Why smaller cars are still big news
Fuel efficiency remains the big selling point, writes NEILMcDONALD
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.