Automotive: Driving and Car Ownership

Far lower in Britain compared to other major European markets, but higher than in the BRICS

84% of adults (aged 18+) in France have a driving licence themselves and acar in the household, compared to 81% in Germany and the US, 75% in Spain, 74% in Australia, 67% in Japan and just 64% in Britain. In the BRICS the proportions are rather lower, but the scope for growth is consequently huge. In Brazil and China (for China car ownership only, no licence information gathered) the figures are 57% and 34% respectively. In Russia it is lower at 27%, then down to 13% in South Africa and just 10% in India.

The discrepancy in figures within Europe can partly be explained by the fact that young people in Britain are far less likely to have a car or licence than their European counterparts. 39% of 18-24 year olds in Britain have a car and licence compared to 74% in Germany. 

The reasons behind why so few young people in Britain have a car and licence include car purchase and maintenance costs within the context of the economic down turn, high housing costs in Britain and big university tuition fee increases.

In China, 25% of 18-24 year olds have access to a car at home, rising steeply to 48% for 25-34 year olds. However, car ownership drops off sharply after around age 45, very different to Europe where those in later middle age are amongst the most likely groups to have a car. This can be explained in part by it being common practice in China for the older generation to be supported by their children, who may also have offspring themselves, thus stretching their disposable income beyond car ownership.

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