Which cars are the most popular in Australia’s three biggest cities?

Inner-city postcodes were found to prefer smaller cars, while outer suburbs preferred larger models.

Inner-city postcodes were found to prefer smaller cars, while outer suburbs preferred larger models. Photo: CarsGuide, Getty, Toyota, TND

The most popular cars in Australia’s three biggest cities were revealed in a report released on Tuesday.

Professional services firm KPMG released a report on electric vehicle uptake around the country.

Along with providing recommendations for how the government could bolster electric vehicle numbers, KPMG mapped out the most popular vehicles in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne using data from the 2021 Census.

The Holden Commodore reigns supreme as the most common model of registered car – despite the last Commodore manufactured in Australia rolling off the production line in 2017.

The Toyota HiLux, Toyota Corolla, Toyota LandCruiser and Mazda 3 were the next most-popular cars, according to the report.

These preferences, however, differ from suburb to suburb. Accompanying maps shared by KPMG show just how each city and suburb have different tastes when it comes to cars.

In Melbourne, inner-city postcodes preferred smaller cars, including the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and Toyota Camry.

Sydney and Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs preferred the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla.

All of the outer suburbs shared enthusiasm for larger vehicles, including the Holden Commodore, Toyota HiLux and Toyota LandCruisers.

“These results are striking, especially as the Holden Commodore has not been in production since late 2017,” the report states.

“This yields several implications surrounding future efforts to electrify the fleet.”


Source: KPMG analysis of ABS data


Source: KPMG analysis of ABS data


Source: KPMG analysis of ABS data

The report noted that it may be difficult to speed up EV adoption in outer suburbs, given the short supply of larger-sized EV models in Australia.

“Currently there is a lack of suitable choice in Australia for larger vehicles like the Toyota HiLux and Toyota LandCruiser and the suitability of EVs for off-road travel will likely impede the speed of future EV uptake,” states the report.

The report noted an inverse relationship between car age and distance to the city centre, with residents in outer suburbs more likely to drive older vehicles.

This was seen particularly in Brisbane, where the average car age in outer suburbs often exceeded 12 years, compared to under eight years in inner-city suburbs.

Unsurprisingly, it also found people in the outer suburbs spent more time commuting to and from work.

In order to bolster EV adoption in the outer suburbs, KPMG posed three key strategies:

  1. Ensuring an adequate supply of EVs, in a range of vehicle types
  2. Making EVs affordable using purchase incentives
  3. Subsidising EV commuting, particularly in areas with longer commuting distance.

“To ensure that the adoption of EVs is delivering the necessary results, future policy designs and government incentives need to have a greater focus on incentivising EV adoption beyond inner-city households,” the report suggested.

“Targeted decarbonisation effects in outer areas will yield greater emissions savings.”

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