Moreover the Government's tax incentives, which ended in December, promoted people requiring business vehicles to buy them before the end of the year – showing an increase in larger vehicle sales.
In the most recent survey by Quantum research, the factors that were found to be most important to people buying a new car were prestige, performance and the ability to tow. In addition, the tax incentives reflected an injection by businesses into the new car market.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, a Baptist minister has reflected on this and has listed a number of issues for consideration.
First, the trades and industries require, what he refers to as 'manual labour' vehicles. In other words, vans and utilities and their derivatives, many of them twin cab versions, a mix between a work and family vehicle. The Toyota HiLux was one of the main purchases in December according to Jez Spinks in Drive.com (above reference to Motor News).
This also illustrates that Australians' love of the larger motor vehicle has not yet been lost. Australia has wide open spaces, with long distances between regional and rural centres.
Second, these work vans and utes are robust vehicles as they are constantly carrying the tools of trade in whatever the area of industry or trade. Although quite small vans and utes are on the market, the more robust work vehicles are necessities.
The vehicles have plenty of carrying space and moreover, many have pre-packaged components such an electricians van, a plumber's ute and the like. A plumber needs a vehicle that can take long lengths of copper pipes and PVC's.
Third, fuel remains the least expensive aspect of running a motor vehicle. The larger van and ute certainly uses more fuel, but in the business world, these costs are claimed as work expenses and ultimately the consumer of the services, pays.
Finally, M V Tronson says, there remains a perceived safety factor with a larger van and ute and today these vehicles have air bags, front end collision designs and other built in safety features.
To illustrate this perception further, although the Holden Commodore was the most popular new car in 2009 (for the 14th year in a row); and although the 'absolute' number of new car sales was lower than any year since 2003 (above reference to The Examiner). Families are still purchasing eight seater vans in significant numbers, as well as large four-wheeled-drive vehicles regardless of their mammoth sizes and challenges associated with supermarket parking.
Mark Tronson notes that, for those who can afford it, their need for convenience to suit their lifestyle will be the primary reason for choosing a vehicle. Many families need to transport several children, their friends, sometimes a grandparent, musical instruments, sporting equipment, members of the band or sports team, youth groups, and paraphernalia for the parents' hobbies around the sprawling suburbs and countryside of Australia (eight seater vans are ideal for Christians service).
Where to from here? M V Tronson suggests that in time, the engines of these larger work vans and utes will become leaner, as technology progresses. Even these necessary utility vehicles will become more environmentally-friendly.