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Uber Users Are Waiting to Buy Cars Because of Uber

The auto industry is Uber's next nemesis.

Harsh Marnad/Shutterstock

Some Uber passengers said they’re waiting to buy a car because of the ride-hailing app, according to a new survey out from consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates.

Of the 2,000 Uber users surveyed, 22 percent said they were holding off on a car purchase thanks to the service. Magid’s director of research, Andrew Hare, told Re/code the firm funded the study.

Uber is an app that allows you to request a ride from black-car services or independent drivers. For years, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has said the company’s real competitor isn’t taxis or Lyft — it’s the auto industry. He wants ride-hailing to replace car ownership.

A few caveats to the data: Magid didn’t survey non-Uber users to find out what percentage are waiting to buy a car, so we don’t have a benchmark to compare the data points. However, since Uber users were specifically asked if they’re holding off buying a car because of Uber, the results are still significant. Magid also didn’t ask Uber users whether they plan on forgoing car ownership altogether.

Although Uber has been trumpeted as a big tech winner with its $51 billion valuation, leaked financial documents show it’s far from profitable. Taking a chunk of the auto industry’s business will help it mature into its valuation. To keep the cost of rides low and drivers’ paychecks high, the company needs as many people as possible using its service.

The results from the Magid survey fit larger trends in addition to the question of automobile ownership. Millennials are less likely to have their driver’s license or buy a car, telling researchers that they’re not able to afford them.

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