‘Conventional wisdom’ mostly wrong on vehicle ownership, NADA finds

Personal vehicle ownership – and, by extension, automotive dealerships – may go the way of the dinosaurs one day.

But not anytime soon, according to a large-scale research study commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

The association wanted to find out “what people really think about [autonomous vehicles], ride-hailing, car-sharing and personal ownership.” The study included consumer focus groups and a national survey about the future of personal transportation.

042618 IL ‘Conventional wisdom’ mostly wrong on vehicle ownership, NADA finds - Copy

“What we found cuts against much of the ‘conventional wisdom,’” reported Peter Welch, NADA president and CEO writing recently on the NADA blog.

Here are the major findings of the study:

  • Car owners have little, if any, interest in giving up their car keys.
  • Cars still are convenient to own, not an “unnecessary purchase.”
  • Millennials aren’t much different than other consumers in their desire to own.
  • People aren’t willing to pay less if they will lose convenience.

“Only 11 percent of car owners in our survey were interested in giving up their personal vehicles to move exclusively toward a ride-hailing service,” Welch said, “even under the assumption that the service was widely accessible, safer and more affordable than human-operated vehicles.”

This was true among all age groups, geographic regions, education and income levels, he added.

“Fully 90 percent of car owners surveyed said that … their car provides them the freedom and flexibility to go where they want, when they want,” wrote Welch.

Survey respondents cited a number of benefits of personal vehicle ownership, including the ability to:

  • Make multiple trips on an errand run.
  • Take an impromptu trip to another city or state.
  • Drive unexpectedly to an emergency room.
  • Leave an event earlier or later than planned.

“If real consumers have anything to say about it, the future of transportation will be built upon the foundation of personally owned vehicles, whether human operated or autonomous,” according to the NADA executive. “Consumers will continue to purchase their own vehicles and use ride-hailing services as a supplement whenever it’s more convenient.”

For more details, see Welch’s report, The future of personal vehicle ownership, on the NADA blog.

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