CON­TI­NEN­TAL SHIFT IN MAR­KET

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter @paulwardgover

CHINA and In­dia are hot in show­rooms to­day. But it has noth­ing to do with cars from those coun­tries.

The pop­u­lar­ity of In­dia and China comes from their buy­ing power, a change that means deal­er­ships in ma­jor cap­i­tals are rac­ing to sign staff who can speak the two lan­guages.

In­dian is be­com­ing hugely im­por­tant in parts of Syd­ney and Chi­nese is the lan­guage of choice in many ar­eas of Mel­bourne as well as the NSW cap­i­tal. To en­sure they give — and get — the best deals, a grow­ing num­ber of show­room bosses are now re­cruit­ing Chi­nese and In­dian speak­ing sales staff, and even boost­ing their fi­nan­cial teams with peo­ple who can make buy­ing eas­ier.

An­other mar­ket shift is the rush to com­pact SUVs.

The num­ber of baby crossovers is ex­plod­ing and they are be­ing cross-shopped against al­most ev­ery­thing you can put on the road.

But track­ing the change is not as easy as you might think, be­cause of the out­dated way the car in­dus­try — through its peak body, the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries — clas­si­fies ve­hi­cles.

It’s all about size, then a bit of price, in the classes which are used to com­pile the monthly VFacts sales charts.

Some­one like Carsguide reader Sue Marsh de­fies the def­i­ni­tions, be­cause she’s shop­ping a Mazda CX-3 from the SUV class against a Hyundai i30 from the small­car cat­e­gory.

“Peo­ple don’t shop with VFacts, they don’t talk in the lan­guage we do. They con­sider an SUV a small car,” says Hyundai Australia’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer John Elsworth.

“The sim­ple fact is that there is an amaz­ing amount of choice and the blur­ring of the tra­di­tional seg­ments con­tin­ues ev­ery day. The real story is how the mar­ket con­tin­ues to re­shape. Small SUVs are up 30 per cent so far this year and there are now 30 mod­els com­pet­ing in that seg­ment.”

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