Fleet of vehicles parked

What could the ‘new different’ mean for the motor industry?

While these times are particularly unpredictable, we believe there are a few trends that could have a significant impact on fleets and motorists.

There are more reasons for people to have a car

A car is one of the few ‘safe spaces’ we have these days, so there could be significantly more demand for one. One piece of Google research suggests that two in five young adults are now thinking about getting a car, while another reports that over one in ten people who don’t currently own a car are thinking about getting one. This trend could be accelerated by a move away from public transport, as people are actively encouraged to avoid using it where possible. A study cited in the Times suggests this could lead to a national 7% rise in commuter car journeys. In addition, the requirements of social distancing that mean car shares are unlikely to be an option any time soon.

There are more reasons for people not to have a car

At the same time, many people with cars may be wondering if they still need them – particularly if they are in a multi-car household. While some people are returning to their offices, many of those who are capable of working from home will likely to continue to do so for some time. Even after the pandemic fades, this trend could continue, as companies realise they can spend less money on real estate and still get a similar result. Walking and cycling are also rising in popularity, so those with shorter commutes may decide that they don’t need a car, even if they are no longer using public transport.

Economic and financial uncertainty may have an effect

While the furlough system means job losses have been limited so far, it’s hard to know what will happen in the coming months. In this environment, people might avoid big purchases or long-term contracts, but cheap financing or more flexible leases could be attractive – as could taking a company car instead of the cash option.

How people get new cars could change

While dealerships are open again, they have many restrictions that weren’t there before – not least around test drives. And for some, it may be too much, too soon, to even think about looking at cars that are regularly touched or driven by others. There was already a trend towards a more remote dealer experience and this could gather pace – all the way to online purchasing or leasing followed by car delivery to the home.

Fleets will have to do more to look after their drivers

Processes and procedures will need to be updated – and made as robust as possible, so they hold up when people are under pressure. This will range from sanitising vehicles regularly to training drivers in what is required of them. The good news is that a lot of the hard work is already being done with guidance from the Government – particularly the Department for Transport (DfT) and industry experts including the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).

Find out more

To find out more tune into our ‘Lifting the Lockdown’ webinar series including more on this essential topic.


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