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Public Transport on Decline; 2-Wheelers, Small Cars to See a Rise: Network18 Public Sentimeter Poll

Edited By: Arjit Garg

News18.com

Last Updated: May 30, 2020, 17:31 IST

Image for Representation
(Reuters)

Image for Representation (Reuters)

Automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and Tata Motors expect demand for personal vehicles to go up in the country as social distancing and fear associated with COVID-19 veer people away from public transport.

In a massive online survey done by Network18 in 13 languages and across all our digital and social news platforms - News18, Moneycontrol, Firstpost and CNBC-TV18, with close to 50 thousand responses in all, it was found that a lot of respondents won't prefer public transport once the lockdown is over. Instead, they will prefer using their own vehicles to travel.

The poll which ran for a week from May 21 to May 28 found that almost 70% of respondents on an average across the languages said they will prefer own vehicles to travel for work. While 84% Punjabi speaking respondents said they will use personal vehicles, Bengalis were the least fearful with only 34% saying they will use personal vehicles.

However, instead of saying they will travel in public transport, equal number of Bengalis said they don't know or can't say about the future possibilities. On the other hand, 30% of the Urdu and Tamil speaking respondents were ready to travel in public transport, the maximum in our survey.

Interestingly, when asked on the possibility to take ride hailing services like Ola and Uber, non of them showed any interest.

This study is synonymous with our interactions with industry leaders who echo the same thought on increasing use of two-wheelers and small cars for travelling. When asked, Kia Motors India Marketing and Sales Vice President and Head, Manohar Bhat said 'the use of public transport will decline in coming days and people will prefer smaller cars'.



Automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and Tata Motors expect demand for personal vehicles to go up in the country as social distancing and fear associated with COVID-19 veer people away from public transport.

The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) expects demand to shift towards lower-priced cars in the post-lockdown scenario. "People will prefer personal vehicles over public transport and it comes out from different consumer surveys which we have conducted," MSI Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Shashank Srivastava told PTI.

"So the shift is expected towards smaller cars and first-time buyers. We are already witnessing this trend in around 1,800 dealerships which we have been able to re-open in the past few days," Srivastava said. Previous trends have also shown that consumers gravitate towards established brands during stress periods, he noted.

Echoing similar views, Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) Senior Vice President and Director, Marketing and Sales, Rajesh Goel said that considering people will be extra careful against COVID-19, personal mobility will gain much more significance than shared mobility or public transport, and hence can contribute to sales.

"Apart from new car sales in different segments, we feel that customers would also consider certified used car sales as they can afford a well maintained nice looking car with much more affordability," he added

A recent analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment claimed the use of public transport is expected to reduce for six months post-lockdown and 'health safety' will be the top priority for people while choosing the most suitable mode of travel.

"While the use of public transport is expected to reduce in the short run, there is a positive shift in attitude towards high-quality public transport, contact-free walking and cycling and lifestyle adjustment to reduce unnecessary travel trips in the longer term," the environment policy think tank said.