Aussies love cars more, petrol less

Aussies love cars more, petrol less

Our love affair with cars has deepened over the past five years, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

As of 31 January 2017, there were 581 registered motor vehicles per 1,000 people – 0.3 per cent higher than the figure recorded in 2016 and 2.5 per cent higher than in 2012.

The number of cars on the road has also increased. There were 18.8 million registered motor vehicles at the end of January – up 2.1 per cent over one year and 12.2 per cent over five years.

2017 2016 2012
Registered motor vehicles 18.8 million 18.4 million 16.7 million
Vehicles per 1,000 people 581 579 567
Vehicles’ average age 10.1 years 10.1 years 10.0 years

Petrol loses market share

While Australians are loving cars more, they’re loving petrol cars less.

The share of vehicles that use petrol fell from 81.1 per cent in 2012 to 75.7 per cent in 2017. Meanwhile, diesel jumped from 15.9 per cent to 22.2 per cent.

Passenger vehicles represent 75.0 per cent of vehicles on the road and motorcycles 4.5 per cent – figures that are largely unchanged over the past five years.

The rest of the vehicle fleet consists of trucks, buses, vans and campervans.

2017 2016 2012
Diesel share 22.2% 20.9% 15.9%
Petrol share 75.7% 76.7% 81.1%
Other fuel share 2.1% 2.3% 3.1%
Passenger vehicles share 75.0% 75.1% 75.9%
Motorcycles share 4.5% 4.5% 4.2%

Toyota remains top dog

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Toyota, Holden and Ford were the top three brands in both 2012 and 2017, according to registration statistics.

However, while Toyota’s market share remained constant during that five-year period, Holden and Ford suffered significant losses.

Mazda, Hyundai and Volkswagen were the big winners in the top 10, with each manufacturer increasing its market share by more than one percentage point.

Rank Brand 2017 2016 2012
1 Toyota 20.2% 20.2% 20.0%
2 Holden 13.1% 13.8% 16.1%
3 Ford 9.1% 9.8% 12.6%
4 Mazda 8.1% 7.7% 6.4%
5 Hyundai 7.2% 6.9% 5.8%
6 Mitsubishi 5.9% 6.1% 7.1%
7 Nissan 5.8% 5.8% 5.9%
8 Honda 4.9% 4.9% 4.7%
9 Subaru 4.5% 4.3% 3.9%
10 Volkswagen 3.2% 3.0% 2.0%

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Learn more about car loans

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 depreciation?

Depreciation is the reduction in the value of your car. Almost every car loses value each year, although at different rates. As a guide, cars depreciate on average by 14 per cent per year in the first three years and then eight per cent per year after that.

What is CTP insurance?

CTP insurance, also known as compulsory third-party insurance or a green slip, is compulsory if you want to register a vehicle in Australia. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your CTP insurance will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, CTP insurance doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.

What is equity?

The equity is the share of the car that you own. For example, if you take out a $15,000 loan to buy a $20,000 car, you have $5,000 of equity in the vehicle, or 25 per cent. (The lender has the other 75 per cent.) Equity changes over time as you pay off your loan and your car depreciates in value. For example, two years later you might now owe $10,000 on your car, which might now be worth $15,000. In that case, you would still have $5,000 of equity in the vehicle, but your share would be 33 per cent.

What is a variable-rate loan?

A variable-rate loan is one where the lender can change the interest rate whenever it wants. For example, if you sign up for a variable-rate loan at 8.75 per cent, the lender might change the interest rate to 8.90 per cent the month after and then 8.65 per cent the month after that. By contrast, if you take out a five-year fixed-rate loan at 8.75 per cent, the lender is obliged to leave your interest rate at 8.75 per cent for at least five years.

What is an interest rate?

The interest rate is the price you have to pay for borrowing money. The interest rate is expressed as an annual percentage of however much of the loan remains to be paid. For example, if you took out a $10,000 car loan with an interest rate of 8.75 per cent, you would be charged 8.75 per cent of $10,000, or $875 of interest per year. But if you then reduced the outstanding loan to $9,000, your annual interest bill would be 8.75 per cent of $9,000, or $787.50.

What is dealer finance?

Dealer finance is a car loan organised through a car dealer – as opposed to car loans organised by a finance broker or directly by the lender.

What is resale value?

The resale value is the price you could realistically charge if you were to sell your car. Almost every car loses value each year, although at different rates. As a guide, cars depreciate on average by 14 per cent per year in the first three years and then eight per cent per year after that.

What is a fixed-rate loan?

A fixed-rate loan is one where the interest rate remains constant for an agreed amount of time. For example, if you take out a five-year fixed-rate loan at 8.75 per cent, the lender is obliged to leave your interest rate at 8.75 per cent for at least five years. By contrast, if you take out a variable-rate loan at 8.75 per cent, the lender can change the interest rate whenever it wants.

What is a dealership?

A dealership is a car yard or a place where cars are sold.

Can you put a deposit on a car to hold it?

It’s up to individual car dealers to decide whether to promise to hold on to cars in exchange for deposits.

Some car dealers will request a deposit and promise, in return, to hold on to the car for a certain period of time. Others will request a deposit but make no guarantees, other than to return the deposit if they end up selling the car to someone else.

Some car dealers ask for deposits; others don’t. If you get asked for a deposit and you decide to pay it, make sure the dealer gives you signed paperwork before you make the payment and a receipt after you’ve made the payment.

What is a guarantor car loan?

A guarantor car loan is a type of loan that features a guarantor on the agreement. The guarantor is a third-party individual, often a friend or relative, who guarantees the loan will be repaid if the borrower defaults on the car loan.

Guarantor car loans are often geared at people who might otherwise struggle being accepted for a secured car loan when purchasing a vehicle. Some of the reasons might include a lack of credit history such as with a student or young person, if there’s bad credit, or age as a factor such as with pensioners.

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.

Can I get a car loan if I am on disability benefit?

Yes, there are some lenders who will consider your application if you are on a disability pension. As long as you have an income, usually of over $400 a week, there are lenders that are willing to supply you with a loan.

There are also micro-financing charitable organisations that provide low interest loans for people on low incomes for certain necessary amenities, such as cars, if they match the specified criteria.