When you think of the motivators, the genuine factors that contribute to your choice of a new vehicle, what comes to mind? Price? Amenities? Safety? Power and Utility Ratings? Versatility? Cargo? Of course, these are all normal considerations for most prospective car buyers, but the bolstering of Millennial sensibilities merged with the entrance of Generation Z into the car-buying market are evolving consumer motivations – especially in metropolitan areas. So, with that in mind, let’s look at one of these generational factors, and how it’s influencing buyers seeking dealerships in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and other major cities.
The Uber Factor
There’s no escape when it comes to acknowledging the ever-growing prevalence of ride-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and the likes. Boston alone boasts over 100,000 ride shares per day. And across San Francisco, you can find well over 50,000 ride-share drivers. Now, put that in perspective by taking a look at look at the average monthly spend of an active user. In Boston, a user might spend up to $95 on average while the average San Francisco user is likely to cross over the $100 mark every month. In fact, the Bay Area boasted $1.07 Billion last year (in Uber rides alone). It’s really no wonder that ride-sharing has become such a popular means of acquiring supplemental income. So, how does this relate to vehicle selection?
Uber breaks down their services based around vehicle style, for example:
- UberX seats 4 passengers. Uber X cars are typically regular sedans like the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord.
- UberXL seats 6 passengers. UberXL cars are SUVs and minivans. XL costs more than UberX
- UberSelect is Uber’s entry-level luxury service that seats up to 4 passengers. Select cars are typically BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc.
- UberPOOL is a shared ride with another Uber user heading in a similar direction as you. Read more about POOL.
- Express POOL is like POOL, but you’re required to walk to a nearby pickup spot
- UberBLACK and UberSUV are Uber’s luxury service. Commercially registered and insured livery vehicles, typically a black SUV or luxury sedan. BLACK is the most expensive Uber service
This allows drivers to influence their own financial destiny, but purchasing a vehicle that is aligned with the service they wish to offer, and the clientele that they wish to focus on. And while some might aim to carve a niche clientele out of a less-saturated class, the truth is that the majority of Uber partners opt for UberX or UberXL – benefiting from the sheer volume of users.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular vehicles utilized by Uber partners, moving into 2019. As with any vehicle purchase, one should consider factors such as fuel economy, warranty options and all the other motivators that a private user would. But filtering such considerations through the perspective of ride-share revenue, here we go, starting with UberX…
Accessibly-priced, economical in terms of fuel consumption, and indicative of evolving sensibilities, the Prius stands as one of the gold standards for Uber drivers. With an average in-city rating of 54 mpg, it speaks to maximizing one’s profit; and combined with up-to-date styling, comfortable seating and sufficient cargo space, it might be one of the most logical choices out there.
The first of two sequential offerings to feature a newly refreshed styling, the Honda Civic has reigned as a mainstay of Uber drivers thanks to its practicality, reliability and (once again) overall affordability. Promising a stronger ROI, the popular compact accommodates up to five passengers and ranks as high as 32mpg (depending on configuration).
As with the Civic, the Camry has proven to be an enduring favorite among Uber drivers. Ranked as the best-selling midsize sedan in America, the Camry has enjoyed a recent restyling – which only served to reinforce its appeal. Factor in the availability of a hybrid variant (capable of up to 42mpg) and Toyota’s renowned Safety Suite features, and the affordable five-seat sedan has earned its spot on most everyone’s shortlist.
Similar in its appeal to the Camry is the Ford Fusion, a comfortable sedan with the option of a hybrid variant. While recent model years are positioned at a higher price point than the Camry, the Fusion has counted itself among one of the most recognizable faces in metropolitan Uber culture. And remember: the option of upgrading the interior and amenities only serves to improve your rating.
Jumping back to the more conservative options in terms of price point, the Mazda6 is one of the best-designed midsize sedans in today’s market. Impeccably styled and highly-regarded in terms of handling, the Mazda6 offers an eye-catching sport aesthetic with a comfortable interior, all without breaking the bank. Bridging the gap between the more diminutive Mazda3 and the CX series SUV, there’s really no surprise that the Mazda6 ranks as the automakers prime Uber offering.
And harkening back to the likes of the Camry and Fusion, the Sonata stands as another comfortable, well-equipped offering that comes with the benefit of traditional or hybrid powertrains. But (more like the Camry) the Sonata endures thanks to its affordability, while echoing a classic skyline (not entirely dissimilar from the Fusion).
But what if you’re interested in testing the waters of UberXL and above? Why not consider:
The Rogue ranks as one of the best-selling crossovers in America and, by default, has grown equally as popular among Uber partners. Offering the spacious accommodations and cargo space one would expect of an SUV offering, the Rogue’s popularity is bolstered by its affordability (starting around $24,000) and its competitive fuel economy, offering up to 32mpg.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Stepping up the ladder of cost and accommodation brings us to the Toyota Highlander which first established itself as a mainstay among upsized taxi options in metropolitan areas. With a tried and true reputation the three-row Highlander made for an easy translation to private sector transportation and ranks as an enduring choice that splits the difference between economically-minded and luxury-inspired offerings. Plus, its 30mpg potential is nothing to shake a stick at.
The doors of UberSelect and UberBLACK are opened up with the acquisition of a more elegant compact sedan or crossover. While the CT6, starting above the $50,000 mark, might be outside of many people’s target range it represents the aspirational nature of the opportunity afforded by Uber. Plus, it’s still more affordable than the likes of the BMW 7-Series, making it more accessible to those looking to cater to a next-tier clientele.
At this point, we’re reaching the upper-tier services offered by Uber for their professional and business-minded clientele. It might come in more colors than black, but it really doesn’t matter since the somber refinement of this full-sized beast contributes to its sleek appeal.
Are you an Uber driver?
If you are, what vehicle do you enjoy or aspire to obtain in order to maximize your revenue? We (along with countless readers who are considering becoming an Uber partner) would love to know.