What do Aussies care about when buying used cars?

Carzoos /
October 02, 2018  /
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When it comes to buying new cars, we kind of know what people look for but it’s often pretty specific to that person. A mother of four living in rural Queensland wants something a bit different to a single professional living in Brisbane’s CBD. We wanted to know what people looked for when it came to used cars.

The answers were somewhat as expected; price had a huge influence, reliability and the maintenance of the car was important, and people were concerned about the number of kilometres it had racked up. What was surprising was that the tyres, safety, and the condition of the engine played such a small part in the decision process. And only 3.7% of respondents cared about the car’s environmental impact.

Younger women are caring more about cars

The age old belief that men care about cars more than their female counterparts may finally be diminished.

The tale as old as time, is that men are the car experts; they know the specs, the insides, the finishes. Men are passionate about cars and women only have them to get from A to B. Nah.

Turns out in 2018 younger women are showing a larger interest in cars and their features, performance, and fit-outs. Women aged 18-24 years old were more inclined to make aftermarket modifications to their cars than men of the same age group. Twice as many millennial women said they’d make modifications to their suspension and hydraulics than men and twice as many said they’d make modifications to their paint or add a bodykit than men.

The notion of younger women showing more of an interest in cars doesn’t just come down to the easing of stereotypes says social scientist Dr. Lauren Rosewarne from University of Melbourne, “[Women becoming] more interested in – and educated about – cars is likely a sign of socio-economic factors: women’s greater likelihood to be financially independent, for example.”

Equally, whereas once the primary place for a woman to access information and to buy a car was a dealer – a place where women have long felt uncomfortable – the internet has created a broader range of places to source information and to make a purchase.”

As for the rest of the female demographic, nearly three in four women actually said they wouldn’t make any modifications.

Comparing demographics

In this data we found a lot of interesting comparisons between demographics.

Some of these comparisons show shifts in attitudes and how times are changing, others show how some things may never change.

We found that men aged 18-24 cared the most about all that Fast and the Furious stuff — engines and turbos, body kits and fancy paint jobs… and they care about suspension and hydraulics the least. As they get older and wiser, their priorities shift. Men aged 45-54 said rims and wheels were the most important just before suspension and hydraulics — they think body kits and paint jobs are a waste of time.

When it came to buying used cars, we learnt that 18-24 year old men are as reckless as they’re made out to be… No 18-24 year old man highlighted the reliability of a car as a key factor. 45-54 year old men are more sensible once again, voting the reliability of the car the most important.

Millennial women fell from a different tree to their baby boomer friends. Women aged 18-24 years old said body kits and paint jobs were the best aftermarket modifications and rims and wheels were the least appealing change to make. Women in the 45-54 age brackets said they thought rims and wheels were the best change and suspension and hydraulics were a bit ehh.

The demographic who showed the most interest in price was our 55-64 year old men, the second highest was women over the age of 65. So Australia’s older demographic is a lot more thrifty when it comes to buying used cars.

What about by state? Our states vary when it comes to cars and driving. We have differing road rules, different expectations, and often, different needs for cars. New South Welshmen and South Australians have some of the strictest laws in Australia for learner and provisional license holders, with Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia sneaking up closely behind.

There’s a clear divide in priorities between our states when it comes to car modifications. On Team Engine & Turbo are Queenslanders, New South Welshmen, and our Northern Territorians. On the other side are Team Rims & Wheels, led by Western Australians with a 32.8% vote, followed by South Australia and Victoria. Tasmania and ACT are wild cards with a vote from each electing body kits or paints jobs and suspension & hydraulics respectively.

In all likelihood there’s probably a bunch of reasons for these results but one that seems glaringly obvious is the difference in attitudes to driving. Anecdotally, New South Wales and Queensland drivers are known for aggressive driving and a constant sense of hurry — Bruce Highway and Pacific Highway drivers, we’re looking at you. They’re joined by Northern Territory drivers for engine and turbo modifications, which makes sense given it was only recently that NT drivers had an enforced speed limit outside of Darwin.

The states known for slightly more peaceful drivers are South Australia and Western Australia, with ACT joining them — because who could be aggressive on a roundabout? SA and WA were more interested in rims and wheels along with Victoria. While ACT were mostly interested in suspension or hydraulics.

A majority (34.9%) of our 18-24 year old demographic voted they’d modify their engine or turbo with body kits and paint coming in second with 27.5% of votes. The age group often labelled as ‘hoons’, but really they just want their Hyundai Excel looking sick for the boys at mainies Thursday night