Ola, Uber may now find it difficult to find customers as coronavirus makes people want to own cars

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Updated: May 12, 2020 5:50 PM

The automobile slowdown may finally end thanks to the coronavirus pandemic as customers become wary of sharing car rides and instead have shown renewed interest in owning cars.

Lockdown 3.0 relaxations, Uber resumes its service in 25 cities, coronavirus, covid19While customers still don’t have enough confidence to make fresh car purchases, the shift in preference for owning cars even while second hand may turn the fortunes of the automobile industry.

The automobile slowdown may finally end thanks to the coronavirus pandemic as customers become wary of sharing car rides and instead have shown renewed interest in owning cars. While customers still don’t have enough confidence to make fresh car purchases, the shift in preference for owning cars even while second hand may turn the fortunes of the automobile industry which has been reeling under a slowdown for over a year now. “At least 40% of purchase intenders said they are more likely to buy a new or a used car, after the coronavirus crisis and 31% purchase intenders will have no change in purchase intention and are likely to purchase the same as before,” Ipsos said in its report on Tuesday. 

Especially in India, car manufacturers may be in for a pleasant surprise as consumer preferences shift in the era of ride-sharing apps such as Ola and Uber. Car manufacturers in the country reported massive sales decline last year and this year too the sales were hit due to coronavirus lockdown. However, in the aftermath of coronavirus, consumers are expected to have safety concerns which is likely to push them to own vehicles. However, many will still withhold car purchases due to financial constraints. “Once the restrictions are lifted, we are likely to see consumers exercising precautions and self-distancing and choosing personal vehicles for mobility and more number of purchase intenders choosing to buy personal vehicles,” Balaji Pandiaraj, Executive Director, Automotive and Mobility Development, Ipsos India, said. 

Customers are increasingly imposing self-protection measures on themselves and shifting to personal vehicles could be one of those measures. Another country where demand for automobiles is expected to surge is China. However, other countries such as Italy, Spain, and Brazil are still less likely to purchase their own vehicles.

Meanwhile, car manufacturers have restarted production with India’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki resuming operations at its Manesar plant, PTI reported. The company is operating a single shift for now with about 75% employee capacity. 

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