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Europe’s vehicle inventory on downward spiral

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Autonomous driving car and digital speedometer technology image visual. One Photo |

Forecast: By 2030, Europe’s vehicle inventory of 280 million expected to drop to 200 million, China’s to grow by 50%

Modelling results

The vehicle inventory will fall significantly in some markets …

In light of the increased utilisation of the fleet, fewer vehicles will be required in the future. PwC Autofacts estimates that the inventory in Europe of currently just over 280 million vehicles could drop by 2030 to around 200 million. This would be a decrease of over 25%. For the US, we forecast a reduction of 22% to 212 million vehicles. Due to the different market situation in China, the inventory there could grow by almost 50% in the same time period to 276 million vehicles, despite the higher utilisation.

… but vehicle sales will continue to increase

Despite the falling inventory, vehicle sales will visibly increase. Vehicles that are used in the traditional way will remain in the inventory for a comparatively long time. By contrast, autonomous, and in particular, shared autonomous vehicles will be changed far more frequently, resulting in rising sales figures. Across Europe, new car sales could rise by 34% during the transformation process from around 18 million to just over 24 million units. For the US, PwC Autofacts assumes that there could be growth of 20% and new car sales of almost 22 million in the year 2030. For China, a rise of over 30% to 35 million units sold is expected.

Internal view and automatic self command driving with smartphone,Electric smart car technology. Chanida Prachoomdaeng |

Autonomous driving and electrification are mutually beneficial

The automation of driving (i.e. so – called autonomous driving) will initially increase primarily in narrowly defined and geographically restricted areas – most likely mainly in inner cities and on highways. This is also due to the fact that the dimensions autonomous and electrified are mutually supportive. For example, autonomous vehicles create a clear case for electrical drive since the “inner city” use case is aimed at just this scenario. One example of this is an automatic charging process that uses inductive charging. The reciprocal effect of these two dimensions results in a positive overall effect. It therefore seems possible that by 2030 there will only be a small, single-digit percentage of pure combustion engines among new car sales in the EU. In this scenario, more than 55% of new cars will already be fully electrified. Forty percent of new vehicles would still include hybrid drive technologies in combination with combustion engines.

In a theoretical 100% Robotaxi scenario, the striking reduction in inventory could more than compensate for the effect of the shorter renewal rate and could lead to a drop in new car sales. In such a scenario, it is calculated that 14% of the existing inventory in the EU could be enough to satisfy the entire mobility demand – realistically, however, many more vehicles would need to be available to cover daily and seasonal demand peaks.


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