Thursday, June 4, 2009

TMR Poll Confirms ‘Softness’ In New Vehicle Market

Hero car for Honda, Accord Euro up 27.4 percent (VFACTS)

Hero car for Honda, Accord Euro up 27.4 percent (VFACTS)

THE MOTOR REPORT POLL conducted over the month of May indicates an underlying softness in the new vehicle market, despite the strengthening new vehicle sales results for May reported by VFACTS.

Run for four weeks from May 6th, The Motor Report Poll sampled the views of respondents who had been or were currently considering buying a new car in 2009.

While 52 percent of the 600-plus respondents had not changed their purchasing plans despite the current economic uncertainty, the remainder, 48 percent*, indicated that the current uncertainty had delayed or derailed their buying intentions.

(* Note: Percentages rounded.)

The poll results indicate considerable softness in the market among intending private car buyers, which, if reflected economy-wide, would indicate that the May new car sales results may be a blip and not indicative of a trend.

Mazda 3, up 17.7% (VFACTS), Australia's top-selling small car.

Mazda 3, up 17.7% (VFACTS), Australia's top-selling small car.

With nearly half of all respondents indicating that they intend to now delay their buying plans due to the economic uncertainty, it may be too early to be calling a turn-around in the market as some industry commentators have done.

Certainly, the May new vehicle sales results would indicate that the Federal Government’s business tax break of a 50 percent rebate on the purchase of a new vehicle has put a temporary floor under the market and arrested the decline in business sales, down just 7.2 percent relative to May 2008.

Interestingly, that nearly three in ten responded that they planned to buy quite soon because “the current savings are too large to ignore” would indicate that current marketing campaigns focusing on discounted ‘drive-away’ deals, are hitting the mark with consumers.

However, the combined effect of the ‘drive-away discount’ sales, plus the Federal Government’s business tax break, may have created a temporary distortion that has produced the better than expected May sales results.

2009 Cruze: Holden's new entry to the small car market

2009 Cruze: Holden's new entry to the small car market

Whether it translates to an ongoing strengthening in the market is too early to tell. The Motor Report poll indicates an underlying softness among private buyers that may take longer to turn round.

An incentive for private buyers, such as the German Government’s successful ‘scrappage’ scheme for older cars, would likely ensure an ongoing recovery in the Australian new vehicle market.

As such, we agree with Suzuki Australia’s call for the Federal Government to institute such a scheme for Australia.