Australians are buying more new cars than ever, with Queenslanders buying the third highest number of new cars in the country.
But what does it all mean if you’re looking for a new car? And what does it have to do with prices on the lot?
Car buyers are spoiled for choice, with more and more options for every budget and every buyer, whether you're upgrading to a bigger vehicle for a growing passenger list or downsizing to have more fun without having to carry everyone in the back.
SUVs are the hot ticket item for new car buyers – with over 50,000 more registered last year than in 2014. Smaller SUVs, particularly – like the Holden Trax, Mitsubishi ASX, Ford EcoSport and Nissan Juke and Qashqai – had a bumper year with nearly 24,000 new vehicles registered in 2015.
This is partly due to carmakers shifts to offer more SUVs in their lineups, and the personal taste of buyers who want the versatility more space brings, a higher seating position and the safety of being in a ‘bigger’ car on the road.
Carmakers like to make the most of a good thing, so expect offers on their hottest models to keep up demand and increase their market share. You might be spoiled for choice with options on the showroom floor, as dealerships try to keep the most popular models on hand to match demand – meaning you may be able to get into an SUV with custom options quicker than another vehicle with comparable options list.
Even though new passenger car purchases declined in 2015, they’re still the most popular purchase – with over 515,000 new cars registered nationally last year. Medium cars – which count the Ford Mondeo, Holden Insignia and Malibu, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry in their ranks – had strong growth in the real world, with more than 8,700 models on the roads. In fact, the Camry was in fact the best selling in its segment for the 24th year in a row.
Surprisingly, people movers had the strongest growth in terms of increased sales. Even though they made up just a hair under 12,000 of the new cars registered – this represents a 16.9% increase in sales. The Kia Carnival is the market leader and strongest performer, while the Toyota Tarago and smaller Kia Rondo post respectable numbers in a small segment.
Passenger cars are the bread and butter of the car industry. Even though most of us would love that brand new sports car, or dream of a luxury limousine to drive us around – that two seater sporty coupe won’t be much fun if you have to do three trips just to get your kids to school, and that super luxurious, hand built status symbol will feel a whole less premium if your dog gets sick on the back seat when you’re taking him to the beach.
That’s why hatches, sedans and wagons are the lifeblood of carmakers and, increasingly, they are getting better levels of equipment and safety, to bring them into line with what’s expected in a new car.
Just because SUVs are the big seller in caryards, doesn’t mean that carmakers stop making other kinds of vehicles. In fact, it’s often a benefit for other cars that SUVs are so popular – meaning that dealers are often eager to shift cars that can get forgotten by buyers focused on something bigger, but not necessarily better. Factory offers will usually give you attractive driveaway pricing on passenger cars to sweeten the deal
Businesses, especially, appreciate the lower running costs of sedans and wagons compared to a similarly optioned SUV, and if you’re looking for something practical with low running costs, then a small or medium passenger car is perfect for you.
‘Commercial’ vehicles aren’t just limited to white vans and steel trayback utes anymore. More and more people who use their work vehicles for family duties demanded that carmakers improve safety, design and performance so that it didn’t feel like hard work once they’d clocked off.
Vans had a big year, selling 17.5% more than in 2014, with the Toyota Hiace doing particularly well, and offerings like the new Ford Transit range carving a slice of the pie.
4x4 utes, though, were the biggest seller again, as tradies, small business owners and increasingly private buyers bought a vehicle that can not only survive a construction site, but provide reasonable performance and creature comforts for the family on the weekends – with the added bonus of being able to carry a few hundred kilos of luggage in the back.
If you need something that’s not only practical, but also versatile – then the light commercial market is teeming with options. Safety standards introduced by governments now demand that vehicles have greater levels of equipment to protect occupants and other road users, while comfort levels have been upgraded in line with expectations from modern vehicles – with air-conditioning, multimedia systems and technology packages standard across ranges of vehicles that were once built on the same production lines as big trucks and farm machinery.
It’s no surprise that 4x4 utes continue to be a strong performer, with brands keen to capitalise on Australia’s harsh driving environments. The capability of the 4WD systems in utes like the Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, combined with the competitive carrying and towing capacities – the ute has become an popular choice on Australian roads.
Because commercial vehicles have become a must have item, carmakers are offering deals to both business and private buyers, with added bonuses and attractive finance rates for customers looking to step into a ute or van.
Competition starts to heat up leading into the end of financial year, as car companies offer deep discounts to make the most of people and businesses getting their balance sheets in order for tax time.
The team at Motorama can find you your next car, and with new models arriving all the time there is bound to be something to test drive that takes your fancy, so speak to the friendly sales team at your nearest Motorama dealership or check out our latest reviews.
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