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The UK coronavirus lockdown has made people more likely to buy a car

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Some 64% of people living in the centres of cities are now considering buying a vehicle. (Getty)

The coronavirus lockdown has made people in the UK more likely to buy a car once restrictions are lifted, according to a new survey.

Online car marketplace Autotrader found that 56% of UK driving licence holders who don’t currently own a vehicle were now considering purchasing one.

The survey also found that the pandemic has made almost half of people less likely to use public transport.

Some 64% of people living in the centres of cities, where people are typically far more dependent on public transport, said they were now considering buying a vehicle.

“Our research highlights just how profound an impact COVID-19 has had on consumer attitudes towards transport,” said Auto Trader chief operating officer Catherine Faiers.

Read more: Germany makes wearing face masks compulsory

“It also confirms that the global pandemic will have far-reaching consequences that last after the current restrictions have been lifted,” she said.

The online survey, which last week polled more than 1,000 people about their attitudes towards car ownership, also found that almost 75% of people are more concerned about having personal space because of the pandemic.

Faiers said that the survey points to a car market that will “resume” again.

“Not only does previous consumer appetite for a new or used car remain, but once the restrictions have been lifted, we believe the market could see an uptick in demand as we’ve seen in China, and are seeing early signs of in Germany,” she said.

Read more: European stocks rise after US senate passes $484bn aid package

Last week, Volkswagen suggested that the pandemic was changing opinions about car ownership in China, too.

“Public transport is a hotspot for the spread of disease. Many people obviously feel safer in their own cars than in buses or subways. This is currently influencing our business in China,” said Stephan Wöllenstein, the head of Volkswagen’s China business.

Many retail and consumer experts expect shifts in consumer behaviour to outlast the coronavirus crisis.

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