Survey Says Consumer Desire to Own Vehicles High

Alternative transportation services will supplement not replace ownership, says NADA’s Jonathan Collegio.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

March 29, 2018

2 Min Read
Itrsquos a myth Millennials donrsquot want to own cars Collegio says
It’s a myth Millennials don’t want to own cars, Collegio says.

NEW YORK – Generations of Americans have aspired to own vehicles, and alternative-transportation services aren’t changing that, says a new survey commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Nearly 90% of respondents said they would rather continue owning a car, versus 11% who said they would prefer using ride-hailing as their exclusive mode of getting around.

Moreover, the measured sentiment is overwhelming even among Millennials in their 20s and 30s. They prefer vehicle ownership by an 80%-to-20% margin. Not surprisingly, suburban and rural Millennials were less interested in ride-hailing than their urban counterparts.

The survey results rebut claims Gen Y would rather rely on the likes of Uber than buy a vehicle, Jonathan Collegio, NADA’s senior vice president-public affairs, says at the 2018 Automotive Forum put on here by NADA and J.D. Power. The conference is held in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show.

Wanting to own a vehicle “cuts across all demographics and is a durable, fundamental desire of most consumers,” he says. “Ride-hailing will continue to supplement personal vehicle ownership going forward, but it will not supplant it.”

Younger Millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to use alternative-transportation services, Collegio says. “A 32-year-old Millennial with a toddler at home has different needs that a 23-year-old Millennial sharing an apartment with someone.”

He adds, “The (ride-hailing) model breaks down when you go to the gym and then want to stop on the way home to buy groceries, but don’t want to bring your gym bag into the supermarket.”  

In situations like that, people want their own car, Collegio says. “It’s the ability to go where you want, when you want. That freedom has real value. Not many folks are willing to give it up.”   

Only 6.5% of respondents described car ownership as a hassle. It’s a misnomer that many consumers heavily weigh potential cost of ownership when deciding to buy a car, Collegio says. “Average people don’t measure it like that.”

The survey of 1,200 consumers was conducted by Luntz Global March 2-5.

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