, since more than one-third (37%) of urban premium customers said they would consider moving to those areas if their daily commutes could be facilitated by autonomous vehicles there.