Buy­ers count their pen­nies

In hard times value counts for much, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

BUY­ERS of new cars are wary about spending their hard-earned. And in the case of Hyundai, the South Korean car­maker’s sharp pric­ing has bol­stered its sales start for this year as pop­u­lar ri­vals plunge into the red.

Hyundai is the only vol­ume brand to have sold more cars last month than in Fe­bru­ary last year. Two months into the sales year, it is 9.3 per cent up on the same pe­riod last year.

This is in stark con­trast to the for­tunes of its com­pa­triot and other bud­get car­maker, Kia, whose sales (4151) are down 20 per cent.

Hyundai’s mar­ket share was 5.9 per cent last month, the com­pany’s best re­sult since the fac­tory took over dis­tri­bu­tion in 2003.

Sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Kevin McCann says more con­sumers are get­ting the mes­sage about value.

The bud­get Getz and small i30 per­formed strongly, helped by the iLoad and iMax. The i30 had its best re­sult yet, sell­ing 1234.

With the ex­cep­tion of Hyundai, Audi and Jaguar, the eco­nomic down­turn is rav­aging lo­cal car­mak­ers and most im­ports.

Audi lifted its share 5.4 per cent and Jaguar 22 per cent, largely on the back of the suc­cess of its XF sedan. Fiat and Dodge also had spikes on the back of big in­cen­tives.

Sales were down across all seg­ments and fleets, which nor­mally re­turn to the mar­ket in Fe­bru­ary, were no­tice­ably ab­sent.

Of the three lo­cal vol­ume play­ers, Toy­ota is still mar­ket leader but its sales fell 31 per cent last month (14,274 com­pared with 20,703 in Fe­bru­ary last year). Holden was down 27 per cent and Ford 21 per cent.

The Com­modore and Au­rion were the big­gest lo­cal big-six losers, down 22 per cent and 48 per cent. How­ever, the Com­modore man­aged to win back top sales spot (3376) from the Mazda3 (2989). The FG Fal­con was fifth be­hind the Toy­ota Corolla and HiLux.

Eco­nomic un­cer­tainty is also af­fect­ing the lux­ury seg­ment. Mercedes-Benz sales are down 22 per cent, BMW 21 per cent, Alfa Romeo 52 per cent, Lexus 30 per cent, Volvo 30 per cent and VW 13 per cent. Porsche has taken a big hit — down 47 per cent.

How­ever, auto an­a­lyst David Gelb of KPMG warns against com­par­isons be­cause the first half of 2008 was a bumper sales pe­riod.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.