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Car Sharing Takes Hold In Europe

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Car Sharing Takes Hold In Europe

Geoff Maxted
November 9, 2013

It’s a sign of the times. Young drivers - and others suffering economic hardship - can’t afford the costs of car ownership and those of us that can are beset on all sides by eco-initiatives. It would probably be right to say that town and city dwellers are falling out of love with the automobile. So what’s the alternative?

Well, FIAT will shortly join Daimler in offering car-share services in Milan, the city's mayor has said. European car makers are looking at new ways to attract young drivers who can't afford to buy cars as motor sales decline in the region and youth unemployment, especially in southern Europe, soars to record highs.

"Fiat will start offering a car-sharing service in Milan shortly," mayor Giuliano Pisapia said at a conference last Thursday. The company confirmed it is working on a few different options for the service. Car-share services in Milan also include GuidaMi, (car sharing) operated by the city's public transportation company ATM, and e-Vai (electric cars) of regional train group Trenord.

Daimler rents Smart ForTwo cars in about a dozen European cities and in 10 cities in the United States and Canada. Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen have also established car-sharing arms to take advantage of a sector that forecast say will grow to 26 million global users by 2020 from 2.3 million now. Europe is expected to have 15 million car-sharing customers by 2020, up from 1 million today.

Whether this sort of thing will catch on in the UK remains to be seen.

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