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  • Dec 15, 2020
  • 4 Minutes

Pandemic acclerates next generations drive towards financing cars 

Traditional car ownership is being turned on its head

Key Points

  1. Young drivers increase market share YoY of finance agreements - 25-29 (+1.4%), and 30-34 (+1.1%) according to VWFS sales data
  2. VWFS research reveals preference for finance agreements has increased significantly during the pandemic with the 18-24s (pre-pandemic 8% - current date 18%) and 25-34s (pre-pandemic 6% - current date 18%) driving the change
  3. Significant fall in drivers intending to buy a car outright from pre-pandemic (45%) to current date (36%)


Our own data suggests the traditional car ownership model is being turned on its head due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Generation Z and millennial drivers accelerate towards finance deals.

From using a nationally representative survey of 2,000 people, VWFS has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven down the percentage of people buying cars outright from 45% before the pandemic to 36% now. Meanwhile, the percentage preferring to get a car on finance has increased significantly from 7% before the pandemic to 11%. An even larger increase was seen for 25-34-year olds. Pre pandemic 6% were likely to finance a car via PCP, HP, or CH, rising to 18% today.

This survey data supports our year-on-year sales records and shows that the 20 – 34 age group increased the share of total finance sales by 3% from 2019 – 2020 20-24 years old (+0.5%) 25-29 years old (+1.4%), and 30-34 years old (+1.1%)). The under 35 age bracket now holds a 36% share of the market, and the 25-34 age group is the fastest growing demographic for finance agreements.

CEO Mike Todd, says: “No parts of the automotive sector are immune to change, be it from the coronavirus pandemic, lifestyle differences or environmental factors. 

As part of the automotive industry, it is important that we are listening to the needs, desires and considerations of our customers, to ensure we can evolve with them and overcome any issues they may face when weighing up their car ownership options. It is vital that we can keep track of this data. 

“No parts of the automotive sector are immune to change, be it from the coronavirus pandemic, lifestyle differences or environmental factors”.

Mike Todd - VWFS UK CEO
Mike Todd, VWFS Board of Management

From our research the younger generation between the ages of 20 to 34 are driving the changes we expected in five years, today. Over the years, we have seen subscription, pay as you go services flood into our lives across all sectors, but chiefly in media sectors. Squeezed finances and altered priorities created by the pandemic have accelerated this move to the car buying sector, and as a result, we have seen a larger than anticipated swing towards finance packages.”

There is a considerable change on the horizon with the next generation. But while they are leading the cultural commuting change, COVID-19 has also altered the way that the older generations think about travel. 

There are a significant number (17%), from our research, of over 70s considering a switch to electric cars and the way that people are mixing driving with cycling and walking where possible is definitely a consequence of the pandemic. But it does not mean fewer people buying cars, it means that the way that people own and use cars is different and we must change to fit that.

We are looking at a different world, shaped by a virus, but one that was likely to have happened in the future. Our role as a mobility provider is to make that transition easier, simpler and more affordable for everyone concerned.”

For more information on the products and services available, please visit https://customer.vwfs.co.uk/

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