Private car ownership still has a future

Adel Murad
Updated 25 November 2017
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Private car ownership still has a future

It is the fashion these days for car executives to focus on future trends such as car-sharing, car-hailing services and autonomous driving. Jeff Holden, Uber chief product officer, recently declared that “individual car ownership is something that will go away because it is very inefficient.”
That may be partly true. But for a clearer picture of what is likely to happen, it might be better to listen to the guru who predicted the rise of the compact SUV years before his competitors, went for electric cars instead of other alternatives and now has the “Leaf” all-electric car as a best-seller in the segment.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, confirmed that personal car ownership would continue to expand worldwide despite ride-sharing services. He said that people think that sharing is a substitute for ownership but it is not — it is an addition. He is pushing for more production and aims to challenge for a lead position in the industry.
Ghosn’s alliance is poised to sell 10.5 million vehicles this year, making it a contender to challenge Volkswagen and Toyota for the top sales spot for the first time. The alliance has forecast that deliveries would jump to at least 14 million vehicles in 2022. Ghosn forecasts that growth will come from China, India and other emerging markets.
Although car-sharing is more efficient, there is no substitute for car ownership. Some of the new services are now available in Europe and the US but they have not affected levels of car ownership. Common sense dictates that people aspire to own their private car, regardless of low usage and high costs.
This is also true in affluent markets such as the GCC, where people own several cars despite driving only one vehicle at a time.
People prefer ownership and privacy. They would not accept sharing other goods and services, so why would they accept sharing cars?
• Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist, based in London.


Chevrolet goes after Jeep Grand Cherokee with new Blazer

The new Blazer sits relatively low to the ground and has futuristic creases on the sides and a low-angle windshield to give it a sporty look. (Courtesy of General Motors via AP)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Chevrolet goes after Jeep Grand Cherokee with new Blazer

  • GM on Thursday unveiled the sculpted Blazer in Atlanta
  • At its peak in 1996, Chevrolet sold just over 246,000 Blazers

DETROIT: Because these days you can’t have too many SUVs, General Motors is bringing back the Chevrolet Blazer.
Only this time it’s not a thirsty and boxy truck like its predecessor, one of the original SUVs that was sold from the 1982 through 2005 model years.
SUVs based on car underpinnings, sometimes called crossover vehicles, are what buyers want these days, and the Chevy brand didn’t have a midsize one with two rows of seats to compete with the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano.
So GM on Thursday unveiled the sculpted Blazer in Atlanta, trying to capitalize on a well-known name that has a lot of equity, said Steve Majoros, Chevy’s director of car and crossover marketing. “There’s still a number of people that either have good positive feelings about that product or still have them in their driveways,” he said.
At its peak in 1996, Chevrolet sold just over 246,000 Blazers.
The new Blazer is far from a box. It sits relatively low to the ground and has futuristic creases on the sides and a low-angle windshield to give it a sporty look. Chevy says it will come standard with a 193-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with an optional 305 horsepower 3.6-liter V6. All models will have stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at red traffic lights, plus nine-speed automatic transmissions that will help gas mileage.
Gas mileage and price weren’t released by GM. Chevy hopes to take a chunk out of Grand Cherokee sales, one of the more popular and profitable vehicles in the Jeep lineup, in the growing midsize SUV segment. Last year Fiat Chrysler sold nearly 159,000 Grand Cherokees.
The Blazer, due in showrooms early next year, comes as American buyers continue their shift from cars to trucks and SUVs. This year trucks and SUVs accounted for about two-thirds US new-vehicle sales, with cars making up the rest.