Chapter 18: Mobility car sharing: an evolving co-operative structure
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Co-operatives have a statistically low macroeconomic relevance; nevertheless they occasionally are big players in specific sectors and countries. In Switzerland, the two largest retail co-operatives, Migros and Coop, are responsible for 8% of GDP. In comparison to its neighbouring countries, the co-operative is a very popular legal form in Switzerland with more than 10,000 organisations. The number of co-operatives in the more heavily populated Germany seems to be very low, only 8,106 (Table 18.1); although it should not be ignored that 20 million Germans are members of these co-operatives, which provide jobs for 440,000 people (ICA, 2011). In Switzerland, co-operatives can mainly be found in the financial, retail, social housing and agriculture sectors (Gmür and Lichtsteiner, 2009). But several other successful co-operatives also exist in niche markets. One of these is the Mobility Car Sharing co-operative. The principle of car sharing is very simple: instead of owning a car the individual has access to a fleet of vehicles on an as-needed basis. Therefore s/he gains the benefits of a "private" car without the responsibilities and full cost of ownership (Shaheen et al., 1999). Today the concept of car sharing is widespread, but mostly still limited to certain local areas, with a focus on bigger cities. Switzerland is an exception and can actually be called the motherland of car sharing for two reasons.

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