“Oh What a Feeling!”
Australia’s best-selling vehicle in 2018
BY DR CLIVE FRASER
For the past 32 years the top-selling motor vehicle in the United States has been the Ford F-Series truck.
While the current thirteenth-generation F-Series is 340kg lighter than the previous model the Ford F-Series is anything up to 6.4 metres long and won’t fit in my garage, or even in the average parking space.
Unfortunately, Americans just seem to love big, heavy, gas-guzzling commercial vehicles for personal transportation.
In Australia we have always been less ostentatious in our choices.
There are plenty of Hyundai Getz’s and Toyota Yaris’ out there and we’re all doing our best to reduce greenhouse emissions and save the Barrier Reef from extinction.
Or are we?
It wasn’t that long ago that the top selling car in Australia was the economical Toyota Corolla.
Back in 2015 it was the model that enticed the most buyers, and was closely followed in sales by the Mazda 3.
These cars made sense on increasingly congested roads.
They were affordable (aka cheap to buy) and more importantly economical (aka cheap to run).
And with the price of a litre of fuel in 2015 being $1.22 they were also easy on the wallet.
Fast forward to 2018 and fuel has peaked at $1.70 per litre.
Inland Australia is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record, the Great Barrier Reef is bleaching and unseasonal hail storms are wiping out crops.
But Australian politicians are some of the world’s most vocal climate change deniers.
And our top-selling car for the past three years has been the Toyota Hi-Lux, followed closely by the equally porky Ford Ranger.
Both are hardly compact or economical.
I can understand why station wagons gave way to SUVs as drivers appreciated the higher seating position, roominess and the flexibility of a third row of seating in many models.
But this has given way again to gigantic twin cab utes.
They have no more than five seats, but there is bucket loads of space in the tray for tools and camping gear.
The residual value of these work-horses has traditionally been very good.
In the second-hand market they are in demand with young tradies who are starting their careers and have limited funds.
But I just can’t see the sense of using one of these ‘cars’ for family transportation.
Without a canopy anything in the back is ripe for the picking.
Squeezing into a parking space is challenging and the economy of the non-diesel variants is pitiful.
Is driving such a big vehicle an Aussie macho-thing?
Probably not, if the number of female drivers is any indication.
Light trucks have become more car-like, but I think the decision to purchase one is similar to buying up-sized fast food.
Do they represent better value?
Expanding waist lines and bigger vehicles are meaning that more people can’t fit through doorways and more cars won’t squeeze into garages.
Do we really need all of this?
I think not.
Doctor Clive Fraser
Published: 15 Nov 2018