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Australian buyers still ‘like’ Toyota
Toyota tops the charts again as new-car buyers show emotion plays a part
6 Jun 2015
DRAWING the final curtain on local manufacturing has not hurt Toyota’s image in the eyes of Australia’s car-buying public, but the same cannot be said for Holden or Ford.
While the Japanese car-maker remains the marque most fondly regarded by Australians intending to buy a new car in the next four years, the Red Lion and the Blue Oval have slid down the favourite scales.
Market analysis company Roy Morgan Research reports that more than 2.3 million Australians are planning to buy a new car within the next four years, but within a priorities list of influential factors that help decide on a vehicle – fuel economy, price, reliability and safety among them – the brand is still a vital aspect.
Emotional attachment still plays a major part in the new-car buyer’s purchasing decision and Roy Morgan’s market research into which of the automotive brands is the favourite of Australia’s new-car intenders has found Toyota takes top spot.
As well as holding a position at the top of the Australian sales charts, Toyota is the favourite among people planning to buy a new car in the next four years.
Toyota, in the 12 months up to March 2015, is the brand that 36.5 per cent of new-car intenders say is “a brand I like,” which, according to Roy Morgan is a slight increase on the previous survey period of April 2013 to March 2014.
Following Toyota were the three big prestige European brands – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Respondents were asked to indicate which automotive brands they liked from a list of 17, with market sales leader Toyota growing by 1.5 per cent to 36.5 per cent, ahead of BMW on a steady 28.8 per cent over its previous result.
Arch-rival Mercedes-Benz is closing in on its key rival with a 27.8 per cent share, up from 23.3 in the previous survey, while fellow German marque Audi was steady at 25.7.
Roy Morgan Research automotive industry director Jordan Pakes said perception could make or break an automotive brand in Australia.
“Cautious consumers are unlikely to buy products from a brand they don’t like, especially when that purchase is something as substantial as a new car,” he said.
“Fortunately for many of the automotive brands we measure, our latest findings show that the proportions of new-car intenders who ‘like’ them have either grown or remained stable.
“With a comfortable lead over its rivals, the country’s top-selling brand Toyota continues to be most-liked, despite the pending closure of its Australian manufacturing operations in 2017.”
Holden recorded slightly less than 20 per cent, representing a slide from the 24 per cent it achieved in previous research, while Ford dropped a smaller margin (1.1) to 14.5 per cent, perhaps suffering more for manufacturing closures than the market leader.
Mr Pakes said affection for a brand is not always linked to sales.
“High-end makes BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi may be widely liked by many new-car intenders, but are still out of reach in terms of affordability,” he said.
Japanese brand Mazda’s popularity has risen on the back of solid sales, along with Volkswagen, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.
Subaru, Honda, Nissan, Peugeot and Kia were all holding at previously recorded levels but the two “locals” slipped further.
The latest figures from Roy Morgan Research show 2.3 million people were planning to buy a new car in the next four years, which is down slightly, but short-term intention has risen slightly.
Motorists in the market for a new car in the next 12 months now number 605,000, up from 598,000 the previous survey.
“Small SUVs and light-commercial vehicles have shown the biggest gains since February, with the small SUV intention boom expected to continue given the recent launches of the highly anticipated Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3,” Mr Pakes said.
“In terms of brand intention, March was notable for increased numbers of motorists with their sights set on Jeep (up 22,000 from February), Toyota (up 16,000) and Hyundai (up 11,000).”
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