Corolla leads the small-car charge

SUVs and small cars are the sales kings, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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