BBE economic factor of classic and modern classic cars

Over recent years, the general conditions for classic cars have shifted significantly in Germany. Not only the ever-growing number of vehicles affected but also a professionalization in the support sector and changing leisure behavior by owners lead to the conclusion that activities involving classic cars now represent a significant economic factor. However, no detailed, reliable and, above all, current insights are available about this, because the last study into the matter was conducted in 2006.

The Cologne consulting company, BBE Automotive GmbH, therefore carried out an investigation aimed at shedding light on the economic factor of classic and modern classic cars. The goal of the investigation was to reveal the total market volume, and the economic potential deriving from classic and modern classic cars in all their facets. Furthermore, the requirements and behavior of the target group were of interest. Not only the VDA but other well-known associations and companies supported the conduct of the study. Significant components of the study included the analysis of registration figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) as at January 1, 2013, evaluation of 1,700 online questionnaires filled in by owners of classic vehicles, results from the BIX workshop survey as well as the Allensbach classic car analysis, which is also supported by the VDA.

The study shows that there are three groups of classic automobiles in the market: “True classic cars,” which are 30 or more years old, modern classic cars that are used as leisure vehicles and finally, passenger cars more than 15 years old that are still in everyday use in spite of their advancing years. The study split the market into “Emotion” and “Rationality”: 39 percent of vehicles were counted as true classic cars (620,000 units) or modern classic cars (1.94 million units), which are used above all during leisure time. Owners of this group regard their car with passionate emotion, and justify the expenditure as a worthwhile investment in their favorite hobby. 61 percent (3.98 million units) are older vehicles that are still in everyday use. The annual expenditure for all vehicles devoted to vehicle maintenance as well as peripheral and leisure-oriented expenditure amounts to 14.1 billion euros. Of this, 23 percent (3.6 billion euros) is spent on classic cars. A special aspect of the study is that it offers the possibility to calculate existing market volumes by brand and/or region. This level of detail is of significant benefit to vehicle manufacturers in their after-sales activities.

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