The miracle of motoring
Henry Ford changed the world in 1913
when he revolutionised how cars were made. For the first time, everyday people could have their own taste of luxury.
Before then, cars were mostly run by steam or electric
and few could afford them. Battery-charging limitations meant these plans stalled and manufacturers shifted their focus to gasoline-powered cars.
The UK was late to catch on
While Ford’s assembly line made car production cheaper and easier to run, in the UK it took a while for attitudes to change. Buses and coaches continued to rule the roads until well after the 1950s.
But, as car manufacturing grew, and less money was invested in public transport, more people began buying their own cars. By the 1970s, 75% of road users in the UK travelled in privately owned vehicles.
Having multiple cars in a single household is a fairly modern phenomenon. Even in the 1980s, only 15% of UK households owned more than 1 car. Nowadays, it’s a very different story with 8 out of 10 UK drivers having at least 2 cars, according to our research.
Far from showing wealth and status, 50% of respondents got their first car to get more reliable travel. The main influence behind buying a second car was having a growing family.
While finance plans have made car ownership more accessible, our research showed 59% of respondents still purchase their second car through savings. This suggests many Brits still get a sense of pride from owning – rather than leasing – a car.
The present reaches boiling point
Major cities are starting to see the opposite effect, as more people choose to commute on public transport. Central London alone has seen a 30% decrease in traffic over the last decade
, with this number set to drop further in the coming years.
Additionally, the number of young drivers has fallen 40% since the 1990s,
as more young people move to cities and use other means to commute. As we become more connected online, there’s also less demand for young people to find independence with a car, compared to the 90s.
The future is electric
With climate change reaching crisis levels, and the government pledging to ban all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040
, the UK is having to consider greener ways of getting around.
In 2018, the Department of Transport annual statistics
showed a 30% decrease in the number of registered diesel cars compared to 2017. This was matched with a 22% increase in the number of alternative fuel cars being registered, which includes pure electric vehicles.