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Car-sharing impact will be limited, despite a jump in shared mobility start-ups, BCG says

As automakers make forays into the car-share business with their own start-ups, a new study says the car-share industry will have a limited impact on vehicle sales in any case.

The study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts that car-sharing will cost the industry just 550,000 vehicle sales worldwide in 2021, a year in which global auto sales are expected to approach 100 million vehicles. Those lost sales could total $8.2 billion, according to the study.

Lyft
Source: Lyft

"The attention and buzz surrounding car-sharing and shared mobility is disproportionate to the impact it will have on vehicle sales," Brian Collie a partner and managing director with BCG, says.

The study comes as General Motors prepares to launch Maven, the automaker's new car-share subsidiary. Maven will start in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it will offering members the chance to rent a GM vehicle for a few hours or a few days.

Maven joins more than 20 other U.S. car-share programs; the most well known is Zipcar, which says it has more than 950,000 members in the U.S. and Europe.

Collie believes automakers such as GM and Ford are doing the right thing by starting car-share pilot programs because shared mobility is a growing trend, particularly in urban areas. BCG says more than 1.5 million people currently share vehicles in North America. But despite the growth in car-sharing, Collie believes car ownership will remain popular in the United States.

"In North America, the economics for owning a vehicle still works for most people," Collie says. "We have an affinity for having our own car or truck. Younger people may not care quite as much, but it still matters to them too."

This study predicts the largest growth in car-sharing will be in Asia, where large urban areas and congestion will drive greater demand for shared mobility

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.