When fuel prices rise people would consider abandoning car ownership

March 14th, 2012 by Oliver Wyman

Urban dwellers in Western Europe and Asia would seriously consider a change in their primary mode of transport – including abandoning auto ownership – according to a recently released study by Oliver Wyman and the ESB Business School Reutlingen (Germany).

The “Future of Mobility” found that, if fuel prices rose significantly by 2030, approximately 77% of the survey’s 3000 respondents would change their mobility behavior by switching to a smaller car, switching to an electric car, or abandoning car ownership entirely and replacing it with a mixture of transport modes.

Respondents in Shanghai (91%) and France (82%) were particularly open to changing their mobility patterns. High-income respondents (71%) were the least likely demographic segment to consider a switch.

The Oliver Wyman/ESB survey in Germany, France, the UK, Shanghai, and Singapore asked consumers to predict how their transport behaviour would change under a “sustainable mobility” scenario for 2030 that envisions €4 per litre for fuel, more traffic congestion in individual transport, better-quality public transport offerings, and the possibility of planning multimodal trips using smartphone apps.

Thirty percent of all survey respondents said they were willing to give up car ownership completely under this scenario, led by students (44%), young adults (36%), and urban residents (35%).

“The study findings confirm that innovative mobility services such as car sharing are more and more important,” says Matthias Bentenrieder, a partner in Oliver Wyman’s automotive consulting practice.

Regarding potential effects of mobility trends on the auto industry, Bentenrieder adds “developing and manufacturing cars will remain the automakers’ core business for a long time to come, but they must become more experienced in operating vehicle fleets based on flexible-use models and, in particular, they must network their vehicles with other mobility services. ‘Ease of use’ will be decisive for market success.”

He said “manufacturers don’t have to offer all mobility options, but in tomorrow’s multimodal world it is important that they position themselves as the key contact in the mobility chain with attractive vehicles that fit the reinvented role of the car.”


1 Response to “When fuel prices rise people would consider abandoning car ownership”

  1. rosie dorey

    I was listening to a Radio 4 program last week which was saying that in towns and cities there has been a notable decrease in car ownership amongst younger people. Apparently pricing has got a lot to do with it, but interestingly, there is apparently a shift in their perception of what owning a car means… i.e. they do not see their car as an extension of their personality but more as a tool to do a job. Fantastic! And if that is so, how long do we rekon before that perception reaches Guernsey? Oh!…..if it would only reach here today!

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