Changing Patterns of European Car Ownership

Changing Patterns of European Car Ownership

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  • Pages: 41
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Executive Summary

Economic pressures have shaped the European car market for the past six years: motorists are deferring replacement of their vehicles and purchasing habits are changing across the continent, with the turnover of new vehicles becoming more frequent. This report draws on Verdict's unique aftermarket and survey data to explore the factors shaping consumer trends in the European vehicle market.


During and immediately after the European financial crisis, sales of new cars fell significantly. Now, although new car sales are beginning to recover, with the UK recording 28 consecutive months of growth and Europe registering nine, it remains the older, and typically more wealthy population that is fuelling the rise in sales.

The average frequency of vehicle replacement varies between the different countries covered by Verdict's Motorist Survey, but also varies between new and used vehicle purchasing habits. In the majority of markets, used vehicles are replaced less frequently than new vehicles, reflecting the way in which they are purchased.

Although superminis and small cars dominate the European vehicle parc, there are considerable differences in purchasing habits when it comes to new and used vehicles. Data from Verdict's Motorist Survey, with over 9,000 respondents across nine European markets, show that Spanish and Italian motorists show a clear preference for new vehicles.

Reasons To Buy

Understand how consumer trends influence how motorists buy their vehicles.

Target which markets are most and least likely to purchase new or second hand vehicles.

See how motorists are moving away from ownership of a car to use of a car - and understand the impact that this will have on the future market.

Your key questions answered

How are changing attitudes to ownership shaping the future of the car market?

Which countries demonstrate a preference for purchasing new vehicles and what opportunities does this present for retailers?

What opportunities exist for manufacturers to maximise their potential share of a changed car market?

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Ken Research
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications


1 Overview

2 Outlook

2.1 Rising new car sales

2.2 Flexible finance products support new and used vehicle sales

2.3 Enhanced financial solutions key

2.4 Whole life ownership of product

2.5 Conclusions

3 Summary

3.1 Short term

3.2 Longer term

4 Attractive Vehicle Finance Shapes the Market

4.1 Growing new vehicle sales across Europe

4.2 Healthy demand for new cars, but customer purchasing habits are evolving

4.3 Demand for motor finance remains strong

4.4 Key players in the finance and leasing market

4.5 Geographical variations influence how people buy cars

4.6 Traditional models of vehicle purchase are now being supplanted

4.7 Benefits of different car purchasing plans

5 Profile of Vehicle Ownership

5.1 Super-minis and small family cars dominate in densely populated Western markets

5.2 SUVs and estate cars are more common in Scandinavian markets

5.3 Motorists much more likely to purchase new vehicles in Spain and Italy

5.4 A strong new car market supports a vibrant used car market

5.5 Turnover of new vehicles becoming more frequent

5.6 Age and salary profiles

5.6.1 Average household income

6 Changing Patterns of Ownership

6.1 Opportunities and Challenges

6.2 New car use patterns require manufacturers to identify and exploit new revenue streams

6.2.1 Cheap finance supports new car sales now, but may falter over the longer term

6.2.2 Local demand poses local challenges

6.2.3 Market saturation remains a challenge

6.2.4 Car-sharing

6.2.5 Enhanced financial packages required

6.2.6 Multi-mode travel solutions will become more prominent

6.2.7 Whole life ownership of product

6.2.8 Providing additional and alternative services

7 Conclusions and Recommendations

7.1 Short-term recommendations

7.1.1 Respond to localised ownership patterns

7.1.2 Enhanced financial packages required

7.1.3 Whole life ownership of the vehicle is an opportunity for manufacturers

7.1.4 Capitalising on the shift from ownership to use

7.1.5 Respond to the changing attitudes of young people

7.1.6 Invest in building relationships with customers

8 Appendix

8.1 About Verdict Retail

8.2 Disclaimer

Figure 1: Models of vehicle purchase

Figure 2: Most popular vehicles in the European vehicle parc by category (%), 2013

Figure 3: Percentage of respondents who purchased a new car

Figure 4: Percentage of respondents who purchased a used car

Figure 5: Frequency of vehicle replacement

Figure 6: Frequency of vehicle replacement - new or used

Figure 7: Motorists' age profile - Germany

Figure 8: Motorists' age profile - Poland

Figure 9: Motorists' income profile - France

Figure 10: Motorists' income profile - Poland

Figure 11: The shift from car ownership to car usage

Figure 12: An example of a car-sharing scheme vehicle

Figure 13: Potential revenue increases of repeat PCP

Table 1: Cars bought on finance by consumers through dealerships

Table 2: Automotive finance and leasing market players

Table 3: Benefits of motor finance

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