A few years ago, automotive companies accepted the possibility that consumers will no longer be interested in buying their own cars. With ride-hailing apps and a socioeconomic imbalance between generations, many young professionals have thought of holding off purchasing a vehicle for themselves.
The tables had turned when the coronavirus pandemic kicked in. With people summoned to work from home, public transportation and ride-sharing became unpopular choices. Practicality changed overnight. It’s health over wealth, especially with the rising daily cases in metro areas.
According to a survey, two in five people who previously used ride-hailing apps admit to having second thoughts of using the service. Moreover, two in five people say that they will use public transportation on rare occasions. People now see personal vehicles as a safer way to go around the metro.
While car sales decreased last year because of high unemployment rates, the long-term trend brought by the coronavirus is a positive thing for automotive dealers. More and more young professionals are now looking into owning their own vehicles, especially with their stimulus checks and the options of “buy here, pay here” car deals. Here are some reasons why millennials and Gen Zs choose to be car owners.
Unsure about mass transportation safety
Taking the bus or the subway is no longer a popular option even for those still required to work on-site. People are worried that they might be exposed to the virus, especially as buses and subways do not offer the ideal ventilation. Moreover, there are worries about co-commuters not following social distancing protocols. This is true even in New York City, where owning a car was once frowned upon. Urban areas like NYC have seen newer vehicle owners.
Long drives for leisure travels
As flight and train travels are discouraged, many Americans have embraced long drives to travel to places for leisure. Driving is a way for them to get to a vacation spot while practicing social distancing.
Many families have gone camping in national parks to get a glimpse of nature. People have also driven long hours to meet with their family members over last year’s holiday season. Several new car owners see their car as a good way to escape the confines of their homes.
Cars for work purposes
While many then-office dwellers are allowed to work from home, some employees must go to their work even in the midst of a pandemic. While there are definitely lesser people outside, it also means fewer transportation options.
Many new car owners bought theirs so that they can still report to work without having to move near their workplace. For others who are required to go from one place to another for their jobs, having their own car brings the convenience and ease of travel that ride-hailing apps once offered.
Cars as an improvised dating spot
Dates used to be done in a cozy restaurant with great ambiance. But with many people unable to dine in their favorite restaurants, cars have become their dining tables. Couples who want to meet for a date end up dining inside their cars while parked in a nice spot.
Others use their cars to distance themselves from their housemates (i.e., parents and roommates). As living together causes tension, having their own car space gives them some breathing room to relax and think.
Can you afford a car?
Before you spend your stimulus checks on a car, ask yourself first if you can truly afford a car. Owning a car is a financial obligation and a long-term commitment. It is not something that one can easily own just because they can afford the initial downpayment.
Recipients of these checks who are confident that they can maintain their financial standing while having a regular source of income can spend on a car. A practical piece of advice would be to put in as much cash as possible to reduce monthly dues.
Others who are not very confident about purchasing brand new units can go for secondhand units that are reasonably priced and efficient. People who really see car ownership as a need but still want to save go for used cars in a weaker economy. Many local dealers offer a wide variety of models with features that are useful and easy.
While owning a car can be a need these days, the coronavirus pandemic will not be here forever. Being financially stable is more important than giving in to a spending trend that could have been in your savings. So consider if you should spend and make a well-informed decision.