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Budgeting for the car of the future: Germans will pay more than other Europeans

by GfK / AutoScout24 , 24.11.2014

GfK and AutoScout24 surveyed 8,800 people for the report ‘The Cars We Want Tomorrow’. Drivers aged 18 - 65 in seven European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain), were surveyed on a wide range of topics, from safety to cost, comfort to the environment, connectivity to design. In this article we look at Germans and their expectations of the cost of mobility from the car of the future.

More than eight out of 10 Germans (86%) want a car to offer ‘affordable mobility’ and to be able to compete with the cost of public transport. If we look at Germans in particular, only 37% expect car travel to cost less than train travel in future, 21% would accept the same cost as a train journey, 15% would pay slightly more for a train ticket and 10% said they would always travel by car. A minority (2%) want to give up the car in future – regardless of cost.

Common sense wins out over looks and luxury

However, there are aspects that Germans would be willing to pay extra for with safety being the most important. Almost half (44%) would accept higher prices to ensure the safety of passengers, and 38% would pay more for the safety of other road users. Next at 41% comes paying more for vehicles with lower maintenance costs, followed by environmental friendliness at 39%.

In contrast, fewer Germans would be prepared to pay more for premium quality finishing (21%), information and entertainment systems (16%) or greater driving pleasure (15%). “German car owners have made their views clear”, says Thomas Weiss, editor-in-chief of AutoScout24 magazine. “Cars should not become more expensive. Germans are most likely to accept additional costs for safety, lower maintenance and repair charges, and environmental friendliness. Manufacturers need to grasp these opportunities to meet consumer future demand.”

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Infrastructure costs and using cars as a revenue source

Appropriate infrastructure is an essential prerequisite for functioning road transport if these alternative drives are to be offered and expanded in the future. Power grids need to be reconstructed and enlarged, and a network of electric charging stations established. But who should pay for these costs? Germans are divided in their opinions. One third (33%) believes society as a whole will benefit so taxes should cover the costs. Another third (34%) feels that only those who actually use alternative drives should bear the additional costs. One quarter (26%) of Germans has a completely different perspective: they believe costs should be born by those who do not switch to alternatives, providing a greater incentive to change. 

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There are five articles in this series covering safety, cost, budget, functions and mobility. Read the full study for free at:www.thecarswewanttomorrow.com

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