Fears over millennials’ car ownership plans ‘greatly overstated’, research suggests

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Millennial car purchase intent is still strong in Europe, putting paid to concerns that millennials are less interested in car ownership than their forebears, research suggests.

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Approximately 83% of EU millennials say having their own vehicle is a “necessity”

Following on the back of various pieces of research that suggest millennials are turning away from buying cars – and even from holding car licences, as indicated by a Department for Transport-commissioned report two years ago – analysis by global consultancy Duff & Phelps suggests that millennials may be responsible for turning around the struggling automotive industry in the coming years.

According to the European research – which was carried out among 2,150 millennials (aged 23 to 38) in the UK, France, Germany, Italy – most millennials (79%) already own a vehicle and half (50%) of respondents who do not currently own a car expect to in the next five years. The findings also suggest that factors including environmental concerns, city dwelling and availability of public transportation and ride-hailing services have not dampened millennial interest in vehicle ownership.

The majority of millennials in Europe indicated that having a car is a necessity for independence (77%) and convenience (66%), and generally preferable to other, more environmentally conscious options like ride-sharing or public transportation. When asked about their use of ride-hailing services and car-sharing services, most respondents (82%) either never use these services or use them less than once a week

Petrol or diesel engines are still the most preferred powertrain of choice for EU millennials (53%). However, more than a third (39%) of respondents are considering a hybrid or full electric vehicle.

When asked about their priorities for a vehicle, the most common features included: price (70%), fuel efficiency (59%), style (34%) and safety (30%).

Paul Teuten, managing director at Duff & Phelps, said: “Our Millennials and Auto Trends Report challenges conventional wisdom that millennials prefer alternatives to car ownership and provides encouraging evidence that millennials will drive the automotive industry forward. The European findings, in particular with over 80% of millennials never or rarely using ride-hailing and car-sharing services, underscores this and casts doubt on the presumed notion that ride-hailing services are increasingly used by this population.”

To access the Duff & Phelps report, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.