Digital Auto 2023: Using one’s own car remains the popular transport option, with the intention to purchase a used car increasing

16 May 2023

Bucharest, 16 May 2023 - Using one’s own car remains the popular transport option for consumers in Germany, the US and China, the world's largest car markets, although public transport, cycling and walking are on the rise, according to the "Digital Auto 2023 - What consumers really want" report by strategy&, the global strategy department of the PwC network. At the same time, interest in using mobility platforms (sharing/ hailing) remains low.

As for car buying, there is an increasing intention to go for a used car, especially in Germany and the US, while new cars are preferred in China. At the same time, gasoline is the most popular engine type in the US and Germany, followed by PHEV (plug-in hybrid vehicle) and third by BEV (full electric vehicle). Chinese consumers have opposite preferences, with BEVs being the most popular, ahead of hybrids and gasoline engines.

"With high inflation all over the world, which hasn't bypassed the car market either, it's not surprising that we are seeing a shift towards second-hand cars or public transport. In addition, many countries have announced the reduction or withdrawal of incentives for buying electric cars. As early as 2021, PwC analysis showed an emerging second-hand market for electric cars, with 15% of electric car owners saying at that time that they bought a used car", said Daniel Anghel, Partner, and Automotive Industry Leader at PwC Romania.

The car subscription model has started to attract interest

Subscription fills the gap between leasing and rental offerings and is gaining in popularity especially in China but started to increase also in Germany and the US, shows the report.

Basically, the subscription allows customers to drive new cars, change them periodically, without committing to contracts or dealing with issues such as maintenance and insurance, which are handled by the companies.

Alternative ownership models offer a potential profit for car manufacturers if the lifecycle of assets is well managed.

According to Strategy& estimates, subscriptions could grow to 2-4 million units by 2035 in Europe, with a profit margin of 10-15%. The profitability estimate was calculated for a mid-class passenger vehicle worth EUR 53,500.

Safety and navigation, the most popular functions

Consumers first want to get the basics right – the highest priority is safety and navigation. Among on-demand functions, automated driving features such as traffic jam pilot / parking pilot are attracting more interest than in the previous year's survey. Phone mirroring is also gaining importance.

Regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions for own transportation, every country has different priorities: in Germany more walking, in the US switch to BEV, in China public transport.

The 11th annual Digital Auto Report is a global survey focusing on the US, EU and China and consists of a quantitative market outlook to 2035 based on regional structural research and interviews with key industry executives from OEMs and suppliers, leading academics and industry analysts.

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Daniel Anghel Partener, Liderul Departamentului de consultanță fiscală și juridică PwC România

Daniel Anghel
Partener, Liderul Departamentului de consultanță fiscală și juridică
PwC România

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Marketing and Communication Leader, Romania

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