Nearly half of Americans are driving less than before the COVID-19 pandemic, but don’t ask them to give up their cars, a new survey from Chase Auto found.
Customers also said they’ve changed the way they shop for cars in the last two years, but most still want the in-person experience of a dealership.
How consumers now see and use their vehicle
In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, customers have shifted how they use their vehicle and how it makes them feel.
- 45% are driving less than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 92% say their vehicle has allowed them to reach essential destinations during the pandemic.
- 66% feel their vehicle offered them financial freedom, opportunities, and control during the pandemic.
- One in five use their personal vehicle to do their job, not just to get there.
- Two in five are taking trips by car versus other modes of transportation with 80% saying that it makes them feel safer.
- With COVID-19 restrictions beginning to lift, 53% have planned road trips for this year, especially this summer.
How consumers now shop for and finance a vehicle
While a lack of inventory, changing financial situations, and concerns of COVID-19 exposure have impacted the car buying process, two in five people surveyed have acquired a vehicle since the beginning of the pandemic. Shoppers have enjoyed the option of researching or searching inventory online, but the dealer is still an incredibly important piece to the car buying experience.
- 77% want to visit the dealer or test drive the car
- 57% want to talk in-person to a knowledgeable salesperson
- 85% want to pick up their car at the dealership
Two out of three repeat car buyers said that they would stay with the same brand, although the same number of people actually purchased a different one. Fifty-eight percent also changed the type of car they bought with only 4% switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle. “I had trouble finding inventory at the price and type of vehicle I wanted, this was the reason I changed brands” said one survey respondent who purchased a new car during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite recent challenges, most think they got a fair deal and invested the expected amount of time in their purchase.
“The longtime American love of cars grew during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peter Muriungi, CEO of Chase Auto. “Their vehicle put them in control, kept them safe, and got them to essential destinations. That’s why we’ll continue to finance purchases, no matter how and where consumers choose to buy.”