Where is demand for new cars the strongest and how are motorists budgeting?

May 27, 2021, 2:42 PM GMT+0

With some economies gathering steam, the auto industry will be looking to make good on the shortfall in sales that it saw in 2020. But how big is demand and what do motorists’ budgets and intentions look like in 2021?

When it comes to buying a car, the intent varies heavily from market to market. A look at five key countries in YouGov Profiles – Australia, Germany, Great Britain, the UAE, and the US – shows that the proportion looking to purchase a vehicle can still be either significant, weak, or somewhere in-between. Two in five drivers based in the UAE, for example, plan to buy a new car in the next 12 months; in Great Britain (5%) and Germany, (9%), the proportion is fewer than one in ten and demand much weaker.

It’s a similar story when it comes to buying used vehicles. Almost a quarter of the UAE drivers want to buy a second hand car (23%) in the next 12 months, and nearly as many Australians (19%) say the same. But, again, in Britain (8%) and Germany (7%) demand is much weaker – something which in itself will have a knock-on effect on the proportion of consumers in the market for a model fresh off the production line.

In fact, for Britons, making savings in their motoring budget may be more of a priority than spending on a new car. Some 16% plan to change their car insurance provider in the next year, compared to 10% of Emirati drivers, 8% of Germans, 7% of Australians, and just 5% of Americans. They’re also much more likely to switch their breakdown cover (GB 8%; UAE 3%; US 2%; 1% Australia; 1% Germany). When compared against other nations, it paints either an unflattering picture of the British car insurance market or a describes a nation that shops around when it comes to motoring costs. This may have much to do with the relative ease of switching car insurance compared to other markets.

The leasing and finance market for cars varies from market to market. Fewer than one in ten drivers intend to lease a car in the next year across the globe but there are markets which are more icnlined towards this type of car ownership. Again, it’s consumers in the UAE with the highest appetite for a new car via leasing – 7% of them plan to get a car this way in the next 12 months. The US comes second, at 6%, while demand for a leased vehicle is currently slacker in GB (4%), Germany (4%) and Australia (2%).

However, when we look at purchase history in Britain, it’s not altogether surprising that leasing is a not a popular current option. Half of drivers (49%) bought their cars with cash, one in five (20%) used dealer financing, 14% traded in their old car, one in ten used a personal loan (9%), and just 5% leased it.


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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