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Fuel efficiency still top priority for Aussie motorists

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=12,858); December 2013 – November 2014 (n=2,586). Base: Australian motorists 14+ who drive Light Cars and Large SUV’s

There are currently 15,140,000 motorists on Australia’s roads, and nearly 80% of them consider fuel efficiency to be more important in a vehicle than high performance. Three-quarters of them will only buy a car with a proven track record, and 72% spend a lot of time researching their options before deciding what car to buy.

Meanwhile, 69% of Aussie drivers agree that ‘I usually only consider the main car manufacturers as I don’t like to take the risk of a lesser known make’ and 69% name safety as their ‘number one concern when choosing a vehicle’. For a country that spawned speed demons like Jack Brabham and Peter Brock, we’re a sensible lot, really.

Top 10 automotive attitudes among Australian motorists


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=12,858).

Auto attitudes and type of car driven

Obviously, not all motorists feel the same about cars, and some telling differences emerge when we compare drivers of different kinds of vehicles: light passenger cars and large SUVs, for example.

Top 10 automotive attitudes: Drivers of light passenger vehicles vs drivers of large SUVs

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=2,586). Base: Australian motorists 14+ who drive Light Cars and Large SUV’s

The most striking difference between these two groups is in their attitudes towards fuel efficiency. For nearly nine of every ten (87%) light passenger car drivers, fuel efficiency is more important than high performance, while drivers of large SUVs are not nearly so concerned (73%).

For large SUV drivers, having “all the extras as standard” is a much higher priority than for people who drive light vehicles, as is “lots of space and seating flexibility”. They are also more likely to be willing to “seriously consider buying a diesel vehicle.”

However, both groups are willing to spend time researching their options before buying, and place a high priority on their chosen vehicle having a proven track record.

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director – Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In today’s competitive automotive market, it’s essential for dealers and OEMs to understand how a motorist’s attitudes can influence what kind of car they choose. While most Australian motorists consider fuel efficiency and a proven track record to be priorities, the degree to which they feel this way varies significantly depending on the type of vehicle they drive.

“For example, Australians who drive light passenger cars are much more likely to regard their car simply as a means to get them safely and cost-effectively from A to B, while large SUV drivers tend to want much more than that from their vehicle.

“In 2014, the Hyundai i20, Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris led the way in the light car category sales, not surprising given all three models have a strong track record in Australia, 5-star safety ratings and efficient petrol engines.

“In the Large SUV category, the big winner for 2014 was the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee continued its prodigious rise over the last few years by moving from the segment’s number-four selling model in 2013 to the top seller in 2014, with 16,582 sales. This is an amazing result, given that Jeep sold only 441 Grand Cherokees in 2010, and is a true testament to the power of a unique and memorable advertising campaign combined with a strong new product appealing to buyers’ various needs.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%