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How has car use changed in 2020?

Have you become more attached to your car again? The mood today seems to have shifted back towards cars, away from public transport and rideshare. Although car use in Sydney dropped dramatically during lockdown, it has 90% recovered to normal. Is this a lasting trend or just a blip on the way to Peak Car? Read More

You’re more likely to die in a small car

According to a US study, you are more likely to die driving a small car than a luxury SUV. This is alarming news for small car drivers, but it’s not the whole story. Many recent model small cars have lots of safety technologies and receive five-star ratings in crash tests. It all depends on how you measure safety. 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.

Travelling with your dog

Did you know that in Australia, we have more household pets than people? The most popular pet is a dog and a quarter of all households own a dog or two. Many people like to take their dogs with them wherever they go – on holiday, to the shop or cafe. But do you how to travel safely – and legally – with your dog? Read More

Car thefts – don’t get caught on holidays

The last thing you want to think about at holiday time is having your car stolen. Yet 20% of all car crimes happen in December and January and 60% of car thefts happen while the car is parked at home. Remember you can take steps to deter thieves this holiday break. Read More

All we want for Christmas are smart drivers

In the crazy lead-up to Christmas, our attention turns to gifts, Summer holidays and road trips. Everyone is on the road and the potential for accidents is high. Is it possible smart cars are making our driving increasingly dumb? Perhaps it’s time to encourage smart driving – even if you own a “dumb” car. Read More