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Car clubs: shared car ownership

| Car club & car share, Help | October 24, 2012

The terminology of car shared ownership can be confusing. Two common umbrella terms are car shared ownership and car fractional ownership: which simply mean any situation where there is more than one owner or user of one or more car(s).

Another common term, car club, is generally used to describe a managed stable of cars: people pay a membership fee to join the club and usage fees whenever they use the cars.

However car club also means owner enthusiasts’ clubs such as the BMW Car Club or the Morris Minor Car Club.

Yet another common term is car share, but in the UK this is usually synonymous with lift sharing. Lift sharing enables people to get a lift with people making the same journey. Many of the largest lift sharing schemes are run by major employers, who encourage their employees to travel to work together. Liftshare will arrange lift sharing schemes for employers and also puts drivers in touch with other local people who want to make the same journey.

Finally there is a new kid on the block, peer-to-peer car sharing, where private individuals rent out their cars to other private individuals via a central website. In the USA, the main player is RelayRides and in the UK it is WhipCar.

Car clubs can be either managed or informal, and for everyday cars or specialist cars, which leads to the four main types of car club.

  • Informal Car Clubs – Everyday Cars
  • Managed Car Clubs – Everyday Cars
  • Informal Car Clubs – Specialist Cars
  • Managed Car Clubs – Specialist Cars

Informal Car Clubs – Everyday Cars

  • Type of car: everything from a £1000 run around car to a convertible or 4×4
  • Locations: anywhere, particularly areas of low population density which are not economic for a managed car club, such as rural area, village, towns and smaller cities
  • Ownership: An informal car club is a small group (2-8) of people actually co-own one or more cars. A trust deed between the owners sets out the ownership title. Template contracts are available. If a group of people get together and then want to have their car club professionally managed, then Commonwheels can help with this.
  • Examples: The baked bean club, yours2share.

Managed Car Clubs – Everyday Cars

  • Type of car: usually small hatchbacks, sometimes larger family cars
  • Locations: areas of high population density, major city centres
  • Ownership: you are buying the right to use a car (one of many owned by the club)
  • Examples: City Car Club, Commonwheels, Zipcar.

Carplus is a charity which supports the development of car clubs and, together with Transport for London, it runs Carclubs.org.uk, bringing together the major managed everyday car clubs in one place.

If you live in an area covered by one of these car clubs, and they provide the kind of car you are looking for, then this is likely to be the best option for you.


Informal Car Clubs – Specialist Cars

  • Type of car: Sports car, super car, classic car, luxury car, track day car
  • Locations: anywhere
  • Ownership: An informal car club is a small group (2-8) of people actually co-own one or more cars. A trust deed between the owners sets out the ownership title. Template contracts are available. If a group of people get together and then want to have their car club professionally managed, then Commonwheels can help with this.
  • Examples: owners are all members of the same car enthusiasts’ club or yours2share.

Managed Car Clubs – Specialist Cars

  • Type of car: Sports car, super car, classic car, luxury car, track day car
  • Locations: high population density, major city centres
  • Ownership: you are buying the right to use a car (one of many owned by the club)
  • Examples: Classic car club (stable includes a wide range of classic and modern cars) and Ecurie, plus many smaller operators.

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