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SUVs are the most popular choice for those planning on buying a new car

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2019 – September 2019, n=1,144.
Base: Australians aged 14+ who intend on buying a new vehicle in the next four years.
New data from Roy Morgan’s Automotive Leading Indicators Report shows Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) continue to be the most popular vehicle type among Australians who intend to purchase a new car within the next four years.

The latest Roy Morgan Automotive Leading Indicators Report shows 39.9% (753,000) of new vehicle intenders plan on purchasing an SUV, followed by 34.4% (649,000) who are planning to buy a passenger vehicle and 8.5% (160,000) for light commercial vehicles.

These findings are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with 50,000 Australians each year.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the increasing popularity of SUVs has been evident for some time: “Roy Morgan’s vehicle-buying intention data has captured the rising popularity of SUVs over several years, and the accompanying reduction in passenger vehicle buying intentions. The popularity of commercial vehicles also appears to be on the increase. Buying a car is a big decision and we all have our own reasons for buying particular types, whether it be performance, safety, reliability or looks.

New vehicle buying intentions by segment (SUVs, passenger cars & commercial vehicles)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Aug. 2017 – Oct. 2017, n=1,247. Aug. 2018 – Oct. 2018, n=1,089. Aug. 2019 – Oct. 2019, n=979. Base: Australians (14+) who intend on buying a new vehicle in the next four years.

SUVs preferred by car enthusiasts while passenger vehicles appeal to those who aren’t

Roy Morgan also tracks dozens of vehicle related attitudes and values of Australians looking to purchase a new car within the next four years. 

As the most popular choice of vehicle for Australians intending on buying a new car in the next four years its unsurprising to see SUVS are rated the top choice for Australians considering diesel vehicles, car enthusiasts and also those who consider safety their number one concern.

  • Australians seriously considering buying diesel vehicles are most likely to intend to buy an SUV (45.6%), well ahead of passenger vehicles (27.2%) and light commercial (13.4%).
  • Of those who see themselves as car enthusiasts, 37.4% intend on buying an SUV, 37.1% a passenger vehicle, and 11.6% a light commercial vehicle.
  • Among people who spend a lot of time researching their options before deciding what car to buy, 40.2% are looking to buy an SUV, 36.7% a passenger vehicle, and 8.5% a light commercial.
  • Among Australians who rate safety as their number one concern when purchasing a car, 39.5% are intending to buy an SUV, 39.3% a passenger vehicle, and 6.8% a light commercial.

However, despite SUVs being the vehicle of choice for more Australians than any other there are important market segments in which passenger vehicles outstrip SUVs as the top choice, and those who are not car enthusiasts are more inclined to plan on buying a passenger vehicle.
  • Of those who say they don’t care what a car looks like as long as it’s reliable, 41% are planning on buying a passenger vehicle, 34.4% an SUV, and 8.5% a light commercial.
  • For those who prefer a car with ‘sex appeal’, nearly half (47.1%) intend to buy a passenger vehicle compared to only 29.9% for an SUV and 8.7% for a light commercial vehicle.
  • Of those who are not interested in the mechanics of their car, 40.4% are looking at purchasing a passenger vehicle, 38.7% an SUV, and 5.8% a light commercial.

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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%