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“I enjoy having my own space rather than being on a crowded train or bus,” Pearce said. “It’s worth the added expense.
“I think you’re going to see the mindset towards public transit change. The numbers are going down and many people using it are now buying cars.”
An international study done by the consulting firm Capgemeni found 35 per cent of the 11,000 people surveyed in 11 countries were considering buying a car in 2020. Among those aged 35 and under, that percentage rose to 45 per cent.
Almost half of those surveyed said they would use public transit less and a car more in the future. There were similar responses for the use of ride-sharing and car-pooling services.
Three of the top four reasons given for buying a new car were related to health and hygiene.
A need for a vehicle topped the list at 77 per cent followed by concern over hygiene (75 per cent), reducing fear of infection (68 per cent) and concern over using ride-hailing services (63 per cent).
A survey of 1,000 Canadians by autotrader.ca this spring found 70 per cent wouldn’t use ride sharing again, 40 per cent wouldn’t use public transit and 14 per cent, who didn’t own a car, intended to buy one.
“I think the increase in first-time buyers is here for a long time, until at least they find a vaccine,” Rafih said.
First-time buyers are opting mostly for smaller new cars or sport crossovers and used cars.
There’s an interest in safety and health features, but more focus is placed on the car’s connectivity features.
What has also been changed by COVID-19 is the way in which transactions take place. Many of the deals are done mostly online.
“We’ve had to re-learn how to sell cars,” Russell said.
“The deals are mostly done before they come in. Its all texting and emailing with the younger buyers.”