Study: Slower Demand Ahead for Cars as Ride-Hailing Grows

Carmakers can expect a sharp slowdown in sales growth as more people turn to ride-hailing services over the next 20 years or so, market researchers IHS Markit predicts.

In a new report, Reinventing the Wheel, the company says such services themselves will buy more than 10 million cars per year compared with 30,000 vehicles this year. But that won’t be enough to offset the decline in traditional car sales. The company’s analysis is based on an analysis of four major markets: China, Europe, India and the U.S.

The industry’s new era will be defined by more travel by car: 11 billion miles per year by 2040 compared with about 6.7 billion miles this year. But fewer vehicles will be owned by individuals. “The shift,” says Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, “is just beginning.”

By 2040, IHS says, electric and hybrid vehicles will account for 30% of the global car market, up from 1% last year. Piston power will continue to prevail worldwide. But its share of the overall market will shrink from 98% in 2016 to 62% by 2040.

Many of tomorrow’s piston engines will be part of hybrid powertrains. IHS forecasts the percentage of purely piston-powered cars will drop below 50% of total sales by 2031.