2016 DAT report: More cars with assistance systems – higher income accompanied by desire for “more car”
New cars in Germany are continually becoming more intelligent and safer. As shown by the 2016 report from DAT (the German Car Trust Agency), the list of equipment ordered by customers buying new cars includes numerous assistance systems that were simply not available five or ten years ago. For example, one new car in nine already has proximity control, and one in twelve new car buyers orders an emergency braking assistant or lane keeping assist. Today seven percent of new cars are already equipped with an alertness assistant.
Since November 1, 2014, all newly registered passenger cars in the EU have to be fitted with ESP and a tire pressure monitoring system – the proportion of vehicles with these systems in 2015 is therefore 100 percent in both cases. Ten years ago only two out of three new cars had ESP, and tire pressure sensors were not yet available.
Equipment with convenience functions is also rapidly becoming more popular. In 2005 only one quarter of new cars had GPS, whereas now the figure is 54 percent. The penetration rate for on-board computers has risen from 47 to 80 percent over the same period.
Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed: “The analysis also shows that new cars from German premium manufacturers are pioneers in particular with safety-related assistance systems and have above-average penetration rates. This applies to proximity control just as it does to the lane-change assistant, the lane keeping assist, and the emergency braking assistant. This means that today many accidents can already be avoided. German cars are becoming continually more intelligent and safer. And in the future our cars will be able to do a whole lot more – the trend toward connected and automated driving will even enable cars to send warnings to one another. Our goal is ‘Vision Zero’ and we want innovative technologies to bring down the accident figures even further.”
It is often claimed that men frequently “check more boxes” when it comes to extra equipment for the cars they buy – and now this has also been proved by the statistics. The new cars bought by men have far more additional features than those bought by women. According to DAT, new cars for male customers had 20.3 equipment features in 2015 (18.8 in 2014). Cars bought by women had 14.8 features (14.0 in 2014).
Again and again we hear that today cars no longer have the huge importance they used to have. One indicator of popularity is surely how much customers are prepared to pay. The DAT statistics come to a surprising conclusion: since data records for the DAT report began (in 1996), buyers of new cars in Germany have, year by year, invested a constant proportion of their annual income in the purchase of a new car. This calculation is based on the net monthly available household income, which is multiplied by twelve to give a figure for the annual income. The cost of a new car is compared with this, and in 1996 it was 61 percent, but in 2005 it had risen to 66 percent (23,880 euros out of 36,360 euros), in 2010 it was 60 percent (26,030 euros out of 43,284 euros) and in 2015 it was 59 percent (28,590 euros out of 48,552 euros). That means that independent of the absolute net available annual income, people in Germany always spend around 60 percent on buying a new car. Wissmann commented, “As incomes increase, apparently so does the desire for a better and more intelligent car.”