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Brief Published: 6 Jul 2015

Carmakers Launch Peer-to-Peer Lending

Car sharing is undermining car ownership

Global automakers Ford, BMW and General Motors have announced separate schemes that allow consumers to earn money by renting out their own cars.

In each case, the manufacturer provides the platform for managing the peer-to-peer lending and takes a portion of the fee – partly to cover insurance costs.

These announcements come at a time when taxi and car-sharing services such as Uber and BlaBlaCar are rapidly undermining the need and desire to own a vehicle in urban areas.

Tina Müller, chief marketing officer for Opel, General Motors' European brand, said: "In the future, it will be increasingly important to develop from a product manufacturer to a mobility service provider." She couched the move as a step towards "digitalising the Opel brand".

BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer said that BMW's scheme, which uses its existing car-sharing service DriveNow, shows that society and the automotive industry are undergoing "radical change" as consumers shift towards a sharing economy.

A major influence on the automakers' strategy is the tastes of millennials (aged 21 to 34) and their attachment to peer-to-peer lending and sharing services. It's also an opportunity to attract these younger consumers, who may not yet be able to afford a car, to build brand loyalty for future purchases.

For more on transport futures, see FT Future of the Car Summit 2015 and Urban Transport Revs Up.