Roland Berger's Photo
Only Daimler and BMW as international OEMs have set up car sharing businesses in China, Damiler’s car2share and car2go and BMW’s ReachNow.
Other international brands such as GM, Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, are also keen on tapping into the Chinese car-sharing market.
Facing fierce competition, the car sharing business hasn't reached its break-even point in China.
They ran into issues like high initial investment, high maintenance costs, low utilization rate, and price pressure which resulted from the availability of alternative affordable and convenient mobility solutions (e.g. bike-sharing, ride hailing).
The future of transportation means mastering apps and customer service, but care sharing customers have commonly complained that apps are slow, take too long to locate a car, and give wrong directions.
Despite these challenges, the niche market has gained strong support form the government.
In June 2017, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released a guideline for the development and promotion of the sharing economy, which is expected to account for more than 10% of China’s GDP by 2020.
Before autonomous driving could fundamentally revolutionize transport and people’s lives, car sharing will be an integral part of the shared-mobility ecosystem in China in the near future. But for these businesses to take off, car sharing operators will have to win investment battles for large customers and find ways to achieve payback in the Chinese market by lowering operational costs.