Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter: @JoshuaDowl­ing

WANT proof the Aus­tralian new-car mar­ket is get­ting tough? Sev­eral mod­els have dis­ap­peared from show­rooms be­cause they can’t han­dle the com­pe­ti­tion.

This week alone Hyundai has dropped its bud­get i20 hatch (which lim­boed to $12,990 drive-away at one point) and is not about to re­place it, and Fiat has dropped its Panda small car.

Ear­lier this month Ford dropped the cheap­est ver­sions of the Fo­cus small hatch and sedan and the range now starts at $23,390 rather than $19,990.

Ear­lier this year Volk­swa­gen sold the last ex­am­ples of the $14,990 Up city hatch.

So why is this hap­pen­ing? The profit mar­gins are so slim on these ve­hi­cles they can’t com­pete.

In the case of the Hyundai i20, the ex­tra few hun­dred dol­lars in ship­ping costs to get it here from Tur­key, com­bined with the slim mar­gins, meant Hyundai would lose money if it im­ported that model’s re­place­ment.

The Panda didn’t work out be­cause the price wasn’t right and Aus­tralians didn’t take to the robo­tised man­ual.

The VW and Ford de­par­tures were also based on price, and trans­mis­sion choices that didn’t suit Aus­tralian tastes.

The ax­ing of these four mod­els is a sign of just how hot the Aus­tralian new-car mar­ket has be­come. In the sub-$60,000 bracket, we are one of the cheap­est mar­kets in the world for new ve­hi­cles.

But we can ex­pect a few more ca­su­al­ties if the Aussie dol­lar tanks and car prices start to go up by the end of the year.

If you want to buy a new car at the bar­gain end of the mar­ket, I wouldn’t be wait­ing too long.

Bye--bye baasse­mentt baar­rgaai­inss:: Fi­iaatt Paan­daa Tr­rekki­ing

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