(Bloomberg) – Cars are experiencing a time that seemed almost as unlikely as the stunts that are performed in the “Fast and Furious” movies that celebrate them.
Just a few years ago, obituaries were written for the car under the argument: Millennials and members of Gen Z, will eventually lose interest in becoming car owners, as more of them move to cities with myriad car options. public transportation and transportation services like Uber. Also, concern about the negative impact of cars on the environment will deter young people from purchasing one.
Then the pandemic arrived. Now, as the world recovers, used car prices are skyrocketing. Waiting times for driving tests are running out. And online applications for a driver’s license are increasing, while inquiries about public transportation routes are decreasing. An EY survey of 3,300 consumers in nine countries found that 32% of non-car owners said they intended to buy a car in the next six months. About half of those potential buyers were millennials.
It turns out that the appeal of cars, despite having some ups and downs over the years, is just as resilient as the “Fast and Furious” saga, whose latest movie debuted in theaters a few days after previous installments. raised billions of dollars in the last two decades.
Georgios Basdanis, a 32-year-old doctor from London, is one of those who has already taken the step. He bought a second-hand Mini with 16,000 kilometers for 11,250 pounds and financed for two years.
“If it weren’t for the pandemic, I wouldn’t have thought of buying a car,” Basdanis said. “I would have found it unnecessary.”
Basdanis lives in an apartment complex that, prior to the pandemic, had a car ban policy, meaning that expensive and almost always scarce street space was the main option for parking. Also, in congested London, many trips would have been much faster by tube.
But these calculations changed with the covid, when taking public transport to work at the hospital at the height of the outbreak in the UK was an anxiety-provoking experience. So driving just seemed much safer to him.
He would have loved to buy an electric car, but says that option was too expensive, not only because of the purchase price, but also because of the insurance costs. Unlike China, where you can buy a new entry-level electric vehicle for around $ 4,500, in the West electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than their gas-guzzling counterparts, making it difficult to turn green aspirations into a real purchase.
Now that he is fully vaccinated and seeing the traffic increase, Basdanis says he is likely to return to the metro for his daily commutes soon. However, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get rid of the car.
“It certainly comes in handy for when I’m working late or just going to the gym on a weekend,” Basdanis said. “Also to go on a trip. I can just get in the car and go out of town for a day. “
That feeling of comfort and freedom is the stuff of thousands of TV commercials, as well as legions of pop songs.
But it is also a direct challenge to pre-pandemic public policies. For decades, authorities around the world have been pushing for people to get out of their cars and onto public transport, both to adapt to the growing population of cities and to reduce air pollution, which remains a problem. important health even in developed countries.
“There will be a strong push from cities trying to limit and reduce the number of cars,” said Eric Zayer, partner in Bain & Co’s automotive and mobility practice in Munich. “They have made large investments in public transport and they will have to be amortized. Cities will not give up their mass transit systems so easily. “
Original Note: Millennials Suddenly Discover Convenience of Cars During Covid (1)
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