Buy­ers want cars with grunt

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL POT­TINGER

HY­BRIDS hyped as the cars of the fu­ture are be­ing swamped in a sea of diesel as buy­ers pre­fer the lat­ter form of al­ter­na­tive fuel by as much as 150 to one.

Sales fig­ures re­leased by the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries show last month pri­vate buy­ers bought 1428 turbo dieselpow­ered cars and 3149 SUVs to only 197 petrol-elec­tric hy­brid cars and 19 SUVs.

While con­ven­tional petrolpow­ered cars re­main our ve­hi­cles of choice, the ef­fi­ciency and grunt of turbo diesels is see­ing these in ever more drive­ways.

While hy­brid car sales have ac­tu­ally in­creased on Septem­ber 2010, in the growth SUV sec­tor they fell by al­most 26 per cent.

‘‘Not long ago diesel was the pre­serve of the com­mer­cial sec­tor, but there’s an in­creas­ing range of diesel fu­elled cars avail­able across all ve­hi­cle types,’’ FCAI chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Chalmers said.

‘‘The mar­ket has changed quite sig­nif­i­cantly with cars like the new Holden Cruze.

‘‘Ten years ago, a car like this sim­ply wouldn’t have been of­fered as a diesel.’’

While there are fewer than 10 hy­brid mod­els avail­able, diesel choices have ex­panded into the hundreds.

‘‘The hy­brid mar­ket is evolv­ing very, very quickly but buy­ers still can’t quite

The mar­ket has changed quite sig­nif­i­cantly with cars like the new Holden Cruze

process the tran­si­tion to this very dif­fer­ent form of mo­tor­ing,’’ Mr Chalmers said.

Mean­while, the Roy Mor­gan Au­to­mo­tive Currency Re­port has found more mo­torists se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a diesel (46.8 per cent) than hy­brid (45.9 per cent).

In­ten­tions to buy hy­brid had been as high as 60 per cent in Septem­ber 2008, but have since de­creased, while diesel in­ten­tions have risen from 32.1 per cent in June 2006.

Roy Mor­gan Re­search in­dus­try com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Nor­man Mor­ris said about 19 per cent of pri­vate new ve­hi­cles sold in Aus­tralia this year be­ing pow­ered by diesel en­gines with fewer than 1 per cent be­ing hy­brid.

The re­port found those con­sid­er­ing buy­ing diesel are more likely to be male, live in coun­try ar­eas, have a higher-than-nor­mal av­er­age house­hold in­come and be con­sid­ered ‘‘big spenders’’.

‘‘They are more in­clined to need a car that can pull a load, re­gard them­selves as a bit of a car en­thu­si­ast, go away on week­ends and pre­fer hol­i­days where they can see na­ture or be in a nat­u­ral set­ting,’’ Mr Mor­ris said.

‘‘With added space, flex­i­bil­ity, torque and eco­nom­i­cal per­for­mance, it is not sur­pris­ing then to see that those diesel con­sid­er­ers who are in the mar­ket for a new car are more likely to be con­sid­er­ing a com­pact or medium SUV.’’

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