We just recently conducted a project that required the use of the national car PARC, also known as the Australian Vehicle Registration Data supplied by the ABS. If you’ve ever used the data first hand or have had a supplier use this data on your behalf, you should be aware of its limitations and “trust” value.
For those of you that don’t know, PARC includes, at specific point in time, all the registered vehicles across Australia with a few high level identifier fields. I personally work with this data on a daily basis and time after time see people misusing it. Let me start by saying there are errors as with most other data sets. Take a brief glance over the data and you’ll notice spelling mistakes, incorrect fuel types, non-existent models, incorrect engines, incorrect build dates, go even deeper and you’ll find more. To make the data usable, we advise our clients at a minimum to complete a high-level cleansing process. The team here at Blue Flag offer clients a three tier cleansing process, these being, minimal, intermediate and precise; each benchmarked for specific uses depending on the clients requirements. For each given stage all sorts of things can be calculated, modelled and forecasted; but be wary of how far you can go before you reach “crush depth”.
A great example of using the PARC or Motor Vehicle Census (MVC) data effectively is for trend analysis, something like modelling scrappage rates. This does require the use of multiple instances of the dataset for a sufficient date range going backward; and we did just that, we were able to accurately model the scrappage rates into the next decade, 2021 to be exact. On the other hand, if you plan on using the data to identify which makes and models are located in each post code along with their associated fuel type and build year, you should think twice. This data has a limitation, sure you can do an analysis solely based on this data but there is a much more accurate and ever more detailed way of doing this, it’s the approach we take when providing our range of automotive market research services which gives you access to information such as make, model, post code, body style, buyer type, demographic, segment, transmission, doors, cylinders, fuel type, driven wheels, engine power, engine capacity, CO2, fuel economy and whole a lot more.
There are some amazing things you can do with PARC, but if you or your supplier are using the data “as is” or surpassing its limitations whilst still expecting results you can trust, don’t hold your breath. So next time ask the question, can I trust my data?