Quick -- what sounds Teutonic and is hurting the car business more than anything else? No, not Volkswagen.
It's Uber, according to a new survey from Frank N. Magid Associates. The market research firm estimates from the study's findings that three to four million consumers are putting off buying a new car because of Uber.
"That's a lot of cars in an industry that sells 15 to 20 (million) a year," said Magid Advisors President Mike Vorhaus.
Magid's survey found that U.S. Uber users have risen in number from 5% last year to 18% this year. Among those current users, 22% said they were holding off on a car purchase thanks to the service. After all, you don't need to buy a new car if you can whip out your smartphone and summon a car and driver whenever you need one.
Vorhaus compared Uber to a "Mack Truck just rolling down the street gaining speed," and said its growing popularity is bound to have an influence on car sales.
“Even if only a modest number of consumers begin to prioritize car ‘sharing’ over ownership the car industry is in trouble,” said Andrew Hare, director of digital research and strategy at Magid. “It’s rare that a brand transforms the way we live in such a short amount of time but that's exactly what Uber has done.”
About the only good thing car dealers can say about Uber is that their drivers need cars, which could help counterbalance the effect of others foregoing their purchases. One Texas-based Toyota dealership even offers buyers who are Uber drivers a discount on a new vehicle, according to the Magid researchers.