Traditional auto turns to share-economy

Airbnb and other forms of sharing site have kickstarted a huge number of initiatives around the world. London’s Santander Cycles, Ofo, and Mobike are doing there best to corner the cycle share market while even companies like Uber increasingly build sharing options into their offering, with Uber Pool lowering the price of a taxi fare if you’re willing to share with strangers.

In recent news, automotive giant Jaguar Land Rover has moved into the sharing sector too, with a multi-million-pound investment in the US ride-hailing company, Lyft. Based in San Francisco and founded in 2012, Lyft is a fast-growing company trying to take away some of Uber’s market. The move from British giant Jaguar is a clear sign that the UK industry is keen to continue throwing its backing behind the sharing economy.

Made by InMotion – JLR’s subsidiary mobility company – the investment is one of a number of ventures launched over the last year to ensure that Jaguar Land Rover can keep up in the emerging car and ride sharing environment. Following in the footsteps of companies like BMW, who launched DriveNow back in 2011, JLR may well be able to find success in an ever more popular market space.

According to Jaguar, the investment in Lyft by InMotion will offer a raft of new options to develop, test and launch mobility services. This includes moves into autonomous driving, an area currently being tested a lot by Google and other tech companies.

For Lyft, an investment from Jaguar Land Rover means that expansion plans can continue and that the company will have an even more solid foundation in the UK. The fleet will also be able to begin using Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, a perk which could significantly improve the range of options on offer for Lyft users.

This investment is one of many in recent years, with Toyota, Volvo, and Mercedes all investing in the multi-national giant Uber, General Motors investing in Lyft itself at the beginning of 2016, and the VW Group investing £241 million in Gett.

These investments are a clear sign that the automotive industry is changing, with traditional manufacturers all making sure to buy in now, to keep up with the competition.

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