Data from insurer Direct Line shows how two or more vehicles has become the norm in car-owning households
Does your family have only one car? Then you are part of a new minority group, according to insurer Direct Line, who found that among driving households two or more cars have become the norm – with more than two million having at least four.
Direct Line analysed its 3.7m car insurance policies, and found that just one in three households owned a single car, while 47% had two cars, 16% had three and 6% had four cars on their driveway, or fighting for a parking space on Britain's crowded roads.
Gender differences in car ownership and type are also narrowing fast, said Direct Line. It found that women typically drove a 1.6-litre car, while men owned a 1.7-litre vehicle. "The stereotype of dad driving the bigger, more powerful car and mum driving an economical unaround no longer appears to be accurate, as one in six (16%) women drives a car with at least two litres of engine power, and one in ten women (10%) drives a 4x4 or a MPV," said a Direct Line spokesperson.
The rise of the multi-car household is partly down to teenagers sticking around at home long into their twenties, said Direct Line. "Around 70% of motoring households have more than one car, and with more people living with their parents into their twenties this could increase even further."
The figures only cover households that have a vehicle. Separate survey data from the Department of Transport show the number of households without a car in 2012 was 25%, down from 30% in 1995/97.It also showed an increase in the number of multiple car households, suggesting that 31% of households had two or more cars.
UK car sales have recovered strongly in the past year, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders forecasting that 2.25m vehicles will be sold in Britain in 2013, up 10% on 2012 although still below the peak of 2.4m in 2007.
The Ford Fiesta is currently the top-selling model, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus and VW Golf. The UK car market is now the second biggest in Europe, just behind Germany and having overtaken France, where sales have plunged in recent years. The French Automakers Committee reported this week that sales were down 7% over the 11 months to November and remain nearly a fifth below their peak in 2009.