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1 in 4 car buyers watch the Bathurst 1000 – and the auto makes in the race hold special appeal

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2002 – August 2016, average quarterly sample n=13,376 Australians 14+ rolling monthly

Over 161 laps around the challenging Mount Panorama Circuit, this Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 gives participating car manufacturers the chance to strut their stuff for six or seven hours in front of an ideal target audience: the event’s 3.8 million TV viewers are 25% more likely than the average Australian to be in the market for a new car—and those planning to buy a previous ‘Great Race’ winner Holden, Ford or Nissan are the most likely to tune in.  

These are the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.

But first, the overall market with our monthly national automotive currency figures: the number of Australians with medium- or short-term plans to buy a new car dipped slightly in August. There are now 2,289,000 new car buyers planning to hit the dealerships in the next four years, including 602,000 who plan to purchase their next car before this time next year.

New car buying intentions

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2002 – August 2016, average quarterly sample n=13,376 Australians 14+ rolling monthly

On Wednesday Roy Morgan reported on some of the more atypical automotive attitudes among the Bathurst 1000 TV audience: viewers are twice as likely as average to regard themselves as ‘a bit of a car enthusiast’, around 80% more likely to want a car that handles like a racing car, 50% more likely to be interested in buying a high performance car, and a third more likely to agree that they’ll ‘only buy a car that is fun to own’. 

This distinctive enthusiasm that race audiences have for cars also drives their above-average new car purchase intention. Of the 3.8 million Bathurst 1000 viewers, almost 550,000 (14.4%) intend to buy a new car in the next four years, compared with the 11.5% of all Australians. With their higher new car intentions, this means one in four new car buyers will be tuning in watch the event this weekend.

Four makes will be racing around the circuit this weekend: Holden Commodores will dominate the grid with 14 entries, ahead of Ford’s six, Nissan’s five and Volvo’s two. And indeed there is a clear relationship between Bathurst 1000 entrants and the makes of cars that viewers plan to buy.

Toyota and Mazda are the top two makes of choice overall as well as among the subset of Bathurst 1000 viewers, but race regulars Holden, Ford and Nissan get the largest increases in popularity among the event’s fans, who are:

  • 54% more likely more likely to buy a Holden (including Holden Special Vehicles)
  • 34% more likely to buy a Ford (including Ford Performance Vehicles)
  • 23% more likely to buy a Nissan

Also on the grid again in 2016 (but perhaps for the last time) is Volvo.  Unlike for other makes, intention to buy a Volvo does not get a boost among Bathurst 1000 viewers – but perhaps a surprise win could change that this year?

% of Bathurst 1000 viewers who intend to buy a new car – and the cars they plan to buy

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source July 15 – June 16, sample n = 5,496 Australians who intend to buy a new car in the next four years, including 417 Bathurst 1000 TV Viewers. * include Holden Special Vehicles/Ford Performance Vehicles.

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

“After 91 years of building cars in Australia, Ford has scheduled the last day of operations at its Broadmeadows assembly line for Friday October 7. This is right on the eve of the Bathurst 1000 —which they have won 18 times so far in Falcons made at that very plant.

The end of Australian automotive manufacturing has been coming for a number of years and 2016 is the first year in a long time that the blue oval hasn’t directly supported any V8 Supercar teams driving one of their cars. The symbolism may not be lost on Bathurst 1000 fans this weekend. 

Nearly half of Bathurst 1000 viewers still agree that they would prefer to buy an Australian made car if possible. As this possibility moves into the realm of imagination, these buyers may focus on less tangible ‘Aussie’ elements instead – such as a brands participation in and performance at iconic Australian motorsports races. 

“Although car buyers’ vehicles preferences have be moving away from the high performance V8 sedans traditionally driven in the Bathurst 1000 and other Supercar races, next year’s events mark the arrival of the new ‘Gen2 Supercar’ regulations – with two-door coupes and cars with four- and six-cylinder engines racing alongside the V8 sedans.

“The Bathurst 1000 is a dream event for car brands, reaching 3.8 million TV viewers—more than the Tour de France, the FIFA World Cup, or the Rugby World Cup. And the audience is not only big, but quite targeted, with 54% of viewers being men aged 35+ —the demographic most likely to be in the market for a new car.  

“Perhaps even more useful for event sponsors, almost 750,000 of the Bathurst 1000 TV audience can be identified, understood, and mapped within just five specific Helix Personas, enabling highly targeted advertising opportunities.”    

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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%