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Cautious buyers sit tight for now

Easy does it: Car buyers are thinking medium term, according to a recent survey.

Medium-term outlook for car sales improving, says market pollster

General News logo21 Apr 2009

A SURVEY of intending new-vehicle buyers shows more would-be buyers will stay on the sidelines over the next 12 months, preferring to think medium-term for their next purchase.

Roy Morgan’s industry communications director, Norman Morris, said low levels of new-car buying intention in the next 12 months were consistent with the drop in the Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating, which has spent the first three months of 2009 well below the corresponding monthly figures in 2008.

This suggested there was no short-term sign of recovery in new-car sales, he said.

The latest survey of retail buyers aged 18 or more showed that, in March, 3.4 per cent of Australians were intending to buy a new car in the next 12 months, equivalent to 557,000 people.

This was down from the February mark of 3.5 per cent (572,000 people), but both the February and March figures showed a welcome recovery from the five-year low of three per cent seen in December, when the global financial crisis was shocking people.

Mr Morris said the four-year buying intentions were more promising.

“Whilst intention to purchase a new car in the next one year has fallen marginally, it is promising to note intention to purchase a new car in the next four years has increased to then highest level since the weak results of late 2008 and early 2009.” The survey showed that 12.1 per cent of people intended to buy a new car in the next four years, equivalent to 1.99 million people.

This was the best long-term result since last October, when 14.1 per cent or 2.32 million people indicated an intention to buy.

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