Buy­ers put the brakes on

The Corolla hangs on to top po­si­tion as the mar­ket hits a new low

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - JOSHUA DOWLING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR Twit­ter @JoshuaDowl­ing

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

same month

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