HANOVER, Germany—Describing private transportation as "the winner of the crisis," Continental A.G. said the use of privately owned cars and bicycles has gained considerable importance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Continental Mobility Study 2020, which polled people in Germany, France, Japan, China and the U.S., showed that well over 80 percent of respondents in Germany, France and China own the car they drive.
In Japan the figure drops to 70 percent while in the U.S. it surpasses 90 percent, Conti said in a Dec. 17 report, publishing the results of the two-stage survey.
"Private car use has seen strong growth, while sharing and hailing services, which have been booming in recent years, are suffering a significant slump," Continental said.
While ride-sharing concepts have gained in importance in recent years, particularly in urban areas, private transportation is firmly anchored in most people's everyday lives.
The trend, the German group expects, probably will remain so for "a long time to come," especially in rural areas where households are currently more likely to have their own car.
For most participants, the car is part of day-to-day mobility.
Some 57 percent of Americans use their vehicle on a daily or almost daily basis. Only the French (59 percent) use theirs more.
By contrast, only 34 percent of respondents in Japan said they used their car on a daily or almost daily basis.
In China, almost half of the respondents say they travel more by car. Similarly 57 percent of Japanese participants said they have been using public transport less frequently since the outbreak.
On whether the trend towards own cars will continue after the crisis, the survey found that 6 percent of respondents in Germany and 15 percent in the U.S. reported that they have bought a car or are considering buying one in the medium to long term.
In China, where the proportion of car owners is still significantly lower, as many as 58 percent of respondents reported the same.
Ariane Reinhart, Continental's executive board member for human relations and sustainability, said the findings show that there was "a global need for personal mobility."
With pressing climate issues, Reinhart said Conti's carbon neutrality commitment will contribute significantly to personal transportation.
Conti has pledged to switch to 100 percent green electricity in all of its plants as of this year.
The company also announced recently its carbon neutral for emission-free vehicles program, which aims to bridge the gap between emission-free mobility and carbon neutrality.