Wednesday, 3 December 2014
From Motoring to Mobility
The automobiles in those days were works of art - beautiful and characterful - and those still running can make us gasp today. And a few years later, in the 80s and early 90s, success was measured by what you managed to land as a company car, as well as the size of your wage packet.
Children these days still play with cars, of course, and brands such as Hot Wheels, which I remember from my childhood, are still with us. But there has been a fundamental shift in the way we think about cars - as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
In the same way that many younger people these days don't have a landline, more and more young people, particularly those in cities, don't own a car. The car-sharing market, made possible by technology, is booming. Car-sharing, whereby one can set up an account, rather like a phone account, and have almost instant access to vehicles on a pay-by-trip basis has been driven (arf, arf) largely by companies of German-speaking origin. Brands like the Swiss Mobility and car2go - recently arrived in Frankfurt - are leading the way.
As trends go, Car-sharing ticks plenty of boxes. There's the meshing of the real and virtual world, the sharing economy, urbanisation, sustainability and so on. It's also a way for established brands - both car manufacturers and traditional car rental companies - to refresh their image and to be at the forefront of innovation.
Who knows - maybe one of these brands will introduce Classic Car Sharing, combining the dreams of childhood with the technology of today.