Smaller cars were the big win­ners in 2010, write Paul Gover and Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car Sales -

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.

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