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Aussies buying more cars, making more purchase plans


Mark Bristow

Mark Bristow


The latest trend data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows an increase in new car purchases over the past month. Meanwhile, more Australians are making plans to buy a new car in the next four years, according to Roy Morgan research.

The latest ABS Sales of New Motor Vehicles stats indicate that Aussies bought 0.3% more cars nationwide in August 2017 than in July 2017.

This follows a dip in new car sales experienced in July 2017.

In annual trend terms, the numbers went up by 2.7%, an improvement on the 1.8% recorded in July 2017.

Looking state by state, the largest upward movement recorded on a monthly trend basis was in the Northern Territory (0.9%), continuing an upward trend that began in January 2017.  The largest downward movement recorded on a trend basis was in Tasmania (-0.6%).

Region August sales Monthly change Annual change
NSW 33416 0% 1.2%
VIC 28,806 0.7% 4.6%
QLD 20,078 0.3% 4.6%
SA 6206 0.4% 4.1%
WA 8176 0.7% -1.3%
TAS 1556 -0.6% -8.8%
NT 976 0.9% 9.4%
ACT 1594 0.3% 4.9%
National 100,809 0.3% 2.7%

These figures continue the broadly upward trend in car sales that has been taking place ever since the GFC, when the market experienced a significant slump.

Car sale numbers to rise higher?

Looking to the future, a Roy Morgan survey has found that 2.457 million Australians intend to purchase a new car in the next four years – an increase of 53,000 from July, and only marginally lower than the fifteen-year high recorded in February 2017.

In the shorter-term future, the number of Australians intending to purchase a new car in the next 12 months was also found to have increased by 9.2% over the last quarter to 679,000.

According to Roy Morgan Research industry communications director, Norman Morris, Australians intending to purchase a new car over the next 12 months had a much higher level of consumer confidence than the population average.

“Over the last three months, there has been considerable optimism in the new car market as shown by the steady increase in buying intentions for the next four years and strong confidence among new car buyers. Although VFacts sales to August are only up marginally on last year, strong intention levels indicate that it is likely to be another good year for the industry.”

Mr Morris added that the increase in new vehicle intentions was primarily driven by a continuing market trend towards SUVs, light SUVs and light commercial vehicles, with passenger vehicle intentions remaining unchanged. 

This broadly corresponds with the ABS findings, which saw sales for SUVs and Other vehicles increase by 0.8% and 0.7% respectively between July 2017 and August 2017, while Passenger vehicles decreased by 0.4%.

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