Brakes on new-car sales
A slowdown has put the magic million in doubt for next year, writes PAUL GOVER
THE global economic meltdown could slash more than 100,000 sales from the Australian new-car business next year. A second-half slowdown has already reduced demand more than 10 per cent in recent months.
Even so, a second straight million-plus year should still be achieved. About 1,000,050 cars, trucks and buses are expected to be delivered by the end of the year.
The outlook for next year is not nearly as strong. The marketing chief at Australia’s sales leader, Toyota, believes there will be a significant slide.
‘‘I think we can expect a sub-million year. It will be about 50,000 under, at about 950,000,’’ Dave Buttner says. ‘‘That is based on what we can see. If it changes again, who knows?
‘‘Only a few months ago we were forecasting another year of one-million sales, but that’s now nigh-on impossible. Every day scenario changes.’’
Carmakers are beginning their fightback against the slump, increasing special offers to boost value and keep the deals rolling through.
Mitsubishi has a $2008 cashback program across its range, including the Lancer.
Holden has its 99 cents-a-litre fuel deal.
Honda, which reports a slight downturn, is also pushing a program to keep customers interested.
‘‘We are emphasising the value in our range,’’ marketing chief Lindsay Smalley says.
Carmakers have huge backlogs of unsold cars that were ordered and shipped before the downturn took hold.
‘‘We’re lucky because we react as soon as we see something happening,’’ Smalley says, ‘‘Some of the other brands are not as lucky.’’
Toyota admits it has more vehicles than it needs.
‘‘There is a lot of stock out there for everybody. In June the market was tracking at one million. Now it’s below that, so there are more vehicles around,’’ Buttner says.
‘‘The key thing in our business is moving the metal. And we don’t back off. We’ll continue our forthright marketing.’’
Buttner says Toyota plans a range of valueadded deals to the end of the year.
Like every other company, he is trying to boost sales without hurting long-term residual rates in the secondhand market.
‘‘We’re very conscious of residuals. We’re not doing anything silly or ridiculous in that area,’’ he says.
‘‘Value is what we do. We are about supporting our customers and our dealers.’’
He believes added value will keep things moving. He says there has never been a better time to drive a dollar deal.
‘‘All the carmakers have a pretty good dig in November and December and I think it will be very competitive to the end.’’
Good deals galore: carmakers and dealers everywhere are making special offers to keep new cars moving through their showrooms.