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.
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 US and Germany that the number of cars per household is declining as is the number of young people learning to drive. ABI Research 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.” In the future, it is 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.
“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.
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Automotive Infotainment, Commercial Vehicle Telematics, and Automotive Safety and Autonomous Driving Research Services.
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.
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