New cars are more affordable today than they have been for four decades, according to market leader Toyota.
The company’s head of marketing and sales, Matt Callachor, said higher wages, lower interest rates and competitively priced imports had driven the big growth in new-car sales in recent years.
Speaking at the announcement of a record year for new-car sales in 2012, Callachor said car affordability was the best it had been since the ’70s.
‘‘While it took 40 weeks of average weekly earnings to buy a six-cylinder family car in 1991, today it takes just 30 weeks,’’ he said.
‘‘Today’s vehicles provide a lot more bang for the buck,’’ he said.
‘‘Power windows and doors, smart phone connectivity, DVD players, satellite navigation, parking sensors, reversing cameras, stability control and a multitude of air bags are becoming increasingly common,’’ Callachor said.
As a result, the growth in new-vehicle sales since 1991 has outstripped population growth by almost three times, with the national carpark (the number of cars currently registered) growing from less than 10 million vehicles to more than 16 million.
Callachor said the growth was being driven by the fact that Australia was ‘‘one of the most open and competitive’’ markets in the world.
‘‘Tariff reductions have made Australia an extremely attractive market for the vehicle industry. Ten years ago there were 54 brands on offer. Today, 67 brands compete for the Australian consumer dollar, surpassing the number of brands vying for much larger markets in the United States and the United Kingdom.
‘‘The strong Australian dollar and lower tariffs have made imports more competitive, which, in turn, has put downward pressure on local manufacturers to reduce costs and keep prices low,’’ Callachor said.