Buying used is not a real option

Car purchases worldwide

More interest in e-cars

Buying used is not a real option

Study by Berylls: Corona is changing purchasing behavior worldwide. Americans postpone purchases, Chinese are optimistic about the future

A study by Berylls Strategy Consulting examines car-buying behavior in the U.S., China and Germany. While the U.S. Is predominantly worried about their jobs and there is also some uncertainty in Germany, the Chinese are very optimistic and state that the government and industry are coping with the situation. This removes a major hurdle that continues to inhibit car buying in other markets. Chinese registration figures for the past two months therefore already paint a positive picture, even if by no means all brands have yet reached their pre-Corona levels.

One of the reasons is that about half of Chinese customers (54%) postpone a new purchase for six months or more. In the USA, 58% are postponing a new purchase. In Germany, even 62% postpone the purchase for more than half a year. Not only the postponed purchases have a negative impact. Many study participants also say they are cutting their purchasing budgets. 40% of customers want to spend less than originally planned. The impact varies significantly from market to market. Many German customers intend to switch to a less expensive brand. 43% of premium drivers are thinking of buying from a cheaper manufacturer, 35% of volume buyers want to buy from a lower-priced brand, and 29% of volume buyers want to make additional savings on features and engine size. Among premium customers, only 18% are likely to cut back and order fewer extras.

Chinese are tending toward a smaller car (50% for volume customers, 38% for premium customers), alternatively they are reaching for a less expensive brand. Buying used is not a real option. Only 7% of volume and premium drivers are considering switching to the second-hand market. Dr. Jan Burgard, Managing Partner at Berylls Strategy Advisors: "In principle, the Chinese still want to move up the car ladder, and a premium model remains the goal for almost two-thirds of all survey participants. The luxury class will also continue to gain momentum in China, as our analysis shows. As many as 11% of respondents say they plan to order a luxury model with their next purchase. In contrast, the small-. Compact car segment clearly in decline. This trend is especially problematic for volume manufacturers."

The study sees the strongest changes in the US market. Because Americans are increasingly focusing on used cars. 32% of premium drivers are thinking of buying a used car (volume drivers: 28%). 30% volume customers are more likely to buy from a less expensive brand (premium 28%). 32% of premium customers, on the other hand, are thinking about downsizing. Want to purchase a smaller premium model. In contrast, only 29% of volume customers intend to drop down in vehicle class.

Some brands are losing favor with buyers as a result of the crisis, while interest in others is increasing noticeably. In general, premium suppliers are in a more comfortable position, their products continue to be very popular. Whereas the US market is bucking this trend: Acura, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo are disappearing from the shopping lists of many survey participants there. In Germany and China, on the other hand, BMW and Mercedes can make gains. Nevertheless, Tesla in particular is the crisis winner. The e-car models of the Californian supplier are at the top of the buyers' list for many participants in all three markets, with a large gap to the other brands, although they are also starting from a much lower level than the classic premium suppliers. On the other hand, things are going particularly badly for volume manufacturers, who are having to accept a sharp drop in purchase intentions.

The survey does not indicate a long-term Corona influence on e-mobility. Indirectly, however, the pandemic does have an effect, because the current subsidy programs and discounts for the purchase of e-cars are boosting their sales figures. Remarkable are the statements of Chinese and American survey participants, who turn to e-mobiles primarily for ecological reasons, while the majority of German customers primarily consider the monetary aspect (subsidy programs, rebates) when choosing an electrically powered new car. In Germany and the USA, however, willingness to buy remains at a rather weak level anyway. Because in addition to the acquisition costs speak low fuel prices. Inadequately developed charging infrastructure networks against the purchase. Some Chinese customers still have technical reservations that prevent them from buying an e-car.

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