Age-old prob­lem hits big six

An older pop­u­la­tion con­trib­utes to slow­ing de­mand for Aussie sixes, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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