OK, it’s Belgium which is a small car market, but the trend is similar to the UK; people are covering fewer miles and keeping their cars for longer as new cars such as battery powered models are priced beyond their salary level. Here’s the word from AG;
According to a study that AG Insurance recently conducted, 62% of Belgians indicate that they have deliberately driven less in the past year. Furthermore, almost 40% of Belgians have saved on the expenses for their car in the same period. One less car wash is not a problem, but the fact that more than 20% of the respondents indicate that they have also saved on the maintenance of the car, gives cause for thought.
Some 47% also think it is (very) important that repairs to a car are done in a sustainable way, which suggests that networks like e2e are onto something when it comes to green spare parts.
Belgians are driving less
The most striking result from the survey conducted by AG is that 62% of respondents indicate that they have deliberately driven less in the past year. For 61%, financial reasons (for example due to the energy crisis) play a role in this, while 47% say they also drive less out of concern for the environment. For 16% of Belgians, more teleworking means fewer kilometres on the clock.
Those who drive a limited number of kilometres per year appear to be more convinced or more able to drive less than those who drive more kilometres. In the group that drives a maximum of 7,500 km per year, more than 65% have deliberately driven less in the past year. For those who do more than 25,000 km per year, this percentage is 53%.
There appears to be no clear trend between “deliberately driving less last year” and “age group” says AG, Age plays no role in the above-mentioned reduction in miles/Kms travelled.
Cutting back on servicing
In addition to deliberately driving less, Belgians also save on the costs related to a car. 37% of Belgians indicate that they have recently saved on the maintenance of their vehicle for financial reasons. That said, many modern cars don’t show a service warning light for some 12-16,000 miles in some cases, so perhaps drivers are simply obeying the manufacturer’s instructions?
About 22% deliberately spent less on the maintenance of the car. About 17% have saved on tyres, while 14% indicate that they will carry out repairs later or even not for financial reasons. Just over 1 in 4 Belgians have also postponed or reduced their visit to the car wash.
Within this theme we also see a number of significant regional differences:
- In the north of the country, 36% have saved on car costs, compared to 45% in the south.
- We also see differences in savings on maintenance (19% North vs. 26% South) and repairs (12% North vs. 16% South). The car wash, on the other hand, is more likely to be skipped in the north (28%) than in the south (22%) of the country.
In line with the observation that about half of the respondents indicate that they take the car less from the stables for environmental reasons, an equally large group of Belgians (more than 47%) also thinks it is important that repairs to their car are done in such an environmentally friendly way. AG responds to this in various ways.
For example, more and more “green parts” (second-hand parts) are used in repairs, instead of new parts. Furthermore, AG also promotes, for example, the technique of Paintless Dent Removal” (PDR) in repairing small dents. PDR is a manual method to repair small dents in the bodywork without the use of paint or energy. Much more sustainable than other methods that do involve painting, for example.
AG is promoting the use of this sustainable PDR technology this week at its Car Repair Days in Namur (5 and 6 May, Namur Expo), where some 1,500 drivers can have up to 3 dents removed from their cars free of charge.
Some other fun facts from the survey
The AG survey also reveals a number of fun facts about the Belgian and his car (use):
- 56% of Belgians bought their car new, compared to 44% second-hand.
- Unfortunately, the view on Belgian roads is quite colourless: no less than 70% of Belgian cars are black (23%), white (12%) or grey (20% light grey and 15% dark grey). Yellow (2%); green (2%) and red (7%) provide a good 10% slightly more frivolous colors on Belgian roads.