CAR NEWS

Big cars take a sales pound­ing — less is more when it comes to the mod­els buy­ers pre­fer

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On the Web - paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

Cruze over­com­ing Com­modore and Fo­cus all but fin­ish­ing Fal­con are the high­lights of the Jan­uary sales race

BA­BIES re­ally belted the big boys in show­rooms in Jan­uary. Not only did the Mazda3 and Toy­ota Corolla fin­ish first and sec­ond, but the com­pact Ford Fo­cus also trumped the Fal­con while the Holden Cruze beat its big brother, the Com­modore, for the first time.

Holden has ad­mit­ted for nearly a year that the Cruze would be­come its lo­cal hero, but no one ex­pected the switch to hap­pen so quickly. It’s un­likely to be sus­tained ev­ery month, as Com­modore sales in Jan­uary are cus­tom­ar­ily down as fleet buy­ers are on hol­i­days, but it’s a pointer to the sea change that’s oc­cur­ring in Aus­tralian car mak­ing.

The Fo­cus’s vic­tory over the Fal­con is a tick for the com­pact, but also an­other cross against the longterm fu­ture of the lo­cally made fam­ily car which ex­pe­ri­enced its worst month’s sales in its morethan-50-year his­tory.

Ford Australia de­liv­ered 931 cars in Jan­uary, down even from the miserly 1157 start to last year’s sales for the one-time lo­cal favourite.

The over­all Ford to­tal lifts to only 2135 ve­hi­cles once the Mel­bourne­made Ter­ri­tory SUV and Fal­con ute are in­cluded. The tally is still be­hind the 2170 Holden Com­modore sedan de­liv­er­ies for the first month of 2012.

The Jan­uary num­bers show the Com­modore was beaten for the first time by its lo­cally made sib­ling, the com­pact Cruze on 2445, while the Mazda3 was over­all No.1 with 4045.

Ford said it was hit badly by a gi­ant storm on Christ­mas Day that pelted its Broad­mead­ows site with hail­stones. About 1000 Fal­cons and

Ter­ri­to­rys stored in the open took the full force of the weather.

That was but one dis­as­ter for Australia’s three lo­cal car mak­ers. Toy­ota has just cut 350 jobs from its fac­tory at Al­tona, Vic­to­ria, and Holden ex­pects to shed as many as 200 con­tract work­ers in a re­or­gan­i­sa­tion at its Ade­laide plant.

The Jan­uary re­sults, re­vealed in of­fi­cial VFACTS sales to­tals, are no real sur­prise.

Large car sales are usu­ally down in Jan­uary be­cause fleets are not buy­ing. Toy­ota is still get­ting up to speed with its new Camry (1290 sales) and the Mazda3 is still pow­er­ing off the back of its best­selling per­for­mance in 2011.

The Jan­uary to­tal is a lit­tle bet­ter than the first month of 2011. The to­tal of 76,783 sales rep­re­sents a 4.3 per cent lift but pas­sen­ger car sales were down slightly and needed bol­ster­ing from SUVS.

As usual, Toy­ota was Australia’s favourite brand in Jan­uary, ahead of Holden and Mazda.

All grown up:

Holden’s Cruze beat the Com­modore for the first time in Jan­uary

PAUL GOVER

CHIEF RE­PORTER

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