Those on a lower income must continue to have the chance of individual mobility with environmentally friendly drive systems. Up to now, however, e-cars in particular have been expensive and the used car market for electric and hybrid vehicles is only growing slowly.

Every year, the financing specialist Consors Finanz publishes the Automobilbarometer International. For the current consumer study, Harris Interactive surveyed over 10,000 people in 15 countries in September 2020. These include European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the UK, in addition to the USA, Brazil, China, Japan and South Africa.

There are many similarities. For instance, an increasing number of countries around the world are planning to cut back on or ban vehicles with diesel and petrol engines in order to curb climate change. For people with low and moderate incomes, this increasingly leads to a dilemma. Many of them need a car owing to their living conditions or the local infrastructure. However, they often find it difficult to afford a new, more environment-friendly vehicle.

This situation has been further exacerbated by the Corona pandemic, as the study authors observed. According to the Automobilbarometer International by Consors Finanz, 35 per cent of consumers worldwide want to spend less money on their planned car purchase because of the crisis. In Germany, this applies to 28 per cent of the respondents. Among the low-income group, the figure is just under 40 per cent worldwide, and in Germany, with 48 per cent, almost half.

Among middle-income households, 36 per cent worldwide want to save money on their next car purchase and 27 per cent in Germany.

The choice of drive system depends on income
A striking aspect is that the choice of drive system also seems to depend on the consumers’ incomes. Despite government subsidies, electric cars remain unaffordable for some of the lower-income respondents. The reason why: there are not only costs for purchasing the car. In many cases, a charging station on the doorstep also has to be financed.

In addition to such considerations, there are also the obstacles identified in other studies that still prevent many people from buying an electric car. These include the lack of range, an underdeveloped charging network, high charging costs and doubts about the actual benefits of an e-vehicle for climate protection.

Worldwide, 30 per cent of the respondents with lower incomes plan to continue to choose a petrol-engined car instead of an electric or hybrid car for their next car purchase. For 19 per cent, the choice falls on a diesel. In Germany, there is somewhat greater willingness to opt for e-mobility. Here, for 33 per cent of the low-income respondents, buying an electric or hybrid car is an alternative. 24 percent are still undecided about which drive system to choose.

For moderate-income households, the purchase of an electric or hybrid car is more of an option, according to the assessment by Consors Finanz. Already 24 per cent of this group worldwide intend to buy a hybrid and one in six a straight electric car. In contrast, 31 per cent want to stay with a petrol-engined car. In Germany however, almost half of the respondents with a moderate income would still opt for a petrol-engined car. Only 18 per cent would choose a hybrid drive and 14 per cent an electric car.

Used electric cars as an opportunity
In times that are difficult to calculate economically, a used car is a solution for 38 percent of the low-income respondents worldwide. Among moderate-income respondents, the figure is still 28 per cent (Germany: 21 per cent/22 per cent).

The used car market is therefore developing into an opportunity for e-mobility. Other analyses also show a rapid decline in the value of new e-vehicles. Thus, the used car market has developed in a relatively stable manner. At the same time, according to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in ownership registrations rose to 2.10 per cent in 2020 and further to 2.57 per cent in February 2021, while it was only 1.2 per cent in 2019.

For Bernd Brauer, Head of Automotive Financial Services at Consors Finanz, it is therefore important that a change in climate and traffic policy be designed in a socially acceptable manner. Financial support from the state can promote this. The fact that purchase premiums can be an effective means is shown not least by the high number of new registrations of electric cars and plug-in hybrids in Germany in 2020.

Copyright/Source: © Automobilbarometer 2021 – International / Consors Finanz