Small is better
By CHRISTIAN STANGER
SOARING fuel prices are causing Tweed residents to re-evaluate their choice in transport, with smaller cars receiving far more attention from potential car buyers.
As the price of fuel continues to rise rapidly and hit the hip pockets of motorists, car dealerships on the Tweed are hard at work meeting demand for the smaller, more fuel-efficient make and models.
The majority of the car dealerships across the Tweed region have reported a large increase in inquiries regarding their smaller models, replacing interest for four-wheel drives and larger engined vehicles.
Murwillumbah Hayes Toyota spokesperson Chris Estreich, said he had noticed a marked difference in the way customers go about looking for a car, noting that prospective buyers were now taking particular note of the fuel efficiency of the car.
In some circumstances, he believed it could be the deciding factor in the purchase.
"It's definitely on everyone's mind. Fuel prices are definitely a consideration when people are buying cars," Mr Estrich said.
"A lot of people are coming in looking to trade large cars for smaller cars and I've spoken to other dealers and they have told me the same thing."
The emerging trend has seen a surge in sales of smaller cars like Toyota Corollas, Holden Astras and Suzuki Swifts, medium to large four cylinder cars like the smaller engine option on the Toyota Camry, as well as smaller four-wheel-drives like Toyota's Rav 4.
"The trend we're seeing is because a lot of families have just decided to downsize their cars," he said.
"It's the working-class mum and dad and their families who are downsizing, so they are able to continue to do the things they normally would and still be able to run the car as well."
Mr Estreich's views were echoed at dealerships around Tweed with Mark Zammit, from Von Bibra in Tweed Heads, noting smaller cars sales have been on the up for the last two months.
"It's trended that way for the last couple of months and so we have experienced a downturn in sales of V6s and V8s," he said.
"We're offering free fuel with the purchase of those larger cars to offset the trend."
Grand Motors at Tweed Heads South have experienced similar interest in smaller cars but have still done a healthy trade in large cars like the Ford Territory and Falcon, while Tweed Automotive have also sold quite a few four-wheel-drives.