As a generation, millennials have a very different take on asset ownership compared to their parents and grandparents. While owning assets like a car or a house was greatly valued and looked up to in the recent past, no one in today’s fast-paced, low-commitment world thinks much of it. For the previous generations, these were once-in-a-lifetime investments which came bundled with a lot of joy and emotions. Millennials today have too many options available to stop – and that too forever – at one. Whether it is about owning a home or car, millennials prefer instant gratification, without -term commitments weighing them down.
Why car ownership became an outmoded concept
From the time of liberalization, our aspirations have only increased and at an advanced pace. As choices and possibilities in life have multiplied, what was once seen as an asset is now being seen as a liability. This gains relevance as with every passing year the latest models become fairly obsolete with new models with better features being rolled out by leading brands. So why sink a substantial amount of money on something that will depreciate over time, when one can enjoy a wide variety at low investment and yet draw all the benefits of owning a car? Moreover, with owning a car comes the hassles and costs of its maintenance. Recurring expenses like periodic service, insurance, and applicable taxes sap the enthusiasm of owning a car.
Renting to the rescue!
This is where the concept of renting a car comes into vogue. The attraction for renting cars is increasing rapidly, thanks to low costs and unparalleled convenience. Be it the perpetual fight for a parking space with your overtly social neighbor’s guests or the periodic check-up your car demands, with renting you can say good-bye to all such problems. On top of it, while renting cars, multiple choices in terms of size and category of cars are available to suit the type of trip to be undertaken. It has now become possible for people to rent their dream cars, including luxury ones, which they could not have otherwise thought of affording. They can experience happiness minus the responsibility and cost that would have been a big drain on their finances had they decided to buy one.
When you rent a car, the vehicle is already registered. So, you don’t add a new one on the road and thus reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Since many people will be sharing the use of the same set of cars, it could lead to lower car production, thus reducing waste. Today, when a significant portion of our lives is wasted in dense traffic, a sustainable and green solution is crucial. If the trend of renting grows stronger, it could revolutionize mobility in cities. Considering the preferences of the new generation, this could unlock great potential and appeal to the idea of sustainability, affecting lives significantly.
By Sunil Gupta, MD, and CEO, Avis India