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Election results could slow new-car sales

Mazda Australia's Managing Director Martin Benders with the heritage race car collection.

Australia is on track for 1.2 million new-car sales in a calendar year for the first time — unless uncertainty following last weekend's election slams on the brakes.

Car company bosses CarsGuide spoke to this week are worried a hung parliament will dent consumer confidence and lead to a slowdown in sales.

"We had a bumper start to the year and the lead-up to the election appeared to have a negligible impact on car sales," says Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders. His is the No. 2 brand overall behind market leader Toyota. "But it's unclear at this stage what the outcome of the election will do to consumer confidence."

As CarsGuide has reported, there is also the possibility "Brexit" could drive up prices of Japanese cars — which account for more than one-third of all models sold in Australia — as the yen appreciates as a "safe haven" currency.

"Add in global disruptions like Brexit ... we may continue to see adverse currency impacts as well," Benders says. "So we see the second half of the year as coming under pressure."

Some brands have already started to raise prices, even if they're not Japanese. The Hyundai i30 automatic has risen by $3000 from its bargain basement $19,990 drive-away, which helped it top the charts for four months. The price is now $22,990 drive-away.

Mitsubishi has quietly deleted the "free auto" on its ASX. It's now $25,000 drive-away for a manual and automatic adds $2000.

Are these rises on popular models a sign of things to come?

Have recent political events impacted your decisions when buying a new car? Tell us what you think in the comments below.