Covid 19 impact: Personal vehicle sales may surge in China, public transport could take a hit

by Nilesh Wadhwa 02 Apr 2020


The year 2020 will be looked upon as the year of global disruption and impact on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic albeit it is too early to gauge the severity and the ripple effect that the corona virus has brought forth.

A recent study by global market research and consulting firm Ipsos has brought forth a positive indication for the Chinese automotive industry. The report finds that over 66 percent respondents prefer a private vehicle for transportation after the Coronavirus pandemic, compared to only 34 percent respondents showed preference for private cars before the outbreak, indicating a shifting preference from public transport on the back of healthcare.

The study reveals that while the automotive sales may have slowed down due to the Covid-19 crisis, there is a possibility that personal vehicle sales may accelerate in the coming months. "New car purchase intention is increasing among consumers who currently do not have a car, due to lack of trust of public transport," says the report.

It also finds that around 72 percent of respondents have strengthened their purchase intention, as a majority of them believed driving their own vehicle (compared to shared transportation) can reduce the chance of infection. The intent is strong among regions where the outbreak was severe and in Tier 1 cities, with 66 percent of participants planning to buy a vehicle in next 6 months.

SUVs, ICE vehicles see higher preference
Despite the global focus on reducing pollution, and push towards electric vehicles, a majority or 59 percent of the respondents showed an inclination towards IC-engined vehicles, and when it came to body type, 47 percent of the respondents had a preference for SUVs. In terms of brand preference, products from mass JVs (joint-ventures) continue to dominate the minds of the consumers.

In the time of lock-down and isolation, digitalisation has played a key role in connecting people to each other and the world. No doubt, first-time vehicle buyers are flogging websites and other platforms to research and make decisions on their upcoming vehicle purchases.

Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise, no wonder then that consumer preferences are pointing a shift towards vehicles that come with healthy configuration or have technologies to cut down on viruses inside the car.

When it comes to sales and afterservice, 42 percent of respondents said that they are interested in making their next vehicle purchase online. And 79 percent of respondents preferred door-to-door test drive and car delivery.

While at present, the situation due to Covid-19 pandemic may look challenging, going by history, one thing is confirmed that we will come out strong. On the other hand, the dynamics of how does the human society function, may very well see a paradigm shift.

Also readCovid19-hit Global Auto Inc to see deeper decline than during the Great Recession: LMC