Corolla leads the small-car charge
SUVs and small cars are the sales kings, writes NEIL McDONALD
IF CONSUMERS needed any convincing that small cars rule, they only need look at the latest Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS sales figures. In the year so far, the Toyota Corolla is the most popular passenger car with 12,002 sales.
This puts it ahead of Holden’s VE Commodore, 11,551 sales, and the Mazda3, 8779.
Other small-car stars in the first quarter were the Mitsubishi Lancer, 4994 sales, Honda Civic, 5000, and Ford Focus, 4417.
Consumers’ love affair with off-roaders continues.
FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar says sports utility vehicles (SUVs) maintained strong sales interest in the first quarter.
Though the passenger market is down 4127 sales, or 2.6 per cent, compared with the same period last year, SUV sales were up 7544 vehicles, or 16.1 per cent.
‘‘Consumers are being lured by considerable new-model activity in the SUV market, greater availability of diesel engines and a general preference for the versatility and flexibility these vehicles offer,’’ McKellar says.
Some of the off-road stars last month were the Toyota RAV4, Kluger and LandCruiser, Nissan X-Trail and Navara, Ford Territory, Mitsubishi Outlander, Holden Captiva and Honda CR-V.
McKellar says it is clear that higher petrol prices and interest rate woes have not yet dented the booming new-car market, though some analysts suggest it will take several months for these factors to be felt.
The VFACTS figures show the automotive industry ended the first quarter with total sales of 263,453, up 8385, or 3.3 per cent, on the same period in last year’s record year.
March sales were down 3107, or 3.3 per cent, though this was probably due to the timing of the Easter holidays, which reduced the number of selling days by three.
Toyota was the best-selling brand at the end of the first quarter with 22.9 per cent of the market, ahead of Holden, 12.9 per cent, and Ford, 10 per cent.
Despite losing the crown as the most popular car, last month the VE Holden sedan, with 3988 sales, pipped the Toyota Corolla by 20 cars.