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Older Vehicles Reflect Demand Reality

25 January 2005

Older Vehicles Reflect Demand Reality

Continued demand for inexpensive older vehicles reflects the realities of what customers can afford, according to Andy Cuming, spokesman for the Motor Trade Association (MTA).

Mr Cuming was commenting on figures showing that the average age of the nation’s vehicle fleet continued to increase, despite record new vehicle sales.

“Demand for less expensive, older vehicles reflects what has become the effective buying power of New Zealand consumers, and the apparent failure of real wage rates to keep pace with living costs, despite otherwise buoyant economic conditions,” he said.

“Buyers generally aspire to owning the best car they can afford, and increasingly look within an affordable range for good safety features.”

Mr Cuming said that important issues of vehicle safety and emissions were not necessarily compromised.

“The availability of safety features are relative, and even some new cars have more than other new cars, generally dependent upon price, or what the customer can afford - just as in older vehicles.

“An eight year old car will be reasonably equipped with both active and passive safety features, and age and equipment will be reflected in price.”

Mr Cuming said that the older 4WDs had come to represent the lower end of the available range for customers.

“Still these are the only cars some people can afford, and they are no doubt upgrading themselves from the vehicles they are currently driving. Within reason, these 4WDs meet a range of safety standards.”

Mr Cuming said that as far as environmental issues were concerned, upcoming emissions screening programmes planned would be targeting the so-called “gross emitters”.

“This can as much a function of servicing standards as vehicle age, and well-serviced older vehicles can be as much a source of pleasure to their owners as being very environmentally sensitive.”

ENDS

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