Kia launches carsharing operation

Kia launches carsharing operation

Kia Motors, the world’s eighth-largest car manufacturer, launches its carsharing service WiBLE in Seoul today. South Korea’s capital already counts more than 9,000 users

Photo: car2go

Photo: car2go

Kia Motors, the world’s eighth-largest car manufacturer, launches its carsharing service WiBLE in Seoul today. South Korea’s capital already counts more than 9,000 users of carsharing services and several operators, many of whom already use Kia’s vehicles.

Carsharing operations, which allow customers to rent cars for short periods of time, have grown from less than half a million users in 2006 to more than 6 million in 2016. As car ownership is becoming less convenient and more expensive in big cities, the trend is expected to continue: according to analysts the market could grow to $6.2 billion and double its users to 12 million by 2020.

To get a slice of the growing pie, several big car manufacturers, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, General Motors and Ford—as well as IT giants like Google and Apple—have launched their own carsharing operations in recent years.

Despite the size of the market and the companies’ differing business models, competition is fierce and smaller companies are being pushed out. As Kia plans to expand its operations in Korea and abroad, its big rival Hyundai is already on its heels.