How cost competitive are cars in Australia?

How much do motor vehicles cost in Australia compared with other countries? Is it true that luxury cars are much more expensive than in other countries? Or is that just a pre-mining boom urban myth?

The Fleetcare team decided to investigate these questions on your behalf. Using the most reliable new car price guides we could find for five different countries – Australia, USA, UK, Germany and South Africa – and armed with exchange rates courtesy of the Reserve Bank of Australia, what we discovered was a fascinating mix of the reassuring, the bewildering and the downright depressing.

Let’s start with the good news. Small, economy cars in Australia are very competitively priced compared with other countries. A Toyota Corolla which will cost you $22,990 in Australia has a lower price tag only in USA, where you can buy the same car for marginally less - $22,430 (all figures in Aussie dollars). Go to South Africa and the same car will cost you $28,521, Germany - $32,080 and UK - $37,910 – a massive 65% hike on the what it costs here in Australia.

A Mazda 3 Hatch costs less in Australia than in any of the other four countries, and a Ford Fiesta is also fairly priced in the global scheme of things.

Moving up to SUVs, one of the most popular on our roads at the moment, the $32,190 Hyundai ix35 is only somewhat more expensive than in USA ($29,218) and South Africa ($31,491), but significantly cheaper than in UK ($48,930) or Germany ($52,377) where it costs 63% more.

So far, so good. It is when we move up market that things look less rosy for the Aussie driver. If, after a lifetime wearing a suit and attending boring conventions, your now-successful Aussie corporate exec decides to reward herself with a nice, shiny, Mercedes Benz E Class car, she will discover that the price tag is $100k. Compare this to the $84k cost in Germany, $73k in USA, $62k in South Africa and $60k in USA and you can see why your corporate exec may start to question where all that hard-earned cash is going to. Could the Australian Taxation Office possibly have something to do with it?

What about the tradie launching his own pool servicing business? Surely he should be on safe ground buying an iconic ute like a Toyota Hilux? Sadly, not. He will have to shell out $48k for a new ute, compared to $35k in UK, $33k in South Africa and a mere $29k for the equivalent Toyota Tacoma in USA. True, he would have had to pay $54k in Germany – but how many pools are there to service in Berlin?

But you’ve not heard the worst of it. Time to reach out for that box of Kleenex, folks, because what we are about to reveal may cause you to shed a tear. You are 28 years old, and a Master of the Universe working for an investment bank in the CBD. You haven’t had a life for the past 3 years and have been sleeping under your desk, living on All Bran and Chinese take-aways, but now its bonus time and that’s all about to change. Down to the Porsche dealer you go to pick up your 911 Cabriolet for a cool $296k. Flying down the freeway, you can’t resist using the hands-free to call your mate in Johannesburg to brag about your new toy.

‘Snap!’ He tells you. ‘Great minds and all that. I’ve just bought exactly the same car.’

Because you are both in the business, conversation soon turns to money.

‘How much did you pay for it?’ you ask him.

‘One point three million rand,’ he replies.

It is, let’s face it, an impressive sounding slab of cash.

‘What’s that in real money?’ you want to know.

After some calculator tapping from the other end comes the reply, ‘$117,000,’ he tells you. ‘How much did you pay?’

‘A bit more than that,’ you have to confess, realising that he could have bought two 911 cabriolets and thrown in a luxury overseas ski trip for the same amount of money you transferred earlier that afternoon.

The problem for Australians is Luxury Car Tax (LCT) which adds around 33% to the cost of any vehicle with a value of over around $63k. That’s when things start getting seriously uncompetitive when we look at what Australians have to pay compared to some of their global counterparts.

Is there anything you can do to get around LCT? Not right now. But the federal government is looking to change the law, so only time will tell. But for the moment, looking at the global picture, when it comes to affordability in Australia, it all comes down to LCT. Below the threshold, you’re doing well. Above it, you’re paying dearly for the privilege of road presence.

Fleetcare Global Affordability Index - February 2016

 
Australia
USA
UK
Germany
South Africa
Annual average wage
$58.8K
$63.4K
$56.0K
$51.8K
$7.5K
 
Vehicle
cost
Months
to buy
Vehicle
cost
Months
to buy
Vehicle
cost
Months
to buy
Vehicle
cost
Months
to buy
Vehicle
cost
Months
to buy
Toyota Corolla
$22,990
5
$22,430
4
$37,910
8
$32,080
8
$28,521
45
Mazda3 Hatchback
$22,490
5
$26,871
5
$36,390
8
$28,304
7
$27,369
43
Ford Fiesta Hatchback
$22,525
5
$19,789
4
$27,890
6
$28,960
7
$20,781
33
Hyundai ix35
$32,190
7
$29,218
6
$48,930
11
$52,377
12
$31,491
50
Toyota Hilux
$48,490
10
$29,647
6
$35,518
8
$54,240
13
$33,615
53
BMX X3
$61,100
13
$49,767
10
$65,040
14
$68,000
16
$49,284
78
Toyota Landcruiser
$61,990
13
$100,653
19
$78,430
17
$68,255
16
$97,182
154
Jaguar XF
$76,500
16
$61,733
12
$59,890
13
$76,832
18
$57,347
91
Mercedes Benz E class
$99,900
20
$60,172
11
$73,640
16
$84,875
20
$62,404
99
Porsche 911 cabriolet
$296,450
61
$140,791
27
$194,120
42
$187,493
44
$117,000
185
Average total
$74,462
16
$54,107
10
$65,775
14
$68,141
16
$52,499
83
 
Annual average wage
 
Toyota Corolla
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$22,990
Months to buy
5
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$22,430
Months to buy
4
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$37,910
Months to buy
8
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$32,080
Months to buy
8
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$28,521
Months to buy
45
 
Annual average wage
 
Mazda3 Hatchback
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$22,490
Months to buy
5
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$26,871
Months to buy
5
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$36,390
Months to buy
8
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$28,304
Months to buy
8
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$27,369
Months to buy
43
 
Annual average wage
 
Ford Fiesta Hatchback
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$22,525
Months to buy
5
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$19,789
Months to buy
4
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$27,890
Months to buy
6
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$28,960
Months to buy
7
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$20,781
Months to buy
33
 
Annual average wage
 
Hyundai ix35
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$32,190
Months to buy
7
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$29,218
Months to buy
6
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$48,930
Months to buy
11
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$52,377
Months to buy
12
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$31,491
Months to buy
50
 
Annual average wage
 
Toyota Hilux
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$48,490
Months to buy
10
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$29,647
Months to buy
6
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$35,518
Months to buy
8
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$54,240
Months to buy
13
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$33,615
Months to buy
53
 
Annual average wage
 
BMX X3
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$61,100
Months to buy
13
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$49,767
Months to buy
10
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$65,040
Months to buy
14
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$68,000
Months to buy
16
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$49,284
Months to buy
78
 
Annual average wage
 
Toyota Landcruiser
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$61,990
Months to buy
13
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$100,653
Months to buy
19
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$78,430
Months to buy
17
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$68,255
Months to buy
16
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$97,182
Months to buy
154
 
Annual average wage
 
Jaguar XF
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$76,500
Months to buy
16
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$61,733
Months to buy
12
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$59,890
Months to buy
13
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$76,832
Months to buy
18
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$57,347
Months to buy
91
 
Annual average wage
 
Mercedes Benz E class
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$99,900
Months to buy
20
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$60,172
Months to buy
11
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$73,640
Months to buy
16
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$84,875
Months to buy
20
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$62,404
Months to buy
99
 
Annual average wage
 
Porsche 911 cabriolet
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$296,450
Months to buy
61
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$140,791
Months to buy
27
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$194,120
Months to buy
42
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$187,493
Months to buy
44
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$117,000
Months to buy
185
 
Annual average wage
 
Average total
Australia
$58.8K
Vehicle cost
$74,462
Months to buy
16
USA
$63.4K
Vehicle cost
$54,107
Months to buy
10
UK
$56.0K
Vehicle cost
$65,775
Months to buy
14
Germany
$51.8K
Vehicle cost
$68,141
Months to buy
16
South Africa
$7.5K
Vehicle cost
$52,499
Months to buy
83

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Categories: Toyota, Mazda, Ford, Australia
Fleetcare Thank you for your comment Tony. The prices were obtained on a like for like basis wherever possible. Most represented entry level vehicles without extras, thus the lower pricing. 27/01/2017 9:00:23 AM
Tony Bryant Tell me where you can buy a Toyota Landcruiser for $61,990? I don't know where you sourced your prices but that's a long way south of the real number. 24/01/2017 1:24:40 PM
Cameron Kane A good truthful read! 20/02/2016 11:51:56 AM
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