MELBOURNE: Australians are open minded on automotive brands when looking for a new vehicle, a new research study has found, with their choices remaining largely price-driven.

The study, by NewsMediaWorks in partnership with ResearchNow, investigated the purchase behaviour of Australians shopping in the automotive sector, gathering information from buyers at four stages of their automotive purchase journey in real time – recognising need; research; forming a shortlist and making the purchase – to better understand their path to purchase.

The findings revealed that price is the most important consideration for Australian buyers, with specifications of the vehicle runner-up, B&T Magazine reported.

Australians also prefer to educate themselves on the products and seek out reviews, as well as get inspiration and recommendations from others.

But they aren't usually in any hurry – the process can take up to nine months from the moment of deciding to buy a new car to the actual purchase date.

New car buyers tend to look toward media – both in print and online – as a source of information, regardless of whether they are buying budget or luxury cars.

Automotive news media is influential during the research and shortlisting phases, with buyers particularly turning toward published reviews and recommendations as they near the purchase decision – 54% of those new cars buyers cited the influence of news media on their decision at various point of the purchase journey.

The focus on price is understandable when one considers that Australia's cars are among the world's most affordable due to a ferociously competitive local market, despite iconic Aussie automotive brand Holden preparing to close its doors in the country.

Data sourced from B&T Magazine, Motoring; additional content by Warc staff