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9309.0 - Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 31 Mar 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/11/2009   
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19/11/2009 Note: The ABS has reissued the publication pdf file for the 31 March 2009 Motor Vehicle Census. This corrects errors detected in data previously released on 17 November 2009. Tables 2 and 5 contained incorrect data for the 2008 year only. Other data in these two tables and all other tables have not changed.

NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents statistics relating to vehicles which were registered at 31 March 2009 with a motor vehicle registration authority. Motor vehicle registration statistics are compiled from data made available by various state and territory motor vehicle registration authorities and reflect the information as recorded in registration documents.

Estimates of the size and composition of the vehicle fleet were first published in 1921. However, it is only since 1971 that a Motor Vehicle Census (MVC) has been conducted on a more regular basis. The MVC has not been conducted in each and every year since 1971 and the census dates have varied over those years. Therefore, care should be taken when attempting to compare movements over the years.

Statistics are provided on vehicle types comprising passenger vehicles, campervans, light commercial vehicles, all types of trucks, buses and motorcycles.

Vehicle characteristic information includes make of vehicle, year of manufacture, type of fuel that the vehicle was registered as using, and Gross Vehicle Mass or Gross Combination Mass for trucks. The size of the motor vehicle fleet is also compared with the estimated resident population.


CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

Tables 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 now include data for the previous year as well as data for the current year and data from five years ago.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


TOTAL NUMBER OF VEHICLES ON REGISTER

There were 15.7 million motor vehicles, including motor cycles, registered in Australia at 31 March 2009. This is 2.5% higher than the number of registrations from the 31 March 2008 Motor Vehicle Census (MVC), and an increase of 15.8% since the 2004 MVC snapshot, when there were 13.5 million vehicles registered in Australia. The average annual growth over this five year period was 3.0%.

Type of vehicle, Census years 2004, 2008 and 2009(a)

2004
2008
2009
Change 04/09
Change 08/09
Average annual growth 04/09
no.
no.
no.
%
%
%

Passenger vehicles
10 629 401
11 803 536
12 023 098
13.1
1.9
2.5
Campervans
39 947
44 790
46 535
16.5
3.9
3.1
Light commercial vehicles
1 952 486
2 288 216
2 371 082
21.4
3.6
4.0
Rigid trucks
357 617
410 910
421 702
17.9
2.6
3.4
Articulated trucks
66 300
79 132
81 217
22.5
2.6
4.1
Non-freight carrying trucks
19 697
21 808
22 299
13.2
2.3
2.5
Buses
71 314
80 581
84 413
18.4
4.8
3.4
Motor cycles
396 309
567 569
624 090
57.5
10.0
9.5
Total motor vehicles
13 533 071
15 296 542
15 674 436
15.8
2.5
3.0

(a) See Technical Notes regarding 2004 and 2008 data.


In the 5 years between 31 March 2004 and 31 March 2009, the passenger vehicle fleet has grown 13.1% from 10.6 million to 12.0 million. Motor cycles and articulated trucks were the vehicle types showing the largest growth over this time with increases of 57.5% and 22.5% respectively. Light commercial vehicles rose by 21.4%, buses rose by 18.4% and rigid trucks by 17.9%. Non-freight carrying trucks and passenger vehicles had the smallest growth over the same period, with increases of 13.2% and 13.1% respectively.

Type of vehicle, Percent change - Between census years 2004 and 2009
Graph: Type of vehicle, Percent change—Between census years 2004 and 2009



STATES AND TERRITORIES

New South Wales had the largest share of the Australian fleet at 31 March 2009 with 4.6 million vehicles or 29.1% of all registered vehicles. Victoria had the second largest share with 4.0 million (25.6%) and Queensland had 3.3 million vehicles (20.9%). The Northern Territory had the smallest share with 0.1 million (0.8%) registered vehicles. These shares are comparable with the distribution of the population across states and territories.

State of Registration, Census years 2004, 2008 and 2009

2004
2008
2009
Change 04/09
Change 08/09
Average annual growth 04/09
no.
no.
no.
%
%
%

New South Wales(a)
4 063 640
4 519 963
4 567 386
12.4
1.0
2.4
Victoria
3 565 150
3 921 574
4 010 276
12.5
2.3
2.4
Queensland
2 656 044
3 173 447
3 283 243
23.6
3.5
4.3
South Australia
1 095 923
1 178 904
1 208 926
10.3
2.5
2.0
Western Australia
1 480 206
1 746 579
1 828 346
23.5
4.7
4.3
Tasmania
(b)350 403
(b)391 327
400 516
14.3
2.3
2.7
Northern Territory
106 016
122 986
128 758
21.5
4.7
4.0
Australian Capital Territory(c)
215 689
241 762
246 985
14.5
2.2
2.7
Australia(d)
13 533 071
15 296 542
15 674 436
15.8
2.5
3.0

(a) See Technical Note 1 (NSW) regarding 2008 data.
(b) Excludes vehicles with registration expiry date less than one month before the census date.
(c) See Technical Note 2 (ACT) regarding 2004 data.
(d) See Technical Notes regarding 2004 and 2008 data.


From 31 March 2004 to 31 March 2009, three states experienced growth above the national average of 15.8%. Registrations in Queensland at 31 March 2009 were 23.6% above those at 31 March 2004, an average annual growth rate of 4.3%. In the same five year period, registrations in Western Australia increased 23.5% (also an average annual growth rate of 4.3%) and Northern Territory registrations rose 21.5%, with an average annual increase of 4.0%. South Australia's growth in fleet size between 31 March 2004 and 31 March 2009 of 10.3% was the smallest. In this state, the average annual growth was 2.0%.

Motor vehicle registrations, Percent change - Between census years 2004 and 2009
Graph: Motor vehicle registrations, Percent change—Between census years 2004 and 2009



VEHICLES AND RESIDENT POPULATION

There were 720 motor vehicles per 1,000 resident population in Australia at 31 March 2009. This compares with 674 vehicles per 1,000 residents at the end of March 2004, an increase of 46 vehicles per 1,000 residents over this time.

Western Australia had the highest rate of all states and territories with 822 vehicles per 1,000 residents at 31 March 2009, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate with 577 vehicles per 1,000 residents. New South Wales, which had both the largest vehicle fleet and the largest population at 31 March 2009, averaged 645 vehicles per 1,000 residents, the second lowest of all states or territories.

Motor vehicle fleet by population(a), State/territory of registration
Graph: Motor vehicle fleet by population(a), State/territory of registration



AVERAGE AGE OF THE FLEET

The average age of all registered vehicles rose from 6.1 years in the 1971 MVC snapshot to 10.7 years in 1997 snapshot, but has gradually declined since then. There was no change recorded for average vehicle age comparing the 2009 snapshot to the 2008 shapshot.

At 31 March 2009, the average age of all vehicles registered in Australia was 9.9 years. This is younger than the 10.3 years recorded in the 2004 MVC. Over this five year period, all vehicle types except buses recorded a drop in the average age. Light rigid trucks and motorcycles showed the largest decreases in average age, both dropping 1.1 years, while buses increased 0.4 years over this five year period. Vehicles manufactured before 1994 (those more than 15 years old) comprised 20.7% of the total Australian fleet. This is slightly lower than the 21.2% of registrations recorded 12 months earlier.

Estimated Average Vehicle Age(a) of vehicle fleet(b)
Graph: Estimated Average Vehicle Age(a) of vehicle fleet(b)


At 31 March 2009, campervans were the oldest vehicles registered with an average age of 18.1 years, while motor cycles were the youngest vehicle type with an average age of 8.7 years.

The average age of passenger vehicles has fallen from 10.0 years at 31 March 2004 to 9.7 years at 31 March 2009.

Tasmania had the oldest fleet with an average age of 11.9 years at 31 March 2009, with 30.3% of vehicles manufactured before 1994. This was followed by South Australia with an average age of 11.0 years and 25.6% manufactured before 1994. Northern Territory had the youngest fleet in Australia with an average age of 8.8 years and 16.7% of vehicles manufactured before 1994.


TYPE OF FUEL

At the 31 March 2009 MVC snapshot, 13.2 million vehicles in Australia (84.0% of the total vehicle fleet) were registered with a petrol fuel type. This compares with the 11.9 million vehicles registered at the 31 March 2004 snapshot 5 years earlier, when 87.9% of registrations fell into this category.

When comparing 31 March 2009 with 31 March 2004 snapshots, the number of vehicles registered with diesel fuel has increased by 53.1%. The number of vehicles registered with diesel fuel at 31 March 2009 accounted for 12.8% (or 2.0 million vehicles) of the total fleet. Five years earlier, 9.7% of vehicles were registered with diesel fuel.

Motor vehicle fleet, Type of fuel(a)
Graph: Motor vehicle fleet, Type of fuel(a)


Greater numbers of passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles registered with diesel were the major contributors to this increase. Overall passenger vehicle registrations increased by 13.1% between the 2004 and 2009 MVC snapshots, yet the number of passenger vehicles registered with diesel fuel increased by 80.0%.

At 31 March 2009, there were 862,392 light commercial vehicles registered with diesel fuel. This is 42.8% of all vehicle registrations in the diesel category. For light commercial vehicles, the number of registrations with diesel fuel at 31 March 2009 was 60.3% higher than at 31 March 2004.


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FLEET

Passenger vehicles

Passenger vehicles accounted for 76.7% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2009. Since 31 March 2004, all states and territories have recorded increases in registrations of this vehicle type, with Western Australia showing the largest percentage growth (19.9%) and South Australia the smallest (8.1%).

Passenger vehicle registrations, Percent change - Between census years 2004 and 2009
Graph: Passenger vehicle registrations, Percent change—Between census years 2004 and 2009


In the Australian Capital Territory, passenger vehicles accounted for 84.4% of all registrations. This was the highest proportion of any state/territory. The Northern Territory had the smallest proportion with 62.6%.

A total of 6.2 million passenger vehicles were either Toyota, Holden or Ford. These three makes accounted for 19.7%, 17.1% and 14.5% of the total passenger vehicle fleet registered at 31 March 2009.


Light commercial vehicles

Light commercial vehicles accounted for 15.1% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2009, the second highest proportion behind passenger vehicles. Since 31 March 2004, all states and territories have recorded increases in registrations of this vehicle type, with Queensland showing the largest percentage growth (32.9%) and New South Wales the smallest (14.4%).

While Queensland accounted for the third highest number of vehicle registrations of all states, it had the second highest number of light commercial vehicles registered in Australia (26.0%) behind New South Wales (26.6%). Victoria had 25.6% of all vehicles registered in Australia (behind New South Wales, 29.1%) but only 22.2% of total light commercial vehicles.


Trucks

Rigid trucks accounted for 2.7% of the total number of vehicles registered at 31 March 2009. Registrations of rigid trucks with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) greater than 20 tonnes have increased by 32.7% since 31 March 2004, while registrations of rigid trucks with a GVM of 20 tonnes or less have increased by 14.9% over the same period.

At 31 March 2009, 81,217 articulated trucks were registered in Australia. While this is 22.5% higher than the number of registrations five years earlier, the growth has been exclusively in articulated trucks in the larger gross combination mass (GCM) categories. Over this period, the number of registrations of articulated trucks with a GCM up to and including 60 tonnes has dropped 0.7% and the number of articulated trucks with GCM over 60 tonnes has increased 62.2%. This has resulted in an articulated truck fleet where the proportion of registrations with GCM over 60 tonnes has increased from 36.9% at 31 March 2004 to 48.9% at 31 March 2009.

Victoria had the largest number of articulated trucks on register. It was also the state with the highest number of registrations with a GCM greater than 60 tonnes (12,373). This is 70.5% greater than the number of registrations in this category at 31 March 2004. In comparison, at 31 March 2009, 82.1% of Northern Territory articulated trucks had a GCM greater than 60 tonnes. Western Australia has the lowest proportion of articulated trucks with a GCM greater than 60 tonnes, with only 1.5% of vehicles in this class.


Motor cycles

Motor cycles accounted for 4.0% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2009, up from 2.9% in 2004.

Between 31 March 2004 and 31 March 2009, motor cycle registrations increased by 57.5% and was the largest increase of any vehicle type.

Increases in registrations over this five year period have been observed in all states and territories, with Western Australia recording the largest percentage increase (75.9%), followed by the Northern Territory (70.2%). The smallest percentage increase was in Victoria where registrations of motor cycles at 31 March 2009 were 44.1% above those recorded 5 years earlier.

Motor cycle fleet, State/territory of registration
Graph: Motor cycle fleet, State/territory of registration



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