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Consumers Pump The Brakes On Autonomous Vehicle Adoption

Consumers’ appetite for self-driving vehicles lags the automotive industry’s pace of investment in advanced vehicle technology, according to the 2019 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study. Consumer trust in autonomous vehicles (AVs) appears to be stalling. In the U.S., 50% of survey respondents do not believe AVs will be safe, nearly the same as last year’s 47%. That is drastically different from consumer sentiment in 2017 when 74% voiced concerns about these vehicles’ safety. Other markets saw similar plateauing, with the share of consumers in China, Japan, and South Korea who believe AVs will not be safe decreasing modestly; and Indian and German consumers both showing slight increases in their distrust.

Consumers now have more choices than ever before with regards to mobility, whether they are choosing a car to buy or lease or simply deciding how to get from point A to B. The plethora of choices brings an array of new decisions for consumers:

Ride-hailing irregularities: In 2017, 23% of U.S. consumers used ride-hailing at least once a week, and another 22% used it occasionally. Fast forward to the latest study, and the percentage of regular users cuts in half to 12%, while the proportion of occasional users increases twofold to 46%. Occasional ride-hailers follow a similar path in India and China, though both countries saw substantial growth in the volume of occasional ride-hailers, growing from 85 to 90% in India between 2017 and 2019; and 75 to 83% in China over the same period.

A generational divide: Younger consumers are more likely to question whether vehicle ownership is a necessity than older generations. Japan leads the pack, where 60% of Generations Y/Z say ride-hailing makes them question whether they need to own a vehicle, followed by 53% for Gen X and 45% of Baby Boomers. In the U.S., the number is 46% for U.S. Gen Y/Z consumers, down 20%age points from 64% in 2017.

Convenience over savings: The majority (56%) of Americans are not interested in ridesharing services – such as professional micro-buses and other similar multi-rider options – and 47% of German consumers prefer to use their vehicles daily. Using multiple modes of transportation in one trip is largely an occasional undertaking in the U.S., where 39% of U.S. consumers report they never combine different modes in a single trip.