Those words may sound ominous for the auto industry, which long has marketed personal car ownership as a status symbol and the ultimate expression of independence.
But instead, the rise of alternatives such as rental service Zipcar, as well as ride-summoning services including Uber and Lyft, is prompting automakers to embrace the idea that their mission is more about moving people than selling cars. Far from challenging the trend, they're rushing to capitalize on it.
"We recognize that the needs of personal mobility will evolve over time," Jay Joseph, assistant vice president in the product regulatory office for American Honda Motor Co., told Automotive News at last week's Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress here. "It's possible in the future, people won't need to own their vehicles. So we're not just an automaker, we're a mobility company."
For automakers, the implications of this transition could be far-reaching, beginning with understanding who their customers are. Morgan Stanley auto industry analyst Adam Jonas said ride-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Halo are encroaching on the turf of the auto industry's biggest customer, the U.S. rental car business.
"We believe they could end up becoming the largest fleet managers and car purchasers in the world," Jonas said in an audio summary of a research report this month.
Moreover, Jonas added, "every single major OEM we cover is investing big money in their own captive car-rental operations using the latest high tech," along the lines of Zipcar.
At the heart of Zipcar and Uber's success -- and the challenge for automakers to answer -- is a desire for flexibility.
On one side are those who seek independence through their cars, such as Tom Seymour, who drives his late-model Chevrolet Impala around the Detroit area as an Uber driver.
"It's flexible, and I'm very social, so this gives me a social outlet," said Seymour, 66, who lives in a northern Detroit suburb. "I'm retired, so it's something to do."
It's also a lucrative way to monetize the extra seats in his car, generating up to $1,000 a week in gross income, or $600 after Uber takes its share, for drivers who work 40 hours a week doing longer hauls, Seymour said.
On the other side are those seeking independence from their cars.
"It's ridiculous to have to drive a car for everything," said Maria Urquidi, 62, who retired to Detroit after living in New Paltz, N.Y., a small town in the state's Hudson Valley. "It's expensive, it's bad for the environment, it's bad for my health and it's bad for my sense of community. There was no redeeming value driving my car everywhere."
With Detroit's poor public transportation system and brutal winter weather, Urquidi is reluctantly keeping her Honda Fit for now. But she uses it sparingly, preferring to bike or walk.
"If my car weren't paid off, I would give it up and use Zipcar because that would meet my needs," Urquidi said. "Neither of my kids, who are in their mid-20s, have cars. They commute on bicycles." Her children live in Baltimore and Boston, where they also have access to public transportation and Zipcar locations.