The popularity of diesel-fuel vehicles has fallen slightly Down Under, with 45% of Australians saying they would seriously consider buying a diesel – down from 50% two years ago when several foreign automakers were accused of cheating on emissions tests.
New automotive-buying intentions examined by Roy Morgan Research finds the consideration of diesel-fuel vehicles now trails the appeal of hybrid vehicles with 52% but remains ahead of electric vehicles (37%) and well ahead of liquid-propane-gas vehicles (21%).
The popularity of diesel vehicles is evenly split, with 1.13 million in capital cities and 1.10 million in country areas.
Although farmers represent less than 2% of all diesel drivers, they are the most overrepresented – being 185% more likely to drive a diesel than the average Australian.
Diesel-vehicle drivers overwhelmingly are men and most of those aged 35-64.
The most popular diesel vehicle in Australia is the SUV, driven by 40.7% of Australians who primarily drive a diesel. Leading SUV diesels include the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4.
Some 25.2% drive pickups such as the Holden Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen Amarok while 21.4% drive diesel-powered sedans or station wagons such as the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat.
City dwellers are especially attracted to SUVs, 4-door sedans and people movers, whereas rural Australians favor pickups and 2-door coupes.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the latest scandal involving German automakers testing diesel exhaust on monkeys puts a spotlight on diesel engines.
“It’s yet to be seen whether the latest scandal involving German manufacturers testing diesel exhaust on monkeys and consenting humans will have a negative impact on the sale of diesel-engine vehicles in Australia,” she says in a statement.
Meantime, Roy Morgan Research sees the rush to dealerships continuing despite record sales in recent years.
Its research finds 2.38 million Australians intend to purchase a new vehicle in the next four years, up 142,000 on the same period last year and only marginally lower than the 15-year high recorded in February 2017.
One-year buying intentions are up 2.2% to 615,000.