Auto 2023 Survey – Cars: Whatever it takes

March 20, 2023

An international survey conducted in 18 countries

Rising fuel prices, higher maintenance costs, pressure on the used-car market and electric cars that are often too expensive: While the car was mainly associated first and foremost with joy and freedom, particularly in Germany, it is now turning into a necessary luxury item. The study conducted by us this year shows that more and more car drivers are making compromises in order to buy and maintain a vehicle.

This development can already be clearly seen in the economic behaviour of buyers. They are no longer willing to do whatever is necessary to own a car. In order to soften the financial pressure, many drivers are deciding to “drive less to consume less”. The alternative of not owning a car is also becoming more popular.

From an environmental point of view, this is not the only positive effect of this cost pressure. Drivers are also thinking more seriously about soft mobility. Consors Finanz’ latest survey shows cleary, that acceptance of walking, bicycle or electric scooter is rising as these means of transport become more affordable and practical.

Could the electric car alleviate the cost pressure as an environmentally sound vehicle option? Currently the opposite appears more likely. In 2022 the EU decided to ban combustion-engine vehicles from 2035. If European and US manufacturers stick to their current high priced electric vehicles, many more car drivers will find it difficult to buy a new car. New social challenges may emerge as a result: “Mobile” exclusion is a possibility – especially as lots of people are still dependent on a car, particularly in rural areas.

Policymakers also need to act here. Mobility needs to remain accessible for all. This is shown for example by the debate about government measures such as the fuel discount. Trade and industry are also well advised to find answers to the emerging cost dilemma.

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