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Global Automotive Consumer Study 2017

German market perspective

The analysis focuses on the impact new technologies like alternative powertrains, connected vehicle technology, fully self-driving cars and ride-sharing on the transportation have on German consumer transportation choices.

German market perspective

The Global Automotive Consumer Study investigates "the change of nature in mobility". Within this theme, the study focuses on the impact new technologies like alternative powertrains, connected vehicle technology, fully self-driving cars and ride-sharing have on consumer transportation choices.

Deloitte’s Global Automotive Consumer Study 2017 is based on a survey of 22,078 respondents in 17 countries. Our separate German analysis (see download on the right side) focuses on the German market perspective and compares German consumer preferences internationally with those of the UK, France, Italy, USA, Brazil, China and India.

Key findings

The results are clustered into the four categories mentioned above: 

1. Autonomous driving
  • Skepticism towards autonomous vehicles in Germany/Western Europe and the US is a huge issue: Only 28% of all German respondents believe fully self-driving vehicles will be safe.
  • People see greater benefits of autonomous vehicles on highways than in cities: Among Germans who think self-driving vehicles can be helpful, 81% think they could benefit from those on highways.
  • As the countries with the greatest acceptance of and demand for self-driving technologies, China and India are interesting markets to introduce autonomous driving: Around 60% of Chinese and Indian respondents find fully self-driving vehicles desirable to meet their individual and family needs.
2. Connectivity
  • In general, customers in all participating countries greatly fear someone hacking into their car and putting their personal safety at risk: In all participating countries, around 80% fear someone hacking into their car and risking their personal safety.
  • Across all generations, Germans do not have confidence in data security, making Germany the most skeptical country: In Germany 70% believe that their personal data generated from cars is not safe and secure from hackers.
3. Powertrain
  • Across all generations the interest in alternative powertrains is increasing, even though most people still drive with conventional engine types: 97% of German respondents drive with conventional engines types (gasoline or diesel).
  • Of all new technologies, customers are willing to pay the most for alternative engine types (particularly younger generations). Internationally, China and India show the highest willingness to pay for new technologies; France the least: 43% of all Chinese intend to buy a hybrid vehicle as their next vehicle, currently already 7% drive with hybrid engines.
  • People are very demanding when it comes to the charging times and travel range in all-battery powered electric vehicles. While younger generations are more likely to make compromises overall, Germany is by far the most demanding country when it comes to travel range: 66% of all Germans want an all-battery powered electric vehicle to be able to drive 400 km or more on full charge.
4. Ride-Sharing
  • In Western Europe, ride-sharing is far less popular than it is in China, India, Brazil or the US. Take-up rates are highest among younger generations in Europe’s urban areas: Almost one in two Indians in urban areas use ride-sharing services at least once a week (47%, but only 9% in Germany).
  • Current mobility options make car ownership in urban areas less interesting. However, Germans are less willing to give up car ownership: 66% of all Americans urban dwellers are thinking about giving up their cars. In Germany, it is 43%.


Whereas skepticism towards autonomous vehicles in Germany/Western Europe and the US is quite high, China and India are the most open and demanding countries for self-driving technologies and therefore interesting markets to introduce autonomous vehicles. Chinese customers would more likely trust companies that are specialized in autonomous vehicles to bring self-driving vehicles to the market, so cooperation with technology partners might be an option (another reason for that phenomenon might be the lack of strong Chinese OEMs). Compared with other countries, German Premium OEMs have very good reputation internationally and emerge as the most trusted brands to offer self-driving cars in the future. Autonomous vehicle technology could start off on highways, where people see the strongest benefit

As people from all countries highly fear someone hacking into their car and risking their personal safety, successful lighthouse pilot projects could help establish and build up trust over time, especially in very skeptical countries like Germany.

OEMs should increase their effort regarding new alternative engine technologies to meet and address customers interests (especially younger generations). Additional costs can (at least partially) be passed on the customers due to their increased willingness to pay. 

Current mobility options make living without a car easier, especially younger generations in urban areas are losing interest in owning a car. A shift from car ownership towards usership is occurring in urban areas across the globe. In comparison to other countries, Germans are still less likely to give up car ownership. Nevertheleless, OEM car sales in B2C segment will likely shrink, while there is a greater potential to win customers for B2B business, e.g. transport companies will lease/purchase entire fleets of autonomous vehicles when self-driving technologies enter the market. OEMs develop more into a mobility provider, moving away from the typical image of a traditional car manufacturer.


Global Automotive Consumer Study: German Results

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