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Are car safety features effective?

Electronics could make up 45-50% of the cost of a new car by 2030. Many new cars use advanced driver assistance systems, such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. But do these extra really improve safety? Some features have proved to reduce insurance claims for BMWs in the US while others had no effect. Read More

Keep an eye out for wildlife

Winter is the peak period for road collisions with animals. It can be distressing to crash into an animal on the road or even just to see roadkill. As we start driving around NSW again, it is worth keeping an eye out for vulnerable wildlife. Read More

An update on hydrogen vehicles

Some experts think electric vehicles (EVs) are just one step on the way to hydrogen vehicles. While EVs take a long time to refuel and battery production is energy intensive, hydrogen can be produced from renewable sources and vehicles refuelled rapidly. If the intention is to move away from petrol and diesel, then different types of EV may even co-exist. Read More

Do you want to buy an electric car?

Only during the GFC in March 2009, were new car sales lower than in March 2020. Now April 2020 figures are only half what they were in April 2019. The car industry is under pressure, but how does this affect electric vehicles (EVs)? Is this segment bucking the trend or will EVs continue to take a back seat? Read More

Stop your car being stolen

Every 10 minutes somebody in Australia steals a vehicle and one in three owners never sees their car again. One great way to prevent theft is to store keys away from windows and doors but two in five people don’t bother. Be more vigilant if you own a Holden Commodore, live in Northern Territory or go out on Friday nights. Read More

How gender makes a difference to road safety

Men have much more chance than women of dying or being seriously injured in a road crash. A UK study suggests men have a higher chance than women of hurting other road users too. They also drive dangerous vehicles with more chance of hurting other road users. Is there too much pressure on men who drive for work? Read More

Are subscriptions the end of ownership?

Not so long ago it would have been unthinkable to subscribe to a car. Yet Frost & Sullivan claims by 2025 nearly 10% of new car sales in Europe and the US will be part of a subscription. Many dub this “the Netflix” of cars. But this implies cars are just another form of entertainment. Is that really true? Read More

Sedans could make a comeback

Nearly half of new car sales in February 2020 were SUVs, a sign of Australia’s preference for high riding. Passenger vehicles trailed behind, with just over a quarter of sales. Even so, there are a few signs sedans will make a comeback. Read More

Is 2020 the best time to buy a car?

Until things turn around, right now may be a very good time to buy a car. Australia’s car industry has suffered 24 consecutive months of falling sales. Only during the GFC in March 2009 were new car sales lower than in March 2020. We even saw the end of that Aussie brand, Holden.

Buy a top four brand

Some brands are still doing well. In March 2020, the top four were Toyota Hi-Lux, Ford Ranger, Toyota RAV4 (thanks to the hybrid) and Toyota Corolla. Clearly Toyota is doing something right. In fact, Toyota’s market share of new sales rose from 18.5% as at March 2019 to 21.5% as at March 2020. Second and third market leaders, Mazda and Mitsubishi, both lost share during that year.

Mazda was the second most popular brand but with sales only 40% of Toyota’s. Meanwhile Kia’s sales in fourth place eclipsed its parent, Hyundai, for the first time. Three other brands had a good month, including MG, Ram Trucks with right-hand-drive, and Chinese marque, Haval.

Buy a used car

Of course, you may not want to buy a brand new car. Carsales says used car sales are usually 2.5 to 3 times higher than new car sales. They also depend on consumer confidence and unemployment rates. Car auction house Manheim claims:

  • 1% fall in consumer confidence means used car prices fall 3%
  • 1% increase in unemployment means used car prices fall 3.5%.

If you prefer a used car, there may not be a better time to buy.

The question now is how to buy. Do you visit a dealership or do you buy online?

Buy a car online

Two years ago, Budget Direct found three quarters of Australians prefer to buy cars in person. Only a third of men, compared to a fifth of women, were willing to buy online. That was a long time ago in the car world. More and more car brands are selling online and, thanks to coronavirus, more people want to buy online.

There are signs digital comes first while the showroom takes a back seat:

  • Hyundai’s new online system, Click to buy, allows you to select a vehicle and accessories to get the estimated driveaway price. You can still negotiate with the selling dealer.
  • Volkswagen buyers can now get the entire car range online. You pay $500 deposit on a model, then the designated dealership contacts you within 2 days to complete the process
  • BMW is developing a fully online purchasing system
  • Toyota already sells and finances cars online and takes about 50 online financial quotes a day.

For those who don’t mind paying 1.5% commission for convenience, there is http://carconnect.com.au. You say exactly what kind of vehicle you want, dealers submit their prices, and the winning dealer delivers the car to your door.

We have previously written that many people prefer the human touch, but that may change. Dealerships are open, but you can increasingly do your car shopping from home. Remember all new cars come fully registered with a current greenslip but a used car may have little registration left or none.