The feeling of security influences the choice of means of transport.
This should be good news for the ailing car industry, but not for environmentalists.
One cannot say that the Germans have so far turned their backs on the car. Every year the number of private cars in Germany increases. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, there are currently around 43 million. The number even exceeds that of households.
But almost a third of the car owners are older than 60 years, the average new car buyer about 50 years old. For a long time, the auto industry had to fear that the younger generation would turn away from the car. In addition to cost and environmental protection reasons, one of the main reasons is that young people live in cities more often and are not dependent on a car because of the local transport options.
In the Corona crisis, many people suddenly miss a car – especially young townspeople
At least so far. Because various studies indicate that many people in the corona pandemic suddenly see the advantages of having their own car. The Institute for Transport Research at the German Aerospace Center asked 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 82 about their mobility behavior in the Corona crisis.
The result is clear: Almost all of those surveyed said they felt more comfortable in the car or just as comfortable as before the crisis. That is not the case with any other means of transport, the institute says. One in three respondents without access to a car in their household said they missed a car as a means of transport. Six percent in this group of respondents are now considering buying a car. In Germany that is just over 20 percent of households.
It is becoming apparent that people are reluctant to use public transport due to fear of infection. Bicycles and cars, on the other hand, should be among the winners of the crisis. “In the context of the Corona crisis, one can certainly speak of a ‘revival’ of the private car. The feeling of personal security currently seems to have a strong influence on the choice of means of transport, ”says Institute Director Barbara Lenz. “Surprisingly, especially many young city dwellers miss their own vehicles in this situation. It will not only be exciting for us researchers to see whether these developments will continue after Corona. ”
For the auto industry, sales in the corona crisis plummeted by up to 95 percent
Other observers come to similar results. “In the future, many customers will not only choose their means of transport based on price and comfort, but also on the perceived risk of infection,” explains the management consultant McKinsey in an analysis of the changed mobility behavior by Covid-19. “That means: people with private cars will use them more; Bicycling and running will also benefit in the short term at the expense of local public transport – an effect that can be observed in China. ”Volkswagen also reported in April that younger Chinese had increased interest in a new car.
This should be good news for the automotive industry, because the corona crisis caused the car manufacturers’ sales to plummet. “In April alone, around 60 percent fewer cars were sold in Germany than in the previous year. In Italy, Spain, France and Great Britain, the decline was as much as 95 percent, ”reports the management consultancy McKinsey.
E-car sales remain “surprisingly stable” in Corona crisis
Environmentalists, on the other hand, should view the development critically. For a change in traffic, as many people as possible should forego a car in the future. Instead, the opposite seems to be emerging.
After all, there is also another trend towards more electromobility. “Sales of electric cars were surprisingly stable in China and Europe in March and April,” says Kersten Heineke, partner in McKinsey’s Frankfurt office. China has even extended funding for electric vehicles in response to Corona.