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New Cars Affordable and Built for Australian Conditions

New cars are now more affordable than ever before—and many comparable cars are cheaper in Australia than in other major right-hand drive markets, such as Japan, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, according to a recent study.

An analysis of comparable car prices in key right-hand drive markets has found that many popular models are competitively priced in Australia compared to Japan and the United Kingdom, including comparable cars from Toyota, Holden, Ford and Mercedes-Benz.

For example, the analysis conducted by peak industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), found that:

  • A Holden Captiva LT that sells for $36,490 in Australia costs more than $50,000 in the UK.
  • A Mazda6 Sport sedan that sells for $33,460 in Australia costs more than $43,200 in the UK.
  • A Mercedes-Benz A180 that costs more than $42,400 in the UK sells for $35,600 in Australia.

At the same time, figures compiled by CommSec have confirmed car affordability in Australia is at its best level ever. According to CommSec, someone earning the average wage has to work for only around 26 weeks to be able to purchase a new Ford Falcon XT auto sedan, compared to 30 weeks just a couple of years ago.

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, said the analysis of vehicles made for the Australian market against those in other right hand drive markets demonstrated that while specification levels could differ significantly, when comparing like-for-like vehicles Australian new car prices were highly competitive. 

“There has been plenty of misinformation about the cost of new cars in Australia, with some commentators arguing for an open slather approach to the import of new and used cars as a way of supposedly lowering prices,” Mr Weber said.

“In fact, as our analysis confirms, Australia has one of the most competitive right-hand drive markets in the world and this is reflected in the price of new cars in this country.

“When we compare cars with the same level of specification, we find that the majority of cars made for Australian conditions are competitively priced in Australia compared to Japan, the UK or New Zealand.

“And Australian consumers can be assured that cars made for Australian conditions and safety specifications will cope with the Australian climate, lifestyle and roads. This includes having the appropriate engine and transmission cooling systems to cope with Australia’s hot climate, towing requirements and fuel quality. It also includes having specifically calibrated convenience items such as sat-nav, air-conditioning and infotainment systems.” 

Mr Weber noted that the high-level of competition in the Australian market also meant manufacturers were continuously working to improve safety, security and environmental features.

“This competition means that Australians are getting world-class cars, built for Australian conditions, at globally-competitive prices,” he said. 

Mr Weber also said the FCAI was opposed to any move by the Federal Government to compromise existing safety and specification standards by further relaxing the standards to allow greater access for the personal importation of cars.

He said the changes being considered by the Government would transfer the risk of buying a car from dealers to consumers, many of whom did not have access to all the necessary information needed to compare car specifications, safety regulations and price. 

“We believe that allowing the personal importation of motor vehicles into Australia will have a significant negative impact on consumers and to road users more generally,” he said. 

“Cars made in the same factory may look identical on the outside but will have very different specifications under the bonnet. 

“Further, personal imports would be outside the established brand network and all of the peace of mind that it delivers—servicing, support and warranty assistance.” 

The FCAI analysis adds to research released in August 2014.

For more information, contact:
Sheena Ireland, Communications Manager
02 6229 8221 / 0458 038 555
Sheena.ireland@fcai.com.au

Key points

  • An analysis of comparable car prices in key right-hand drive markets has found that many popular models are competitively priced in Australia compared to Japan and the United Kingdom. The analysis is available at http://www.fcai.com.au/specification/vehicle-price-and-specification-comparison
  • Figures compiled by CommSec shows that car prices in Australia are at their lowest since the index began in 1976. The CommSec Car Affordability Index is available at http://control.visionscape.com.au/SiteFiles/autoadvantagecomau/CommSec_-_Car_affordability.pdf
  • Australian consumers can be assured that cars made for Australian conditions and safety specifications will cope with the Australian climate, lifestyle and roads. This includes having the appropriate engine and transmission cooling systems to cope with Australia’s hot climate, towing requirements and fuel quality. It also includes having specifically calibrated convenience items such as sat-nav, air-conditioning and infotainment systems.