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Speed demons or show offs? Australia’s sports car drivers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) January 2014 – December 2014 (n=42,635). Base: Australian motorists whose main vehicle is a coupe, sports car or two-door convertible.

Anyone remember the cheeky old Porsche ad that asked, “Honestly now, did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi?” Well, it seems that Australian sports car owners have nothing against Japanese makes: in fact, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that four of the five most popular makes of sports car/coupe/two-door convertible in the country are Japanese.

Sports car/coupe/two-door convertible owners are a special breed, accounting for just 326,000 Australian motorists. Of those, 11.1% drive a Mitsubishi, 10.8% drive a Toyota, 8.4% drive a BMW, 7.6% drive a Nissan and 7.3% drive a Mazda. So much for European pizazz and American muscle!

10 most popular sports car/coupe/two-door convertibles

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) January 2014 – December 2014 (n=42,635). Base: Australian motorists whose main vehicle is a coupe, sports car or two-door convertible.

But while the popularity of Japanese makes may seem at odds with the classic cliché of sports-car drivers as image-conscious automotive purists living out their Michael Schumacher/ James Bond* fantasies, these people do live up to the legend in many other respects.

Compared to the average Australian motorist, those who drive a sports car/coupe/two-door convertible are:

  • 188% more likely to ‘prefer a car that has lots of sex appeal’
  • 126% more likely to ‘only buy a car that is fun to own’
  • 90% more likely to be ‘interested in buying a high-performance car’
  • 82% more likely to ‘like a car that handles like a racing car’
  • 50% more likely to regard themselves as ‘a bit of a car enthusiast’
  • 41% more likely to almost always or occasionally watch Formula 1 and 28% more likely to watch drag racing on TV.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“It takes a certain kind of person to drive a sports car: someone for whom their car is more than just a mode of transport, but is a source of fun, thrills and aesthetic enjoyment.

“Speaking of aesthetics, sports-car owners tend to take pride in their own image as well as their car’s, being 91% more likely than the average Australian motorist to ‘wear clothes that will get me noticed’ and 45% more likely to believe that ‘it’s important to look fashionable’.

“While Japanese makes tend to be less expensive than prestige European brands, our data shows that sports car drivers are 64% more likely than the average Australian motorist to earn between $150,000 and $199,999, and 130% more likely to earn $200,000 and above — so other factors besides budget are clearly influencing this choice of Asian over European.

“The popularity of Mitsubishi is initially surprising, but makes sense when we consider that more than 90% of Mitsubishis in this category are aged between 11 and 25 years: dating back to the golden era of ‘boy racer’ favourite, the Lancer Coupe!

“More generally, Japanese makes usually have a good reputation for reliability and longevity: always desirable qualities in a sports car, especially when you’re hurtling down the freeway at full tilt…”

* (NB: While James Bond is primarily associated with prestige European sports cars, fans may recall that he drove a very sporty Toyota 2000GT in You Only Live Twice

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%