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Most Popular Cars in Australia

Most Popular Cars in Australia

Older Australians may fondly remember a time when every house in town seemed to have either a dusty Holden Commodore or a well-used Ford Falcon sitting on the driveway, but as our country changes, so does our taste in vehicles. Take a (back) seat as we take a look at the most popular cars in Australia.

If you were to take a time machine back to 1982, for example, you’d find that the five top-selling cars were the Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore, Mitsubishi Sigma, Ford Laser and Nissan Skyline.

If you were to take a time machine back to 1982, for example, you’d find that the five top-selling cars were the Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore, Mitsubishi Sigma, Ford Laser and Nissan Skyline.

1982 was the first year that the Ford Falcon finally (after 22 years) knocked Holden off its perch as the go-to car brand in Australia. Those two brands had a quarter of the Aussie new-car market sewn up back then but changes were on the way with new players surging into the mix – especially Toyota and Hyundai.

When Alan Bond introduced Hyundais to the Aussie car market in 1986, most motoring writers were unimpressed, with one proclaiming that the Korean brand ‘poses very little threat to any existing cars because, at this early stage, there is very little incentive to buy except, perhaps, curiosity value’. Five years later, Hyundai had moved up to 10th position. By mid-2015, the Hyundai i30 was the top-selling vehicle in the country.


The female factor

One of the biggest changes in the Australian car market in the past few decades is the increasing influence of women as car buyers. Back in the 1980s, Ford took the radical step of creating a car aimed specifically at Australian women.

Research shows that women today are involved in 82% of all car purchase decisions and drive 45% of all new cars on Aussie roads.

It was called the Laser (Carla Zampatti edition) and it came with a special floor covering designed to reduce scuffs on high-heeled shoes, a distinctive colour and even a dedicated ‘handbag hook’ on the dash (they threw in a handbag too). The concept didn’t take off.

But the world is different now. Research shows that women today are involved in 82% of all car purchase decisions and drive 45% of all new cars on Aussie roads. In 47% of car purchases, they’re making their own choices and they also participate in another 35% of joint car buying decisions. 68% of them say they ‘couldn’t survive without their car’.


The way we buy today

A new study conducted by Ipsos and found that most Australians use comparison websites and online car reviews as their main sources of influence and information when buying a new car these days. It also found that in an increasingly fragmented market, brand loyalty was decreasing even while car ownership and affordability were rising.

According to Carsales, Australia’s new car market is one of the most competitive on earth, with 450 different models to choose from. The digital revolution has made consumers more knowledgeable, with instant access to statistics, reviews, technical details, mileage specifics and side-by-side comparisons at their fingertips.

Australia has one of the world’s highest per-capita car ownership rates in the world

The study found that around 30% of new car buyers had also considered buying a used car – and vice versa. Australian car buyers make an average of four trips to a car dealer (either the same dealer or different ones) before buying a car, and mobiles and tablets are frequently used in the buying process – often while the buyer is standing in the showroom. A third of surveyed buyers also said they would be willing to travel more than 80kms to get a good deal on a new car.

Australia has one of the world’s highest per-capita car ownership rates in the world, with new car purchases influenced by practical, emotional, lifestyle and financial considerations. Over the course of the entire purchase journey, 61% of car buyers (both new and used) were influenced by car comparison and car review websites, 45% were influenced by car manufacturer sites and 38% were influenced by their visits to dealerships.


Top 10: Most popular cars in Australia

By the end of 2017, the top selling vehicles in the country were (insert drum roll here) utes. 1,189,116 vehicles were registered, surpassing last year’s all-time record of 1,178,133 vehicles by nearly 11,000 units, or 0.9 per cent, according to FCAI (Federal Chamber of Auto Industries) statistics. Here are the top selling cars in Australia for August 2017:


#1 – Toyota Hilux

Most Popular Cars In Australia #1 Toyota Hilux

The Hilux continues to dominate the new car market in this country, with 4287 sold in August 2017. Incidentally, it’s also the best-selling pickup truck in Europe. A good, solid ute has always had a special place in Aussie hearts, and the Hilux has a lot going for it. Its toughness is legendary and it’s also surprisingly efficient when it comes to fuel economy and emissions. Vision from the front is superb with 217mm of ground clearance, and its look is both modern and rugged. The ride is quieter than ever and there are a nice range of advanced technological features to ooh and aah over.

The popularity of Hiluxes isn’t confined to new car buyers, either. Along with Holden Commodores, they’re one of the more popular targets for Aussie car thieves too – especially models built between 2005 and 2011.


#2 – Ford Ranger

Most Popular Cars In Australia #2 Ford Ranger

Following on with the ute theme, the Ford Ranger comes in at an impressive second, with 3588 sold. All those TV ads featuring ‘The Science of Truck’ certainly haven’t hurt Ford’s sale of these tough vehicles, showing off their sensor-enhanced handling abilities, tackling of 27 degree rough-road inclines with a big load, heavy duty payload capabilities and prowess in deep jungles and deep water.


#3 – Toyota Corolla

Most Popular Cars In Australia #3 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla is a good, practical car that has stood the test of time. It’s got a great track record for reliability and solid fuel economy and it’s affordable to own and easy to maintain. You shouldn’t have to pay too much for car insurance for it either. The new 2017 version is pretty stylish, with plenty of legroom and interior space. It has a high safety rating with standard features including pedestrian detection, touch-screen display, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking technology.


#4 – Mazda 3

Most Popular Cars In Australia #4 Mazda 3

This popular Japanese-manufactured car has a well-deserved reputation for long-term reliability, relative ease of repair, low running costs and above-average fuel economy. It’s stylish, well-priced, safe and fun to drive.


#5 – Hyundai i30

Most Popular Cars In Australia #5 Hyundai i30

As the winner of Australia’s Best Cars award six times, the i30 has shown itself to be an honest, reliable small car that gets the job done. It features a cascading front grille, full LED front lighting, panoramic glass sunroof and twin tip exhaust. The sporty interior features steering wheel mounted controls.



#6 – Mazda CX-5

Most Popular Cars In Australia #6 Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 offers a practical interior design that’s more spacious than it might appear from the outside. The fuel economy is excellent and performance on the road impressive. The infotainment options inside will keep you happy, as will the highly competitive price.


#7 – Hyundai Tucson

Most Popular Cars In Australia #7 Hyundai Tucson

The Tucson offers an extremely comfortable ride and also earns high marks for its safety (it does very well in crash tests). Standard features include anti-lock disc brakes, rear-view camera, hill descent control, side curtain and front side airbags and active front head restraints. It holds it own with fuel economy and is generously appointed inside.


#8 – Holden Commodore

Most Popular Cars In Australia #8 Holden Commodore

Ah, the classic Aussie Commodore… it’s slipped from its lofty perch of yesteryear but still sells well. The new models take safety technology seriously, with nifty features like Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert and Automatic Parking Assist. And they still have that powerful-looking, stylish design.


#9 – Toyota Camry

Most Popular Cars In Australia #9 Toyota Camry

If you look after them, a Camry is one of the most reliable and trouble-free cars on the market, with some owners getting 400,000kms or more out of theirs. Most buyers think the new model is the sportiest-looking yet, and the usual Camry characteristics (smooth ride, great family car, good safety features and affordable base model) are hard to ignore.


#10 – Mitsubishi Triton

Most Popular Cars In Australia #10 Mitsubishi Triton

For over 30 years the Mitsubishi Triton has helped Australians get the hard jobs done. Engineered to deliver power, performance, 5 star safety, towing and technology, this is one tough ute that is as easy to handle as a passenger car.


Key takeaways

  • Australian tastes in cars have changed a lot in recent decades; utes are currently our two most popular vehicles
  • Toyota and Hyundai have made impressive inroads into the Aussie car market and now occupy solid positions
  • Female car buyers are playing an increasingly important role in influencing the direction of the Aussie car market
  • Car review and comparison websites are now the main influencers for the modern Australian car buyer


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