Coronavirus Impact: Increased Preference For Personal Vehicles Over Shared Cabs

The post-COVID-19 world shows a sharp increase in consumers wanting to use their own personal vehicles over shared mobility. This is likely to also benefit the used car sector.

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The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that the world has changed - and perhaps it won't be unfair to say forever. It is obvious that people's behaviour will drastically change too, and when it comes to mobility, the changes are obvious. A survey conducted across India's major metros by startup Zekardo shows a 22 per cent uptick for personal vehicle usage in the post corona scenario. Respondents have also shown acceptance for individual office cabs with a 7 per cent rise in preference. But there is a 10 per cent drop in people's preference for shared transport, including app-based taxi services. This provides a challenge to the mobility service providers no doubt, but also an opportunity to the automakers.

Karunakar Dubey, Founder & CEO, Zekardo Automotive Solutions says, "Our survey indicated that car owners will prefer their personal owned vehicles over ride-sharing app-based cab services, local taxis operated by local fleet operators and state transport systems."

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The survey indicates that the 38 per cent respondents felt unsure about the cab driver's health and hygiene 

The reasons for the reluctance to use shared mobility services are quite evident. The survey indicates that the 38 per cent respondents felt unsure about the cab driver's health and hygiene, and more significantly 30 per cent also believed they would question the health of the passenger(s) from the cab's previous ride. 33 per cent also worried about the actual car being used, and its state of cleanliness and sanitisation.

This provides a challenge to the mobility service providers no doubt, but also an opportunity to the automakers.

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Factors like price differential between BS6 and BS4, limited availability of BS6 vehicles in the next few months will benefit the used car business

Adds Dubey, "Concepts such as driving customer intimacy through discounting or freebies will be redundant. Combining digital transformation, social distancing, and lean process will be the new cocktail for achieving customer trust." No doubt it will not be easy as people may also be reluctant to spend on big-ticket purchase items like new cars. And therein lies a the bigger opportunity for both two wheelers and the used car business.

Ashutosh Pandey, CEO for used car biggie Mahindra First Choice Wheels has a clear view on this. Speaking to carandbike, Pandey said, "As the country limps back to normalcy in the coming months, used cars is one of the sectors that stands to recover the fastest. There is a likelihood of customers down-trading and seeking value for money invested, and within auto, used cars probably has the best price-value equation. Several two-wheeler customers might choose to upgrade to a used vehicle too."

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Pandey also believes other factors like price differential between BS6 and BS4, limited availability of BS6 vehicles in the next few months, and better financing options, would also benefit the used car business tremendously.

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