Plunging sales suggests end is nigh for fossil fuel cars in Australia

by Giles Parkinson, The Drive

No 1: When asked, more than one third of Australians say that – given the chance – their next passenger vehicle purchase will be electric. More than two thirds think the shift to electric is inevitable.

No 2: In the first two months of 2019, sales of new petrol and diesel passenger cars in Australia slumped a stunning 21 per cent in February, versus a year ago. Overall new vehicle sales, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, were down 9.3 per cent – a fall of 370 vehicles a day.

Are the two linked? It is hard to say definitively because the missing link – the actual switch to EVs – hasn’t yet happened in Australia because there are simply too few electric models available for purchase, bar the already sold-out limited offering of Hyundai Ioniqs and a range of vehicles priced at more than $100,000.

And it’s likely, as some economists suggest, that the downturn in petrol and diesel purchases is at least partly driven by the faltering economy, uncertainty about wages and jobs, the squeeze on borrowing and the fall in house prices which may make some prospective buyers feel less wealthy.

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