According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, some riders who use Uber and Lyft have given up their cars. Others will do so in the near future. The trend is bad news for car companies.
Nearly a quarter of American adults sold or traded in a vehicle in the last 12 months, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll published on Thursday, with most getting another car. But 9 percent of that group turned to ride services like Lyft Inc and Uber Technologies Inc as their main way to get around.
About the same percentages said they planned to dispose of cars and turn to ride services in the upcoming 12 months.
The researchers who did the work speculated that Uber and Lyft drivers could make up for those car owners who drop out of the buying market, but that is simply a guess.
Car companies face two new developments that could injure their futures. One is autonomous cars. The other is the growth of Uber and Lyft and their smaller competitors. The U.S. car market produced about 17 million car and light truck sales last year. That number is expected to drop slightly in 2017.
Several car companies have begun alliances with Uber and Lyft. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has started to lease its electric Chevy Bolt to drivers for the two services under a program called Maven Gig. The weekly price of the lease is $229, which includes insurance, maintenance and charging.
On the other hand, some car companies have plans to compete with Uber and Lyft. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) recently hired Uber’s VP of Global Vehicle Programs, Sherif Marakby. He will be in charge of Ford’s autonomous and electric car operations.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that it will be difficult to stop the trend of defections from car ownership to shared services. The question is whether the large car manufacturers can come up with ways to increase revenue to offset this.