A COTY in­dus­try

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Comment - PAUL POTTINGER CARSGUIDE ED­I­TOR paul.pottinger@carsguide.com.au

AS sure as the turn­ing of the Earth and the metro­nomic thunk as new/fa­clifted/re­newed/ re­vived/re­pur­posed mod­els ar­rive, Car of the Year looms.

Carsguide has se­lected its top 10 for 2013, not 100 be­cause we see lit­tle pur­pose in such cat­e­gories as best small-medium warm hatch be­tween $25,900 and $25,990.

Our top 10 are all af­ford­able be­cause we live in the real world. All are au­tos be­cause that’s what you buy. All have been re­leased since last De­cem­ber be­cause Carsguide judges the best of the year, not its first nine months.

Our fi­nal­ists are listed to­day, the win­ner on Fri­day week.

THE BLEED­ING OB­VI­OUS

As our in­boxes are clogged with sur­veys from com­pa­nies telling us what most of us take as re­ceived wis­dom, it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore one of them told us Aus­tralian cars are no longer pop­u­lar.

This, I sup­pose, is news to those for whom “sur­vey finds that ex­er­cise and diet equals a healthy waist­line” is a rev­e­la­tion. Yet this is the sort of un­so­licited crap I’m sent most days, with the un­vary­ing re­sult that another PR firm makes the blocked senders list.

“News” that 36 per cent of young Aus­tralians would buy an Aus­tralian-made car is high on the “duhh” in­dex.

I’d hardly pre­sume to tell Roy Mor­gan how to tell me what I’ve known for a decade but even I will al­low sur­prise at the find­ing that the peo­ple who gen­er­ally au­thor Han­sonesque pro-Strayan car mis­sives have be­come so equiv­o­cal about the wares of the three for­eign mak­ers with fac­to­ries here.

About half no longer con­sider them even as used prospects, where Com­modores and Fal­cons tend to be sen­sa­tional value.

Mar­ket re­searcher Barry Urquhart of Mar­ket­ing Fo­cus says Roy Mor­gan’s sur­vey — show­ing an av­er­age of 45.3 per cent of Aus­tralia’s 15.6 mil­lion mo­torists pre­fer a lo­cal cars — could be highly op­ti­mistic.

“When asked a very gen­eral ques­tion such as ‘would you buy Aus­tralian?’ there is a 78 per cent re­sponse in the af­fir­ma­tive,” he says. “But come to the point of buy­ing, that plunges to 45 per cent.” Well, quite. And can any­one blame us? There are no lo­cally made com­pact SUVs, which — dis­like them or just plain loathe them — are the growth seg­ment.

The only small car is the Cruze. Good as that is, it ain’t class-lead­ing. Toy­ota Aus­tralia makes taxis.

There’s no point to hey-true­blue posts about the qual­ity of the Com­modore or even the essen­tially as-old-as-the­cen­tury Fal­con. You know their worth. So do I. The lam­en­ta­ble fact is, how­ever, Aus­tralian mak­ers don’t make cars Aus­tralians want, haven’t for years and aren’t about to.

That ‘70s show­piece: Nos­tal­gia for the likes of the 1978 Holden VB Com­modore isn’t enough to sus­tain an in­dus­try

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