Auto News for Sept. 20 – Auto Ownership To Go The Way Of The CD

 Auto ownership to go the way of the CD?

 Autonomous vehicle fleets will quickly become widespread and will account for the majority of Lyft rides with five years, predicts John Zimmer, Co-Founder of Lyft. And by 2025, “private car ownership will all but end in major U.S. cities,” he added.

 Why?

 “We see car ownership as a burden that is costing the average American $9,000 every year. The car has actually become more like a $9,000 ball and chain that gets dragged through our daily life. Owning a car means monthly car payments, searching for parking, buying fuel, and dealing with repairs.”

 What does that mean for cities?

 “The end of private car ownership means we’ll have far fewer cars sitting parked and empty. And that means we’ll have the chance to redesign our entire urban fabric. Cities of the future must be built around people, not vehicles. They should be defined by communities and connections, not pavement and parking spots. They need common spaces where culture can thrive — and where new ideas can be shared in the very places where cars previously stood parked and empty,” he said.

 In short, car ownership will go the way of the CD.

“With Netflix and streaming services, DVD ownership became obsolete. Spotify has made it unnecessary to own CDs and MP3s. Eventually, we’ll look at owning a car in much the same way.”

 He sees autonomous ride sharing as making for sense for those in urban areas.

 “It may shock you, but Americans spend more than $2 trillion every year on car ownership — more money than we spend on food. What’s even more staggering is that for all the money we spend on them, the 250 million cars in America are only occupied 4% of the time. That’s the equivalent of 240 million of the 250 million cars being parked at all times. For the most part, your car isn’t actually a driving machine at all. It’s a parking machine,” he said.

 Car buffs may not like what he said, but it is powerful food for thought. And, of course, Zimmer’s company has a lot to gain if, and when, his predictions come true.

Elsewhere:

 GM has reached a tentative contract agreement with a major Canadian union thus averting a possible walkout. A union official said the group has received assurances that production will continue at two plants, a key issue for the group. Members must now ratify the tentative agreement that also brings pay raises. “The agreement will enable significant new product, technology and process investments at GM’s Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock facilities, placing those operations at the forefront of advanced manufacturing flexibility, innovation and environmental sustainability,” said GM.

 GM also announced the Chevrolet Bolt will carry a starting price of $37,495 including delivery. That can be reduced to $29,995 when federal tax credits are factored in. The EPA recently announced the all-electric Bolt will have a range of 238 miles on a full charge. It is expected to go on sale later this year.

 Wholesale used car prices fell 2.6 percent in August, the biggest loss record so far this year, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. This covers eight year old or younger used vehicles.

 The largest loss came for luxury vehicles while large pickup prices fell only 1.2 percent.

 “We forecasted vehicle prices would continue to trend downward this past month — and they did,” said Jonathan Banks, vice president of vehicle analysis and analytics at NADA Used Car Guide.

 “The big question everybody is asking is, ‘Will the decline in used vehicle prices accelerate?’ We believe that will be influenced by manufacturers, and how much their incentive spend is on 2017 models,” he said.

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