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Trends in domestic car use habits since the 2008 economic and financial crisis

  • 9 per cent less Budapestians have cars than they had in 2010
  • The number of car owners above 60 grew by 10 per cent since 2008
  • Average age of Hungarian cars increased by 3.2 years since 2008
Trends in domestic car use habits since the 2008 economic and financial crisis

On assignment from Robert Bosch Kft., Median Public Opinion and Market Research Institute has been assessing Hungarian car use habits since 2008, the starting year of the economic and financial crisis in the framework of a representative research project launched every two years. The sample is representative of the Hungarian population above 18 in terms of age, gender, education and residence. Comparison of research findings obtained so far provides a few very interesting and surprising facts to draw up the car use trends among the Hungarian motorist population.

Households with cars grew from 42 to 44 per cent in this country since 2008
According to the findings of the first survey in 2008 42 per cent of all Hungarian households had passenger car, 5 per cent of them more than one. This ratio reached 45 per cent by 2010, still 5 per cent of them having more than one vehicle. In 2012 and in 2014 still 40 per cent of the households had one car but the ratio of those using more than one car started to decline: 4 and 2 per cent of the households in Hungary maintained more than one passenger car in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

In other words, the least ever number of cars since 2008 occurred two years ago in 2014, when a total of 42 per cent of all households had their own vehicle. Albeit this year the same measure was 44 per cent, but within the figure the households maintaining one car increased by 1 per cent (39 per cent), while those having multiple cars grew by 3 per cent (5 per cent).

The ratio of car owners having a car at or above the age of 60 has grown by 10 per cent since 2008
Car use trends by age group reflect an extremely interesting tendency: according to the statistics with slight fluctuations less and more people, respectively, in the age groups between 30 and 49 years of age and above 60 own their own personal cars in Hungary since 2008. According to the findings of the initial research in 2008, in 2010, in 2012 and in 2014, 53, 57, 59 and 54 per cent of the persons between 30 and 39 years of age stated they were owners of at least one car, respectively, while in this year this figure was merely 51 per cent. The same ratio reflects a consolidated diminishing trend among those between 40 and 49 years of wage: 58 per cent, 60 per cent, 55 per cent, 51 per cent and 54 per cent in the years of 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and this year, respectively.

However, the trend has turned among those in the years between 50 and 59: they only had 47 per cent car owners in 2008, while 48 per cent of them possessed a car this year. However, the really surprising change can be seen among those above 60: 20 per cent, 22 per cent, 23 per cent, as much as 29 per cent, and even 30 per cent of them had cars in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and this year, respectively.

Budapest car owners’ share declines since 2010 by 9 per cent
A comparative assessment of the domestic car use habits research conducted by Bosch since 2008 also provides some surprise in terms of distribution by residence. While the number of car owners living in country towns and communities shows a slight increase (car owners living in country towns having 41 and 46 per cent cars in 2008 and 2016, respectively while car owners living in rural communities ranged up to 43 per cent and 46 per cent in 2008 and 2016, respectively), in Budapest a definite trend in diminishing number of car owners can be identified. 42 per cent of all dwellers of the capital had cars in 2008, 44 per cent in 2010 and in 2012, merely 40 per cent in 2014 and only 35 per cent of the inhabitants of Budapest stated this year that they had their own passenger cars.

The average age of the domestic car fleet has grown by 3.2 years since 2008
In the statistical sense the increase of the average age of the domestic car fleet can be strikingly felt: an average age of domestic car fleet of 10 years in 2008 has grown to 13.2 by 2016.

In 2008 8 and 22 per cent of all respondents possessed new cars, i.e. between 0 and 2 years of age and young used cars, i.e. between 3 and 5 years of age, respectively. In 2016, on the other hand, only 2 and 9 per cent of the population uses cars with an age between 0 and 2 years and between 3 and 5 years of age, respectively. The ratio of cars between 6 and 10 years of age grew slightly since 2008 (2008: 30 per cent, 2016: 33 per cent), while the ageing car stock between 11 and 20 years of age grew in a substantial extent: 34 per cent and nearly half (49 per cent) of all respondents drove ageing cars in 2008 and this, year, respectively. The percentage value of the real old-timers above 20 years of age changes only slightly from 6 to 7 per cent between 2008 and this year, respectively.

Diesel car ratio grew definitely by 2016 in Hungary
A real surprise was held by the Bosch research conducted this year. The ratio between petrol, diesel and other alternative (gas, electric, etc.) driven cars hardly changed between 2008 and 2014: 85-86 per cent of domestic motorists possessed petrol driven cars, 13-14 per cent of them diesel cars, and 1 per cent of all motorists had alternative fuel for their cars.

By 2016 these rates turned towards the benefit of diesel cars: 82 per cent and 18 per cent of all respondents used petrol and diesel as a fuel for their cars, respectively. For the first time since the start of the domestic car use research of Bosch in 2008 the rate of those who drive electric and gas propelled, that is other types of cars could not be detected statistically.

Compared to 2008, in this year people with higher education and people with not more than primary school education had 4 per cent less and 3 per cent more cars, respectively
The comparison of the research outcomes according to the level of education in 2008 and this year most probably refers to interesting tendencies just lie before: although only to a slight extent, but still statistically in a meaningful way the ratio of car owners grows in an inverse trend with their level of highest education. In 2008 and this year, respectively, those with 8 primary school years had cars in 15 and 18 per cent, those with a maximum education of a vocational school 45 and 42 per cent, and those with a secondary school certificate 54 and 53 per cent. The drop of number of car owners is most dramatic among graduates with university or college diplomas: this ratio is 66 and 62 per cent in 2008 and this year, respectively.

Tags: car use habits, car use, drivers, research, assess, Median, Hungary, 2008, crisis

dr. Ferenc Ficzere
phone: +36 1 431-3852