Wednesday, 29 September 2021 18:04

COVID Swings Pendulum Back to Traditional Vehicle Ownership for Now: Cox Automotive


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Vehicle ownership (buy/lease) is more important than ever, according to the Cox Automotive 2021 Evolution of Mobility Study.

This is a dramatic shift from Cox Automotive's research in 2018, which signaled that consumer acceptance of alternative shared mobility solutions would begin to supplement traditional vehicle ownership if costs and accessibility of ride-hailing, car-sharing and subscription services were comparable.


While ownership will continue to reign for now, consumers still plan to use different transportation methods as their secondary mode of getting from Point A to Point B. Moreover, a post-pandemic bounce-back is expected according to the study, with consumers surveyed still eager to embrace alternative ownership in the future.


"The automotive industry is led by consumer transportation decision-making that is ever-changing," said Ally Casey, senior manager of research and market intelligence, Cox Automotive Mobility. "In the current pandemic world, it's no surprise that cost, safety and convenience are the key themes that surfaced in our latest Evolution of Mobility Study readout. Nevertheless, regardless of current driving habits and preferences, the future is bright for emerging mobility technology."


With COVID-19 at the forefront of everyone's minds, 46% of consumers surveyed changed their transportation habits during the pandemic, halting their use of public transportation and ride-hailing services and preferring to drive their own vehicle---78% in 2021 versus 67% in 2018.


Even with average new-vehicle transaction prices hitting monthly records with Kelley Blue Book reporting August at $43,355, the perception that vehicle ownership is affordable increased to 60% in 2021, which represents a 3-percentage point increase over 2018. This also is likely the result of the average cost of a ride-hail climbing 49.5% over the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2019.


Despite more than one-third (38%) of consumers being open to transportation alternatives, traditional vehicle ownership is still viewed as the most convenient (78%), practical (78%) and flexible (58%) option for day-to-day personal transportation needs when compared to ride-hailing, car-sharing and subscription services.


In fact, a growing percentage (35%) of Americans plan to increase the number of vehicles they own in the next five years---from 1.2 vehicles to 1.7 vehicles per household. This increase is highest among...

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