Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson thinks his company is well placed to mount a charge at the changing car market
Sam Sheehan
25 November 2016

Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson believes the growth in car sharing will cause the world’s car market to split into four main sections.

Speaking at the launch of the Volvo S90 L in Shanghai, Samuelsson said the most popular form of car usage in the near future will be short-term rental.

“Like [ride-hailing services] Uber and Lyft, our role will soon be to provide autonomous cars that are part of that sort of mobility,” he said. “That’s why Volvo has partnered with Uber to grow in this area of the market.”

Samuelsson said the second most popular form of car usage would be peer-to-peer sharing.

“If you need mobility for a longer time, maybe a week, we think there will be a market for car sharing, which we are already exploring,” he said. “While we develop into peer-to-peer car sharing, we must develop car connectivity, because these two are heavily linked.”

With connected cars, it will become convenient to use a smartphone app, for example, to request a car. This sort of car usage will still be relatively short term, so Samuelsson believes it can’t cater for people who want to own a car for longer periods of time.

“When you want your own car, people will use a form of subscription, where they pay a monthly fee, like you do for a phone contract,” said Samuelsson.

He suggested that this sort of contract would be similar to personal contract purchases (PCPs), which are already the most popular way to buy a car in the UK today.

Samuelsson explained that the more traditional purchasing of a car would therefore become the smallest contributor to the new car market.

“Of course, in parallel to this will be the traditional buying of a car, but it will not be the main way anymore,” he said. “Some people will always want to own their own vehicles.”

Volvo launches autonomous driving programme

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Comments
12

25 November 2016
The premium sector will be stone dead including Volvo if this bloke is right. People will only "rent" cheap basic cars at cheap basic prices. the whole point of premium is the ownership experience. thats why people spec extras, own 2,3,4... cars etc etc

I think there may be scope for this in very large cities but no where else and not for me

25 November 2016
This bloke will disappear up his own fundament. Get a grip Samuelsson, car sharing for most people is not an option. In my office, out of 29 people 2 come from the same point of the compass, except one is 60 years old and full time and the other is a young mum and part time. Car sharing is a nice ideal, a lucky break or a fantasy. Better luck in Beijing with your Chinese motors, it will not work in Brummagem.

25 November 2016
I cant see this happening in the UK. And if it did it wouldnt be good for Volvo or any other maker of more than basic transport. Look at Taxi's today. crappy cars usually, run on a shoestring, providing cheap transport. their is no market for a luxury taxi.

Another of the advantages of 'owning' your own car is being able to leave stuff in it. A huge proportion of people keep all sorts of junk in their cars. if the car was just a short term loaner that couldnt happen.

I can believe that PCP will become more popular, as some people love getting a new car ever few years, but these cars have to go somewhere afterwards. the more second cars there are the lower the price they will sell for, and the therefore the greater the cost of the PCP. I think this will effectively stop PCP sales escalating too much more.

If he is correct there will be no more luxury trim, no more expensive options, just plain standard versions of standard cars. I think this would put the fear into the motor industry and something they would try their best to avoid, not embrace

26 November 2016
I used zipcar for a couple of years. It was so frustrating I brought my own car, environmental sensibilities and finances be damned. Short term car sharing doesn't work for these reasons: How can you always predict in advance how many hours you need a car for? This caused many tense moments. Once I had to leave in the middle of my friends wedding celebrations to return a Zipcar. The drinking went on late into the night and I had to drink coke because I knew I had to return the car that day. Officially, things were supposed to draw to a close at 9pm.

26 November 2016
You always have to do a pre drive inspection and it was common for the car to have scrapes and dents unlogged. So to be on the safe side, I would always call these in. This took maybe 10-15mins. Imagine doing this everytime you want to drive somewhere. Bloody frustrating.

26 November 2016
The cars were invariably filthy inside. Random stains were common. Once someone had been sick in the car and hadn't cleaned it up requiring me to be sent to another car. This killed 30mins of my time.

26 November 2016
The cars werent properly maintained. It was common to drive cars with the service light on. Cars often had budget special tyres fitted, with odd tyres across axles. Once I drove back and returned a car because the tyres made wierd droning noises that sounded like the tyres might fling off.

26 November 2016
Everyone wants a car at the same time. It was impossible to book a car for any weekend say the night before. They always had to be booked a week or two in advance. Sometimes even then I had to traipse across london by tube to pick one up 3 miles away. I could go on and on. Short term car sharing is frustrating and horrible. This samuelsson guy has obviously never car shared in his life.

26 November 2016
Half the time the cars were low on fuel. You are meant to top it up when it reaches quarter of a tank but most people didnt bother. Would you want to spend 15 mins filling up when you've booked the car for 1hour to drop something off? So you end up filling the car ALOT. Imagine if you had to fill up your car every other journey, no matter how short it was.

26 November 2016
Imagine a situation where someone has booked a car directly after you. You are running 5 mins late, through no fault of your own. You will have to pay a fine and that other guys taxi fare to reroute to another car. Suddenly that 1 hour drop off that should have cost £7 is costing £50 or more.

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