Livework have been obsessing with car clubs for almost 10 years – now we are taking them mainstream
Livework believe that car clubs are one of the most exciting areas for service and service design – a car club is a service that offers members access to cars near to their homes on a pay-as-you-drive basis.
As our societies shift from the industrial age to the information age (and as more people live in crowded cities) owning a car becomes less and less compelling. Why own a car when technologies enable the micro-rental of a car when you need it? Why look after a car when the manufacturer could do a better job? Why own a car outright when you could share with your neighbours?
We will always be proud of Streetcar – the UK car club that we crafted the customer experience of to help it become the fastest growing car club in Europe. As a sign of success Streetcar has been merged with Zipcar, and now we are very excited to see the next wave of car clubs coming from the auto manufacturers themselves and to have helped Volkswagen define their new service Quicar.
Working with Volkswagen in Germany Livework helped them to understand the mechanics and the customer experience of car clubs. We also investigated with them the specific needs of German customers in target smaller cities like the classic car club homes London and New York. Finally we looked at a range of models in the marketplace from Car2Go in Germany to Zipcar in the US. From these insights we were able to create a customer journey and value model that defined how Volkswagen could enter this market and make the most of their particular assets as a manufacturer, their range of vehicles and their ability to flex in order to meet demand. This led to the implementation by Volkswagen of their own car club Quicar that launched this year and is scaling up this November. Quicar aims to match the specific qualities that Volkswagen brings to the needs we saw in potential customers in Germany.
Quicar is now up and running in Hanover with 200 cars. Volkswagen has implemented the club with larger car stations than other rivals and the club has targeted people who want a solid alternative to car ownership. It comes with Quicar Plus and Family options to give people longer access and shared accounts.
We see a future where car clubs become an option for most people. Somepredictions think that they will account for 10% of all cars in Europe by 2020. What is clear is that there will be a range of options or styles of clubs aiming to meet different user needs and contexts. The sector is going to need to continue to evolve to meet the needs of a greater number of customers through flexibility, location and financial model. We look forward to development.