Any one of us would have to have been in a cave somewhere not to have seen the television Jeep adverts and the various other motor vehicle promotions many of them targeting prospective young women car owners.
In an article in this column last year I noted that the Jeep brand had a 93% increase in sales in February alone such had been the impact of that television advert promotion. Moreover the year before in this same column I noted how the larger car market remained the largest sales sector in Australia.
Then way back in 2010 in a 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.
There has been a change in the climate of purchasing a motor vehicle and it's not based squarely on prestige or performance but a new and fresh dominating cause and effect, that of “must” ….
Consider these issues -
Trade and industry requirements: the '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 remains a top selling vehicle.
This 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.
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. 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. You and me.
Moreover 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, families are still purchasing eight seater vans in significant numbers, as well as large four-wheeled-drive vehicles regardless of their sizes and challenges associated with supermarket parking. This is the precise market place Jeep has targeted.
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? Engines of these larger work vans and utes will become leaner, as technology progresses. Even these necessary utility vehicles will become more environmentally-friendly. There is vast evidence of further development of the electrical car and work vehicle.
As you take to your vehicle next, note the vehicles coming in the other direction and draw a percentage of such work-related vehicles as opposed to little run-abouts. Only yesterday I engaged in this exercise – I live in Tweed Heads – my estimation was that 35% were what appeared to me to be work related. Another 35% were family movers and the rest were various types of run-abouts.
Regular readers will recall my article last year on my favourite car of all time, the DS Citroen. Yes, some of our vehicles are a 'must' regardless!!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html