Buyers put the brakes on
The Corolla hangs on to top position as the market hits a new low
EXPECT a bumper May and June as the new car market recovers from its worst sales month in two years.
April had the biggest slide since a Japanese tsunami wiped out vehicle supply in June 2011 with new-car deliveries down by 5.2 per cent compared with the same month last year to 80,710 deliveries.
April is usually the weakest month for new-car sales because of the school and public holidays, but even taking this into account it was tough going.
Market leader Toyota had its lowest sales result in four months and only three of the Top 10 brands posted gains.
Holden was among those to record an increase in April — albeit by just 16 cars compared with the same month last year — along with Hyundai and Subaru.
The Commodore continued its dramatic surge. It was up 61 per cent after last year’s record lows with its 10th month in a row of sales growth. It was enough to return Holden to second place overall after Mazda bumped it to third for the first three months of this year.
The sustained market slowdown is further evidence most of the big brands “pushed” cars on to the market last year to reach ambitious sales targets, and reported vehicles as “sold” even though they had not been bought by anyone other than the dealer.
They are dubbed “cyber” cars because they’re reported as sold in “cyber space” — on the car industry’s computer data — but are in fact not yet sold to a paying customer.
“The market is still digesting cyber cars. The sales figures should become a more accurate reflection of the market by the middle of the year,” says a senior car company executive who asked not to be named.
Sales of small cars were down by 8.2 per cent for the month as buyers continued their migration to compact SUVs — for which sales were up by 47.5 per cent compared to the same month last year.
Buyers, buoyed by low interest rates, treated themselves to a record number of luxury vehicles.
Porsche was the biggest improver for the month (up 53 per cent), followed by Jeep (31 per cent), Mercedes-Benz (26 per cent), Land Rover ( 19 per cent), Audi (18 per cent), and BMW (10 per cent).
What a downer: Sales of Toyota’s Corolla slid from
last year’s figures for the