New car sales are down in Australia at the moment, and the slowdown doesn't look like turning around any time soon. Research from Roy Morgan says the number of people looking to buy a new car is six per cent lower than the same time 12 months ago, the lowest level since November 2014.
According to the latest survey data, a total of 2.125 million people are looking to buy a car in the next four years, down on the long-term average of 2.16 million.
Things aren't better in the shorter term, with 553,000 people looking to buy a new vehicle in the next 12 months, down almost 10 per cent on the same time last year, and well behind the long-term average of 612,000.
The reasons behind declining intentions are multiple and well-documented. Recent changes to finance and falling house prices in the majority of Australian capital cities are partly to blame, along with a push to curb 'cyber cars', have had a big impact on new vehicle sales.
Last month, the market was down 9.3 per cent over the equivalent in 2018, and we've dropped 8.4 per cent on 2018 year-to-date.
Interestingly, those looking to buy a new vehicle are considering alternative power sources for their purchase. Just 61.9 per cent of people intending to buy in the next four years are considering petrol, down from 75 per cent, while 8.0 per cent have their eyes on a hybrid.
That's a huge increase on this time 12 months ago, driven by millennial buyers. Interestingly, millennial buyers are also comfortably the most interested in diesel – 38.1 per cent of prospective diesel buyers are millennial, compared to 28.3 per cent Gen X and 23 per cent Boomers.
"Over recent years there has been considerable growth in the new vehicle market but this is now facing a number of real challenges," said Norman White, industry communications director at Roy Morgan.
"There is currently some concern about the slowing economy, lack of wage growth, energy price escalation, declining home values and political uncertainty with a potential change of government. In addition to these potential economic constraints on new vehicle demand, the rapidly changing technologies with the resultant fuel choice decisions adds to the complexity of decision making in this market."