In the past many people have rented out housing to young families and students as a way to invest. Recently there has been a suggestion to further this concept to renting out a vehicle that you have recently purchased.
Car manufacturers are desperately seeking new ways to increase sales, maximise financial returns and address the changing needs of new generations like the millennials, but urging people to rent our their own brand new cars stretches credulity and will fall on stony ground.
News this week that BMW’s Mini will offer buyers of its cars the chance to offset the purchase price by renting out their vehicles surely won’t find any takers. BMW itself has a similar scheme called DriveNow, which board member Peter Schwarzenbauer has said is based on the idea from accommodation sharing web site Airbnb. Ford and GM have also joined in.
Schemes that allow people who don’t own cars to rent by the hour make much sense. This allows the young, who either can’t afford to own a new car, or don’t need one very often, to get wheels for specific jobs. It also allows makers of electric cars which nobody wants to buy, to get them off dealer lots and earn some money.
If it was a scheme that allowed, say, students to rent out their old clunkers to generate enough cash to pay for running costs and then some, it might make some sense. But is there anyone in the history of the world who bought a brand new car – whether it’s a little runabout or an expensive limousine, that would ever let a stranger drive off in it? The fact that they could afford a new car in the first place means the financial incentive just isn’t there.