The number of Australian adult drivers who say they would seriously consider buying a diesel or a hybrid vehicle are very close at 48% and 46% respectively, according to a report from Roy Morgan Research.
Both types of vehicles are well ahead of LPG (30%). Electric or plug-in vehicles are considerations for 25% of drivers.
Preference for hybrid vehicles has declined since peaking at 60% in 2008, the reverse of what has happened to diesel. Fuel costs for both flattened in 2012 and some experts put the decline in consideration of hybrids down to the rapidly evolving technology.
“Everyone knows a car loses at least one-third of its value the moment it drives out the showroom door. With a hybrid, it’s even more, because today’s technology could be a thing of the past within a short timeframe. It’s precisely like buying a computer!” says a new car salesperson in Sydney’s Waterloo.
“In 2012, almost 30% of the 1.1 million new vehicles sold were powered by diesel engines,” said Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director at Roy Morgan Research.
“This proportion has risen over the last few years with much of the growth attributable to the increasingly popular SUV market.
“With so many more diesel-powered options available, it’s not surprising to see consumers give it due consideration.”
People who consider a diesel are more likely to be living in rural areas, be male, aged 35-64 years, work full time and earn more than $70,000pa.
Mr Morris said the preference amongst those in the market for a new car within the next four years is for European models such.
“Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are particularly high on the list of preferences.”
Across the Tasman, New Zealanders have the opposite view. 51% would consider a hybrid vehicle compared with 38% a diesel. The same proportion as Australian would consider an electric vehicle but almost half (16%) an LPG.