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What's everyone buying?

When it’s time to buy a new car, there’s a lot to consider: how much can you afford, what its purpose will be and so on.

We took a look at what everyone is buying to see what the trends across brands are, and what vehicles to look at to get the best deals.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) comprises of member companies, to represent the Australian automotive industry across the board from lobbying for greater safety and environmental standards from manufacturers to monitoring sales performance of vehicles sold in Australia.

Every month, the FCAI puts together the VFACTS report to show the raw data and trends of sales figures from almost all new car dealerships in Australia.

For the first half of 2015, Australian’s have bought a total of 578,427 vehicles, and of that, Queenslander’s bought 121,198 vehicles

Passenger vehicles (hatches, sedans, wagons, sports coupes or people movers) made up 260,752 of the sales, while SUV sales made up 199,671 of all new cars parked in driveways across Australia. This means that just over 34 per cent of cars registered in 2015 have been SUVs, versus 45 per cent of passenger vehicles.

So, now that we’re in the back half of the year, what has everyone been buying in 2015?

Where are the trends?

If you bought a car in the first half of 2015, you either went for a small car or an SUV, with very little in between.

SUVS: The big sellers

SUVs continue to dominate the new car market, outselling any other passenger car on the road. In fact, unless you were buying a small car like a hatchback or small sedan, you were probably driving around in an SUV.

This could be due to the fact that the definition of what makes an SUV is broader than what it used to be. Rather than big, off-road four-wheel drive wagons, it may be anything from a city-sized front-wheel driver up to the traditional off-roaders that are built to go anywhere.

The SUV market increased nearly 14% in the first half of the year, thanks mostly to small SUVs. The top sellers included the Nissan Qashqai and Mitsubishi ASX, who have stolen sales from the top seller (the Hyundai ix35) from last year.

Passenger cars

Light cars are also in favour with buyers looking to save fuel and cut down running costs. The Toyota Yaris is in a tight race with the Mazda2 to be top of the leader board, with the Mazda getting the upper hand by just 125 vehicles. This makes it a great buy as used car, where you can find competitive deals as the model is updated.

People movers proved to be a strong seller – with the Kia Carnival in an even tighter race with the Honda Odyssey, with only 19 vehicles in it.

The Carnival was updated more recently than the Odyssey, and was generally the segment leader until it was muscled out a few years ago as the last generation aged. The heated competition will prove an advantage for buyers at this end of the market, who need more space than an SUV can provide, with the same or better levels of comfort.

Light commercial vehicles: dual-cab utes carrying the weight

Light commercial vehicles were traditionally a small player in the market, bought by businesses to haul equipment around to jobs. However, with the mining and construction booms of the last decade, everyday drivers have seen light commercial vehicles as a good option – a car for work during the week with enough space to take on odd jobs at home on the weekend. At first, growth was slow, as car manufacturers scrambled to boost safety and comfort features in a segment that was once defined by practicality alone.

Now, commercial vehicles have the same or even better safety features than passenger cars. Dual cab utes, in particular, are now seen as an equal to SUVs or larger cars – in terms of capability and practicality.

4x4 utes in particular picked up the slack in a segment that doesn’t grow at the rapid pace of SUVs.  The Toyota Hilux remains the top of the leaderboard with the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado and Nissan Navara rounding out the top 5, respectively.

Why does it matter?

By looking at the trends, you can see what is more likely to be offered with special discounts or deals. If a particular vehicle is just behind a competitor, a manufacturer may offer a discount or added value (like more standard equipment) to entice customers to their brand.

This also works in reverse, where a particular vehicle may not be doing as well as the manufacturer wants – they’ll add a deal to undercut their rivals. This strategy is normally done in run outs when a brand needs to make way for a new model, but established models with no new model on the horizon may start to be offered with added value items to pinch sales from competitors.

If you look at trends with new cars now, you can also see what the used car market will be like in a few years – if that’s when you’re planning on buying a car. For example, if someone in your family is learning to drive – you might start to look at last year or this year’s new cars, which will start to get traded in and be sold off by business fleets when you might be shopping with them for their first proper car on their open licence.

Motorama has new cars from Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia, Holden, HSV and Ford, as well as over 800 used cars of every make and model. With the latest specials on our new car brands, and used cars to suit every budget – our friendly sales teams can help you decide on a car that’s right for you.