Smaller cars were the big winners in 2010, write Paul Gover and Craig Duff
THE world’s two ultra-luxury brands, Maybach and Rolls-Royce, reflect the absolute highs and lows of selling cars in Australia during 2010. The overall enthusiasm of shoppers took the showroom total last year to 1,035,574 vehicles, the second-highest on record and only the third time the ticker has flicked past one-million sales.
The Holden Commodore continued its 15-year reign as Australia’s favourite car while record numbers of buyers flocked to small cars and SUVs, the two boom classes these days with downsizers and families looking for more value and flexibility in their garage. But Maybach finished the year with a zero. No sales. It was the only brand that failed to trouble the official scorekeepers at Vfacts and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
In contrast, Rolls-Royce managed 25 deliver- ies, up from nine in 2009 for a 177.8 per cent boost in its result, despite a similar $1 millionplus bottom line to the Maybach.
Cashed-up Australians indulged their tastes for top-end cars last year, with Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Bentley all selling at least half as many cars again as they did in 2009.
Hyundai had the biggest improvement in volume as the South Korean company continued to win over Australian buyers.
The brand’s 80,038 sales were up almost 17,000 vehicles on the previous year.
Standout performers were the i30 — the 2008 Carsguide car of the year — the new i45 mid-sized sedan and the Santa Fe SUV, along with its iMax and iLoad vans.
Sister company Kia also made an impact as its Cerato and Sorento models contributed to a 22.9 per cent rise in sales.
More than 23,800 Kia-badged cars hit the roads last year, reinforcing the rise of the South Koreans in the local motoring landscape. The VW Group’s performance in Australia was extraordinary with a 26.4 per cent improvement for VWand a 31.9 per cent growth in Skoda sales.
The Golf continues to be its best-selling car with 15,425 buyers signing up for the 2009 Carsguide car of the year. Supply constraints are the only thing holding the Polo back, but 3195 cars still found homes in 2010.
The Octavia is Skoda’s staple seller with 1174 sales, followed by 355 for the Superb, but the Roomster’s quirky styling hasn’t endeared itself and only 26 vehicles left dealerships last year.
Toyota’s dramas in the US weren’t felt locally and the Japanese giant improved sales by 6.8 per cent to lead second-placed Holden by more than 81,000 cars. Brand T’s established players — the Corolla, Hilux and Prado — drove growth, but the Prius hybrid is yet to endear itself to Australians, with sales falling from 3040 cars in 2009 to 1611 last year.
Winners and losers:
clockwise from left, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla, Maybach’s limousine and Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV experienced mixed fortunes last year.