Car-Sharing Customers Rent Cars to Sleep, Eat and Store Stuff In, Not Drive

In a very short time, car-sharing has become a global phenomenon. Having the possibility to get into a car and drive off from virtually anywhere to whatever destination has greatly simplified city life, and created dozens of booming business in the process. But now a new trend seems to be emerging.
Rental cars used for everything but driving in Japan 1 photo
Photo: The Japan Times
Car-sharing companies charge their customers either by the minute or by mile driven. This system is a bargain for customers and a hell of a business for operators. Yet the new trend we mentioned earlier could affect any of the two business models.

In Japan, a number of car-sharing companies noticed a worrying fact last year: a growing number of customers rent the cars, but don’t actually drive anywhere.

To get to the bottom of it, some of them decided to ask their customers what’s going on. The answers were unexpected, to say the least.

According to Japanese publication Asahi, citing the reviews conducted by car-sharing companies like Times24, some people rent cars to take a nap, others to store their personal belongings, to recharge cell phones and even to have a decent, quiet place to eat.

And there are probably a few more activities that take place in rental cars that were not made public.

According to the source, the average price to pay for 30 minutes of use is around 400 yen (around $4).

Obviously, companies are not happy with this twist, and are urging their customers to use the cars for the purpose they were built for.

“Motorists should shut off their engines when they're not driving, and we do not recommend our customers rent vehicles for purposes other than traveling,” said according to the source a representative of Orix Auto Corp, another of Japan’s car sharing providers. “We believe it's best for our cars to be used for driving.”
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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