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