What are Australia's most popular cars?

What are Australia's most popular cars?

Buying a car is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make after buying a house, and it pays to research the right car just as thoroughly. 

With so many car types and brands around, you may be left scratching your head and wondering ‘what type of car should I buy?’. 

One way to help make this decision is to look at what car is the most popular. 

A Symbol of 60’s Freedom 

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If you were to keep up with the Joneses, you may find that the most popular car to buy could soon be something our adolescent selves only dreamed of. 

From its humble beginnings as a simple, motorised home, to its transformation into an iconic image of the 1960’s counterculture and hippie lifestyle, the campervan has been a beacon of nomadic life for generations.

According to Roy Morgan research, campervans reported the largest growth rate of any vehicle type, increasing by 4.5 per cent from 2016 to 2017. 

This growth can be attributed to the re-popularisation and highly-instagrammed resurgence of the campervan as an affordable way to live and travel. 

In 2016, an article from Vice claimed that “living out of a van is the new American Dream”. 

“I think that vandwelling [living out of vans, cars, or motorhomes, as a lifestyle] is becoming popular now due to its practicality and its lure of adventure,” said Zach Frost, a 27-year-old former vandweller. 

“Many people my age are drowning in student debt, unable to find a job, and don’t necessarily want to live with their parents. 

Living in a van is exciting, allows for mobility, and doesn’t cost terribly much. Plus, being able to live and work remotely anywhere on the globe is making vandwelling seem very attractive,” said Mr Frost. 

Australia’s most popular car

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In 2016, the Toyota HiLux took out the Australian sales crown, becoming the most popular car to buy that year. Clearly Australia’s love affair with utes is still holding strong. 

If your car daydreams are a little more grounded than a campervan, you will be happy to know that passenger vehicles (like the HiLux) account for 75.0 per cent of the national fleet. However, this is down 0.1 percentage points from 2016 to 2017.

After campervans, the vehicle type that has seen the most growth is light rigid trucks, followed by light commercial vehicles. 

What you should consider before buying a car 

There are a multitude of car options that suit urban and rural areas, big families and people who still haven’t quite mastered parallel parking. 

Roy Morgan research into motor vehicle usage in Australia found that there are 18.8 million registered motor vehicles as at 31 January 2017. 

Each car would have unique benefits to its drivers, so it’s important to identify which features suit your needs.

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How much is your car worth?

If you already own a car, you could potentially bring down the cost by selling your car in the process. Before that happens, though, you’ll need to find out how much your car is worth.

One of the first places to find this value is to research the value of your current car, giving you an idea of roughly how much it’s worth in its peak condition.

There are plenty of websites that offer a free online valuation, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with results listing a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Of course, dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it, making it highly unlikely that you’ll get the same price selling a car to a dealer as you would selling a car privately.

However, private car sales can be costly and can take months to sell, making car trading more convenient with a guaranteed return, even if you may not be able to realise the total value of your car’s worth.

Remember that everything is negotiable. If the dealership is offering you less for your trade than you wanted, try to negotiate elsewhere to gain that money back. Start by negotiating on the price of the trade and then ask them if they can give you a further discount on your new car.

Can I buy a car as a student?

Buying a car is a huge financial decision, and shy of marriage and purchasing a house (or perhaps around the world travels), it may be the biggest financial decision you make. But if you’re looking at your empty pockets, don’t despair! Your dream of owning your own car could become a reality, if you look for and compare the right car loans for your circumstances.

How much is my car worth?

If you own a car, it may be something that can help you bring down the cost of your next vehicle purchase through its sale. However, before you can do that you’ll want to find out how much your car is worth.

Your car’s worth can depend upon various aspects, including:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Model and make

A great starting place for aspects of this includes websites that offer online valuations, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with the listed results displaying a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Both have pros and cons, as cars can be very profitable, something that will no doubt impact any chance you have to make the most of your car’s value upon sale. Dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it for, so you shouldn’t expect the same price selling a car to a dealer that you would necessarily get selling a car privately.

What is a car loan?

A car loan, also known as vehicle finance, is money that a consumer borrows with the express purpose of buying a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, van, truck or campervan. Car loans can be used for both new and used vehicles.

What is the luxury car tax?

The federal government imposes a luxury car tax of 33 per cent on the value of a car above a threshold. As of the 2017-18 financial year, that threshold was $75,526 for fuel-efficient vehicles and $65,094 for other vehicles. So a fuel-efficient car worth $80,000 would be taxed only on the difference between the threshold and the value of the car ($4,474), rather than taxed on the entire $80,000. Similarly, an ordinary car worth $70,000 would be taxed on the $4,906 above the threshold, rather than the entire $70,000. The luxury car tax is paid by dealers that sell or import luxury cars, and also by individuals who import luxury cars.

What is an operating lease?

An operating lease is an arrangement by which a company leases a car from a vehicle fleet supplier for a set period. It’s a bit like a long-term car rental in that the company gains access to the car but the supplier retains ownership. Companies like operating leases because they are tax-deductible and because they save the company from having to make a large upfront payment to buy a car.

What is a CHP?

A CHP, or commercial hire purchase, is an arrangement by which a finance company buys a car on your behalf. You get to borrow the car in return for making regular payments to the financier. Once the final payment is made, you take ownership of the car. 

What is proof of income?

Before giving you a car loan, lenders will ask for proof of income – documentary evidence that you earn as much as you claim you earn. Lenders will typically want some combination of tax returns, pay slips and bank statements. The reason lenders want proof of income is because they want to be sure you have the means to repay the car loan.

What is an upfront fee?

An upfront fee is a one-off fee that many lenders charge when you take out a car loan.

What is a novated lease?

A novated lease is a car lease that is ‘novated’, or transferred from one party to another. Novated leases are often used when companies provide a car as part of a salary package. The employer signs for the lease and makes the lease payments, but the employee assumes the responsibility of looking after the car. While most car leases involve two parties, novated leases involve three – employer, employee and financier.

How much can I get towards a new car as a single parent?

It really depends on your financial circumstances as to how much a lender will grant you towards a new car as a single parent. With most lenders, the smaller the loan you apply for, the higher your chances are of approval, so getting a cheaper car or adding some savings of your own, may be a valid option if you are struggling for approval on a car loan.

Can I get a loan if I am on aged pension?

Yes, there are certain lenders that provide loans for people on aged pensions. Your viability for a loan will be assessed by a lender by your credit report and your income. They will also take into account any assets you have that you may want to secure the loan with. The better your credit score, the more likely you are to be accepted for a loan, and the lower the interest you will have to pay on that loan.  

If you have a bad credit rating and are on an aged pension however, don’t despair, because there are specialised lenders who still may be willing to provide you with a loan.

What is a chattel mortgage?

A chattel mortgage is a mortgage on a movable item. In the case of a car loan, the chattel is the vehicle. The lender maintains a mortgage over the chattel/vehicle until the loan is fully repaid.

What are loan repayments?

Loan repayments are the regular payments you make to pay off your car loan. Loan repayments generally occur on a monthly basis, although many lenders will also give you the option of making fortnightly or weekly loan repayments.