More than one in three is planning to buy a vehicle - BMW ahead in the brand ranking - Station wagons, SUVs and sedans are the most popular body styles - Interest in hybrid and electric cars is increasing.
The purchase of a new, annual or used car makes the hearts of drivers in Germany continue to beat faster. More than one in three plans to change vehicles within the next 18 months. Interest in used cars has increased significantly. German premium manufacturers are very popular, while volume brands are becoming less important. This is evidenced by the current Aral study "Trends in car purchases", which has been in its ninth edition since 2003 and sheds light on private car buying behavior.
The representative study of 1.001 respondents also shows that buying interest for hybrid and electric vehicles is growing. At the same time, expectations regarding the range and charging time of electric cars are increasing. And even though more and more driver assistance systems as harbingers of autonomous vehicles are part of everyday life, fewer and fewer respondents can imagine giving up the steering wheel completely.
The focal points of the 32-page study by the petrol station market leader Aral at a glance:
Great buying interest, used cars more in demand: 35 percent of the study participants intend to buy a new, annual or used car in the next 18 months. Although this corresponds to a decrease of six percentage points compared to the previous study from 2017, the long-term comparison shows that buying interest is well above average. Between 2003 and 2011 it fluctuated in a narrow corridor between 18 and 26 percent and only then reached a significantly higher level.
What is currently noticeable: More and more potential car buyers are looking around in the cheaper segments. If every fourth wanted to buy a brand-new vehicle two years ago, this percentage drops by 11 percentage points to only 14 percent. With the annual cars there is a slight minus of one percentage point to a buying interest of 9 percent. The winners of the current survey are used cars, as their share doubles from six to twelve percent and reaches the highest level ever determined.
Less often with cash and clear discount ideas in the dealership: Cash loses its attractiveness when it comes to payment. Two years ago, 53 percent of those surveyed wanted to pay for the new car in cash, but this percentage has now dropped to 42 percent. Both financing and leasing offers are benefiting from this trend. While drivers are following a clear line in terms of payment, uncertainty in discount expectations is reaching an all-time high: two out of three potential car buyers answer “don't know”. On the other hand, there are hardly any changes for those who express an idea of the expected discount: they expect a price that is reduced by 13 percent. If the preferred brand does not meet the discount hopes, more than one in two reacts by changing the brand.
BMW benefits from the weakness of the competition: For the first time, BMW is at the forefront of buyers' favor. An unchanged share of 14 percent is sufficient for first place in the brand selection. BMW owes its top position above all to the significantly declining interest in Audi. Two years ago, the share of the premium brand was 17 percent, now 12 percent of those questioned are still interested in a model of the Volkswagen subsidiary. Mercedes comes third. For the first time in the history of “trends in car buying”, Volkswagen is not satisfied with a place on the podium. Former volume brands such as Ford and Opel are more likely to find themselves in the niche market with a purchase interest of only 4 percent.
Trio in body shape at the top: Station wagon, SUV or SUV and the sedan are almost on par. A small plus of two percentage points to a share of 23 percent is enough for the versatile combi for the top position. Off-road vehicles and SUVs are making the greatest leap forward in terms of buying favor. These variants, which include the ever increasing range of crossover models, arouse the interest of 22 percent of the study participants. In contrast, the limousine recorded significant losses (minus 14 percentage points to 20 percent). The small car is experiencing a renaissance at a low level, doubling its share from 6 to 12 percent within two years.
Gasoline engines stay ahead, hybrid displaces diesel: 55 percent of prospective car buyers want to buy a car with a petrol engine. This corresponds to an increase of three percentage points compared to 2017. In contrast, diesel continues to decline in favor with buyers. Only twelve percent want to opt for a diesel, six percentage points less than two years ago. This puts the diesel in third place in the favorites list, because 17 percent of those interested in buying are now interested in a hybrid vehicle. The electric drive increased by two percentage points to seven percent.
Acceptance for electric mobility unchanged: 55 percent of the study participants can basically imagine using a Stromer the next time they buy a car. That corresponds exactly to the result of the previous study and is only slightly above the level of 2015 with 53 percent at that time. Expectations of range and charging time have reached new heights: potential buyers of electric cars expect an average range of 531 kilometers - 68 kilometers more than two years ago. 58 percent of respondents also hope that the charging time will be 30 minutes or less.
Growing skepticism about autonomous vehicles: Only 18 percent of those questioned can imagine taking a seat in an autonomously driving car. In comparison to the first survey two years ago, this proportion has decreased again by two percentage points. The respondents expect the technology to be ready for series production in 12,8 years. ”