Why smaller cars are still big news

Fuel ef­fi­ciency re­mains the big sell­ing point, writes NEILMcDONALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

LAST month’s new-car sales re­sults graph­i­cally il­lus­trate the fall from grace of the large-car seg­ment. The Toy­ota Corolla and even the now al­most five-year-old Mazda3 eclipsed Ford’s new-gen­er­a­tion FG Fal­con in the Septem­ber sales race.

It shows the con­tin­ued buoy­ancy of the small car, and even the light-car seg­ment, against other seg­ments.

The Corolla out­sold the FG Fal­con by a mar­gin of 841 ve­hi­cles, and the Mazda3, now al­most five years old, out­sold the Fal­con by 118 ve­hi­cles.

Toy­ota sold 3964 Corol­las to Mazda’s 3241 3s ver­sus Ford’s tally of 3123 Fal­cons.

Over­all, Fal­con sales are down al­most 6 per cent for the year.

Ford has sold 24,060 Fal­cons as op­posed to 25,582 last year and Com­modore sales are off 16 per cent, com­pared with last year, with sales down from 44,641 to 37,505 this year.

Over­all, large-car sales are down al­most 15 per cent this year. How­ever, the Com­modore did man­age to hold its po­si­tion as the best- sell­ing car last month, edg­ing out the Corolla by 508 ve­hi­cles.

It is clear, though, that buy­ers con­tinue to para­chute out of large cars and off-road­ers into smaller, more fuel-ef­fi­cient cars.

Fuel prices, slow­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence and the global credit squeeze is ex­pected to ac­cel­er­ate this sce­nario but the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries still ex­pects the mar­ket to reach one mil­lion for the year.

Light and small-car seg­ments con­tinue to buck the down­turn. Light cars are up 3.1 per cent for the year, and small cars 2.1 per cent.

Some of the light-car stars for Septem­ber and the year are the Toy­ota Yaris, Hyundai Getz, Suzuki Swift, Mazda2 and Honda Jazz.

In the small-car seg­ment the Toy­ota Corolla, Mazda3, Honda Civic and Mit­subishi Lancer con­tinue to dom­i­nate.

The medium seg­ment, which has com­pe­tent new­com­ers like the Honda Ac­cord Euro, Ford Mon­deo and Mazda6, is down 1.5 per cent for the year. The good news ma­chine is Toy­ota, which is on its way to its sixth con­sec­u­tive year of mar­ket lead­er­ship with sales growth that out­paces the over­all mar­ket.

Toy­ota sales have grown 5.1 per cent so far this year to an in­dus­try record of al­most 184,000.

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