Age-old problem hits big six
An older population contributes to slowing demand for Aussie sixes, writes PAUL GOVER
THE ageing Australian population is reducing demand for traditional Aussie sixes. Fuel prices have hit hard in the Falcon- Commodore- Aurion class, slashing sales and contributing to demand for LPG conversions, but new research also points to a change in buying patterns.
Demand for traditional family cars is falling with younger buyers, according to Roy Morgan Research.
It says there is a growing divide between young and old.
Its latest research reveals the percentage of 25 to 34-year-olds among people intending to buy a new large car has been in steady decline in the past five years, and now represents only 16 per cent of car-buying ‘‘intenders’’.
The percentage of large-car ‘‘intenders’’ for people over 50 has grown from 32 to 40 per cent during the same period.
‘‘Some may consider this shift in age group to be a positive in the context of Australia’s ageing population, because there will be more potential buyers in the older age groups, but the bad news for the local manufacturers is that the older owners are hanging on to their cars much longer,’’ says Sak Ryopponen, of Roy Morgan.
‘‘The 65-plus age group are the least likely to have bought their vehicle one year ago and most likely to have bought it nine or more years ago, followed by the 50-64 age group.’’
Research also shows buyers in the Gen-X age group are being drawn to imported cars.
They are also looking much more closely at greener car choices, including diesels.
‘‘It would seem that the days of the traditional Falcon versus Kingswood/Commodore families are rapidly becoming folklore rather than fact,’’ Ryopponen says.
‘‘Our research shows professional young urban males in particular are more likely to be opting for the likes of smaller Euro diesels, rather than following their father’s brand and model loyalty in the large-car segment. As Australia’s population continues to age, the challenge for the local manufacturers is to bring younger buyers back into large cars, otherwise they face a continuing decline of private purchases.’’
He says changes to powerplants in the locally made cars, with Holden about to introduce cylinder deactivation on the Commodore and Toyota committed to a Camry hybrid from 2010, are a step in the right direction.
On the outer: new buying patterns are affecting sales of the Holden Commodore and other big family cars.