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Renault Nissan Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn says the rise of ride-sharing apps and co-ownership schemes for cars will not have an overall negative impact on the number of cars sold, due to the irrational and emotional connection buyers will have with their vehicles.

Speaking with media at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas today, Ghosn admitted that the rate of car ownership will likely decline in the coming years, but the actual number of cars sold will not.

“Car ownership rates will decline automatically because the number of cars shared today is very small, because you have 95-96 per cent ownership [globally]. The 96 per cent will go down because you have so many connected services, more affordable options etc. Does it mean the number of car sold is going to diminish? No,” Ghosn said.

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In 2016, more than 90 million new cars were sold worldwide, and Ghosn said that would only increase this year – and likely into the future.

“Even though you have more share services, et cetera, it’s not going to lower. It may be a better use of some of the cars already existing, because car ownership is not only a rational decision, it’s also an emotional decision – you don’t buy a car only on the way you use it, like people who buy 4x4s in the city.”

Ghosn’s argument is that as long as buyers make choices both rationally and emotionally, the number of cars sold will not decrease with the popularity of ride-sharing.

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“There is an emotional side, the extreme views you are going to buy the car for that one per cent of the time you’re going to use [its true capabilities].

“It’s a mid-way between buying a refrigerator and a dog. If you buy a dog, you don’t say ‘okay it’s a small dog and it doesn’t consume a lot…’ – it’s completely irrational. There’s part of the consideration for a car that is irrational, there is an attachment to the car.”

Ghosn says that as connected cars become more and more personalised, the emotional attachment level will only increase, making a case for private car ownership even stronger.

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