Economy hitting motorists in the hip pocket

July 2009

New figures released today by leading cheap car insurance provider Budget Direct, show Brisbane car owners have been hit hard by the decline in Australia’s economy, with 20% downgrading their car for something more economical in the past 12 months.

A further 12% are currently considering doing the same. In total, almost one-third of Brisbane car owners has, or are considering, downgrading their car.

In contrast to Brisbane, 15% of Melbourne drivers have admitted to downgrading in the past 12 months while only 12% of Sydney car owners have done the same. In fact, 33% of Sydney car owners stated the financial crisis has not made any difference to the kind of car they drive.

Budget Direct spokeswoman Richelle Ward said motorists are looking for tangible ways to tighten their belts and downsizing to a more economical car, which doesn't chew through petrol is a way motorists can achieve this,” Ms Ward said.

“However, the current economic climate has led to low resale values on second-hand vehicles, which can make downgrading less feasible for some families.”

"The beginning of this financial year also dealt Brisbane motorists a double blow, with the Queensland Government ceasing its eight cent fuel subsidy and increasing car registration costs,” Ms Ward said.

Budget Direct’s survey, conducted by market research company footprints, also showed that across the three states 65% of car owners are driving less to save on petrol costs, while less than 37% appear to be using public transport as their alternative means of getting around.

“We think the use of public transport is likely to change as our cities continue to grow and more motorists take advantage of improved public transport or switch to healthier alternatives such as cycling and walking,” Ms Ward said.

The results also found that on average 41% of respondents identify with the increase in costs associated with owning and operating their vehicle, using a car is essential to their needs so have to make allowance for it.

“In today’s economic climate it is important that current and potential car owners budget for the cost of car ownership, so owning a car does not become a financial burden,” Ms Ward said.

About Budget Direct

Budget Direct is a cheap car insurance provider that offers competitive car insurance to drivers in Australia. Budget Direct is a wholly owned Australian insurance provider and is part of the international Budget Insurance group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The Budget Insurance group of companies administers more than 3 million policies and $1 billion in premium. Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd underwrites Budget Direct’s policies.

Car Insurance - Cut the cost not the cover

For further information or interviews please contact Jonathan Kerr, Director, Marketing & Digital, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8801 or

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international BHL Group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 6.8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $2 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Health, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.