7 Feb 19

Car Share matters more than ever in Australia

Australia has struggled with the adoption of car sharing but recent initiatives focussed on corporate fleets are set to turn that all around. 

While the close of the 1990s saw over 200 Car Sharing Organisations (CSOs) across Europe, in Australia the first CSO was GoGet, founded in 2003 with just 3 cars and 12 users. Pace of change has been sluggish for the car sharing industry since, but all that might be about to change.

More relevance for Fleet Managers

Mace Hartley, Executive Director of the Australasian Fleet Management Association (AFMA) observes that “Car sharing and the whole question of asset management is becoming much more relevant for fleet owners across Australia, New Zealand and even South East Asia. […] some of the smaller fleets moving entirely to car sharing.”

He also says that for fleets, “There remains a desire to hold on to cars and seek better utilisation rather than relinquish them altogether.”

GoGet – First Car Share in Australia

Hartley’s comments are reflected in the rapid growth of GoGet recently. From 3 vehicles and 12 members in 2003, the business struggled to a little over 12,000 members by 2013. In the six years since then it has added an extra zero to the member numbers growing to 120,000 members and almost 3000 cars. 

GoGet’s Head of Head of Locations and Partnerships, Chris Vanneste, attributes much of that to the growth in fleet demand. He says that “As we’ve reached critical mass, it provides the convenience a corporate customer needs and the service becomes more viable for corporate clients.”

The fleet take up has also provided synergies with GoGet’s traditional consumer base. Vanneste says, “Most of our consumer demand is focussed on weekends, whereas corporate demand is midweek focussed.”

Fleet Reduced by 50%

For fleet customers the solutions being offered by GoGet are both simple and practical with cars being placed onsite and the cost reductions can be impressive. In 2016, GoGet replaced all pool cars on Melbourne’s Latrobe University campus. Vanneste explains that the initiative “[reduced] their fleet by 50%. We added our carshare technology to their remaining fleet so staff can log in to the system and view real time availability. It means that the vehicles are available for students and the surrounding community.”

GoGet haven’t got the Car Share business to themselves though. As the business has grown and become more mainstream, other players such as Melbourne based GreenShareCar and the Hertz owned car share businesses Flexicar and Hertz24/7 have gained traction as well. In New Zealand, CityHop are making an impact with around 150 vehicles in Auckland and Wellington.

Peer to Peer – A Solution for Fleet?

Also playing a role is peer to peer sharing. Another late arrival in Australia, peer to peer is only recently becoming a viable option. Both DriveMyCar and Car Next Door have taken a share of the peer to peer market, with DriveMyCar focussing on longer term sharing. CEO Chris Noone explains that the focus is “on Peer-to-Peer car rental rather than car share. Car sharing is uneconomic for periods longer than about a day and we’re focussed on periods of say 2-365 days.”

DriveMyCar is also more focussed on working with corporates. Noone explains that “Many of our vehicles are sourced directly from manufacturers and dealerships. It means that when there is demand for a bespoke vehicle, we can usually source that.”

There is no doubt that there is still a way to go before car sharing is truly a mainstream product for Australian fleet managers, but new entrants and new initiatives are bringing that day closer.

Image: traffic heading towards Melbourne, Australia

Author: Shane Curran, Fleet APAC Advisory Board Member