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A NATIONWIDE economic value study has revealed that close to $10 billion a year is spent by enthusiasts on their historic vehicles.

The survey estimated that there are nearly one million (970,000) historic vehicles in Australia and that their owners spend close to $10,240 per vehicle per year.

The survey was carried out by the Australian Motor Heritage Foundation (AMHF) which said in a statement: “In carrying out this study, we have shown that the historic vehicle movement is a large and vibrant part of Australia’s society and economy”.

The Foundation champions Australia’s motor heritage and is dedicated to promoting and preserving Australia’s motoring history.

The Economic Value Study (EVS) covered more than 6000 Australian respondents distributed to more than 800 motoring clubs nationally. It was conducted for the AMHF and The Mercurius Group (TMG). 

The enthusiast owners of an estimated 970,000 historic vehicles in Australia spend on average $10,240 per vehicle annually, around 12.5 per cent more than people who own daily driven cars. That multiplies out to owners of Australia’s historic vehicles spending some $9.9 billion each year on their passion.

 The AMHF said it was the first time such a comprehensive survey has been undertaken on such a wide scope or on a national basis in Australia. 

The survey revealed that the historic vehicle fleet represents 4.4 per cent of Australia’s 21 million total vehicle fleet. 

Around 50 per cent of the survey respondents own only one historic vehicle, the other 50 per cent owning two or more vehicles. “Historic” vehicles are in two categories: those 15 to 30 years old defined as “classic” vehicles and those more than 30 years old defined as “heritage” vehicles.

The survey also revealed the total annual economic impact of the sector, including both direct and indirect expenditure, is $25.2 billion. It said the sector creates almost 79,000 jobs – 42,000 direct and 37,000 indirect. These jobs generate $6.2 billion in wages and salaries annually. 

“These are very large numbers by any standard,” the statement said.

The undertaking followed publication of the similar landmark (2020 HERO-ERA) study in the UK after which the AMHF decided to find out what is the real figure for the economic contribution of historic vehicles for Australia.

Hugh King, chairman of the AMHF said in a statement: “The findings of this report have certainly highlighted the significance of the historic vehicle sector to both the community at large and the economic sector.

Stavros Yallouridis

“The response from Australia’s motoring club members has been unprecedented: the economic modellers at TMG have never had such a large data pool to work with. This proves that motoring enthusiasts care as passionately about their historic vehicles as they do having their voices heard. In carrying out this study, we have shown that the historic vehicle movement is a large and vibrant part of Australia’s society and economy.

Stavros Yallouridis, CEO of the Motor Traders’ Association of NSW (MTA NSW), said the AMHF’s survey gave yet more irrefutable evidence of the significant contribution of the automotive sector in the broader Australian economy.

“Despite the end of local vehicle manufacturing, Australia maintains a rich and diverse automotive industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people across a range of roles,” Mr Yallouridis said.

“The automotive sector is one of the backbones of our economy and is also at the heart of our communities. This survey, and the enthusiastic response, highlights the necessity for Australia to back its automotive sector with world-class training, local skills development and career pathways,” he said.

By John Mellor

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