Go to the top of the C-Class
Mercedes hits the front, writes Paul Pottinger
ACAR that starts at nearly $60,000 is Australia’s bestselling, mid-sized import. Toyota’s local Camry sells more than 2000 most months, bolstered by huge sales to fleets and private buyers to whom a car is merely a functional device.
But when it comes to imported cars and spending our own money, last month it was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class that surged to the head of the pack with 483 sales, ahead of far more affordable models such as the Mazda6 and Subaru’s Liberty and Outback.
In a list compiled by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the C-Class confortably outdistanced its rivals in the entry-level prestige stakes such as BMW, Audi and Lexus.
In the year to the end of November, the Mazda6, which starts at about half the C-Class’s price, led it by only 76 sales — 6974 to 5898 sales. Liberty was third on 5764.
Mercedes-Benz senior manager of corporate communications David McCarthy says:
‘‘What it shows is that over something like the Mazda6, which is a pretty good bit of kit, is that we have a huge number of user-choosers in the corporate sector.
‘‘We offer financial packages for people who salary sacrifice.’’
The next C-Class will appear in revamped form at next month’s Detroit Motor Show and arrive here before April.
McCarthy says sales of the C-Class refute the ‘‘persistent myth that we have high option prices’’. ‘‘We’ve got some pretty sharp option prices. In a lot of cases, we are cheaper.’’
With the one-millionth newvehicle sale this year expected this week, the chances are that it will be something in the next class down to the mostly excellent cars listed on this page, such as a Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai i30 or Holden Cruze.
While the large-car segment is in permanent decline, the mid-sized class is getting collateral damage as buyers downsize further to compact hatches, small wagons and SUVs.
And though that’s good news for the Mazda3, Honda Civic and Ford Fiesta, it leaves the Mazda6, Accord Euro and Mondeo in . . . well, the middle of nowhere.
Favourite: the Mercedes C-Class is benefiting from salary packages.