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We're moving away from sexy cars

Sexy… yes. But fewer of us want a car like this according to the latest research.

Research shows fewer enthusiasts, less desire for sexy cars, but a creep from used to new.

Despite low consumer confidence -- and concern about the Budget -- Australian car buyers are quietly edging away from used cars in favour of new ones. And fewer people call themselves car enthusiasts, or want a car with sex appeal.

The latest research shows that of those surveyed, intentions to buy a used car within 12 months have steadily dropped from 7.6 per cent in 2010 to 6.8 per cent this year, while intentions to buy a new car have risen slightly from 3.4 to 3.5 per cent.

The key to the drift could well be the rising price of fuel, coupled with the wave of newer cars sporting technology aimed at reducing the weekly bowser bill -- making them a more attractive purchase when running costs are factored in.

Roy Morgan research shows that fuel costs are top of mind for car buyers, with 74.5 per cent of those surveyed positioning it as the top consideration in the purchase and more important than high performance. Reliability was second, with 68.5 per cent saying they would only buy a car with a proven track record.

Safety and features were further down the list, with 65.9 per cent choosing safety as a top priority, and 64.5 per cent saying they wanted a car that has all the extras as standard.

Mainstream brands can take reassurance in the 64.2 per cent who said they would usually only consider the main car brands and "don't like to take the risk of a lesser-known make" while 63.7 per cent said a long warranty was essential.

However it seems that car enthusiasts are a dwindling breed in Australia, with 23.8 per cent considering themselves in that category -- a drop from the 26.2 per cent in 2010. There was a similar decline for sexy cars, with 9.7 per cent saying they prefer a car with lots of sex appeal, compared to 11.6 per cent in 2004.