Mike Stevens | Aug 7, 2009

VFACTS RESULTS for July, and a poll conducted by The Motor Report, confirms that measures to get more Australians into LPG vehicles are failing.

In the context of a total national vehicle market down just 10.3 percent in July 2009 compared to July 2008, and down 15.3 percent year-to-date (YTD), sales of new LPG vehicles to private buyers are down 81.8 percent for the month and down 67.2 percent YTD.

July saw just 14 total sales by private buyers of LPG-dedicated passenger vehicles, struggling to a paltry 118 total sales (private buyers, passenger vehicles) for 2009 YTD.

Fleet sales, though better are similarly poor, managing 549 sales for the month, down 26.6 percent compared to July 2008.

Given the $2000 Government cash rebate for purchasers of new cars with factory-fitted LPG systems, and given the strong upward movement in the price of petrol, these results are certain to be perplexing both the LPG industry and the Federal Government.

LPG as an alternative fuel clearly has an image problem. The TMR poll indicates that motorists are not motivated by price alone in choosing at which bowser they fill their cars up.

As a previous Motor Report poll showed (November 2008), many motorists regard LPG as an inferior alternative fuel.

In the recent Motor Report poll, when responding to the question: If Unleaded Petrol hits $1.50 a litre, which of the following best describes your likely response, 40 percent of poll respondents selected the response that they will make “no change to my car choice nor driving habits”.

Only 12.0 percent responded that they will convert to LPG (or purchase an LPG vehicle)” if unleaded petrol hits $1.50 a litre, while 31 percent responded that their next car will be a diesel.

While Australian motorists are now readily embracing diesel as an alternative to petrol, LPG seems to have simply missed the boat.

For a locally produced fuel that Australia holds in plentiful supply, burns cleaner than petrol, offers such savings at the pump, and with both Ford and Holden offering LPG-dedicated vehicles, the underperformance of this sales segment must be of concern to both the industry and the Federal Government.

 

About The Motor Report Poll:

Conducted over the month of July, with a total of 972 respondents.

If Unleaded Petrol hits $1.50 a litre, which of the following best describes your likely response:

  • My next car will be a smaller petrol-engined (or hybrid) fuel miser (17.0%)
  • My next car will be a diesel (31.0%)
  • I will convert to LPG (or purchase an LPG vehicle) (12.0%)
  • I will make no change to my car choice nor driving habits (40.0%)
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