New research has found a huge number of people are being put off using public transport during the coronavirus pandemic, and are now considering buying a car in the next 12 months

A large study of 11,000 consumers by consultancy firm Capgemini found that 87 per cent saw a private vehicle as a way of safeguarding themselves and their families from Covid-19, with many who would usually rely on public transport as a way of getting around now looking at shifting to personal mobility.

A huge 46 per cent of consumers (from across 11 countries) also said they planned to buy a car in the next 12 months – up from 35 per cent when the firm asked the same question in April 2020.

Capgemini also saw many being put off carpooling and car sharing services – two things that were rising in popularity before the coronavirus pandemic. Last April, 42 per cent said they would avoid such facilities, but this has since increased to 81 per cent.

Though many are looking at buying a used car – particularly the 18-35 age group – many have downgraded their aspirations due to the financial impact of the ongoing crisis. The data showed that many value utility and functionality above all else. That said, 21 per cent said they would be willing to pay more for ‘premium features’, such as additional space and technology.

Markus Winkler, executive vice-president for global automotive at Capgemini, said: “The pandemic has increased consumer expectations around hygiene and wellness-related mobility features, along with the digitisation of the vehicle sales and aftersales process. The automotive industry has to adapt to these emerging needs.

“Automakers will need to develop engaging in-car experiences like in-vehicle connectivity and driver assistance features and think of new ways to incentivise and stimulate purchase demand. By tapping into emerging micro markets with targeted offers, automotive brands will be able to reach whole new customer segments — much needed in their recovery.”

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