Consumers Overwhelmingly See Personal Vehicle Ownership as Key to Future Mobility


NEW YORK (March 27, 2018) – Consumer demand for personal vehicle ownership remains overwhelmingly strong across all demographics, according to a new study commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Released at the 2018 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in New York City, the study consisted of a large national survey of U.S. consumers on their attitudes toward autonomous vehicles, ride-hailing, car sharing and personal vehicle ownership. The survey’s findings run contrary to a number of recent reports predicting that the convergence of electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles (AVs) and ride-hailing services will dramatically cut the number of personally owned vehicles.

"Consumers overwhelmingly prefer the freedom and flexibility of owning a personal vehicle to ride-hailing services,” said Jonathan Collegio, NADA’s senior vice president of public affairs. “This sentiment cuts across all demographics and is a durable, fundamental desire of most consumers, even millennials. Ride-hailing will continue to supplement personal vehicle ownership going forward, but it will not supplant it."

Key findings from the study include:

  • Nine out of 10 respondents (89%) said they would rather continue owning a car, versus one out of 10 respondents (11%) who said they would prefer using ride-hailing as their exclusive mode of personal transportation. This question was asked after presenting the strongest arguments for the safety, affordability and accessibility of autonomous ride-hailing services.
  • This sentiment is overwhelming even among millennials, who prefer vehicle ownership by a 80-20% margin. Importantly, millennials in the suburbs or rural areas were six points less interested in ride-hailing than their urban counterparts.
  • Consumers overwhelmingly view vehicle ownership as convenience, not a cost-drag or nuisance to own, as several studies suggest. Only 6.5% of consumers in the survey viewed owning a car as a hassle or costly nuisance.
  • Consumers view wait times as a significant drawback of ride-hailing services. More than 88% of consumers said they would need to save at least $15 per day to incur an hour of aggregate waiting for ride-hailing services over a day. Half of consumers in the survey said they would need to save $50 per day to incur an hour of aggregate waiting time.
  • Consumers are generally open to autonomous vehicle technology. 56% of consumers said they would purchase a fully or highly autonomous vehicle, while 44% said they would not.
  • Consumers by an 80-20 margin would prefer to capture 80% of the safety benefits from semi-autonomous vehicles they can still drive, as opposed to 100% of the benefit from fully autonomous, driverless vehicles. 

“As an industry we have to understand our customers,” continued Collegio. “And as the industry plans for the future, we hope they will more deeply study and investigate how consumers use, value, and enjoy relying on their personal vehicles."

The survey of 1,200 consumers was commissioned by NADA and fielded by Luntz Global from March 2-5, 2018.

NADA, founded in 1917, represents more 16,500 new-car and -truck dealerships, with both domestic and international franchises.

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