Race to first place
These are the badges vying for bragging rights in popular segments
BRAGGING rights are as important in the car world as a Google ranking on the web.
Any time a brand can claim a No. 1 seller in a segment, it improves the chances of bringing in more buyers.
For more than a decade, Toyota has been trading on its sales leadership in Australia thanks to showroom champions such as Yaris, Camry and LandCruiser.
The biggest challenges today are from Mazda and Hyundai, which are achieving record year-on-year results.
“Being No. 1 gives people some level of comfort. They can see that a product is in demand,” says Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak.
“When the Mazda3 became Australia’s top-selling car a few years ago there was certainly a bit of publicity. That got it on a few people’s shopping lists who might not have considered it before.”
The same principle applies at the top end of town.
“People identify with a winner. People like to buy a winner,” says Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy.
As the 2015 sales race draws to a close, we look at the topsellers and what makes them so popular.
From $19,790. The long-term favourite with small-car buyers is cruising to another win this year. The Corolla delivers trouble-free motoring and has rock-solid support. Its stellar sales are helped by rental companies and fleets, though.
From $20,490. The car that small-car buyers choose for themselves. Sales have been dented by the CX-3 baby SUV — and Hyundai’s i30 is closing the gap — but for now it’s a comfortable runner-up. Great driving dynamics and a reputation for quality, classy design and top dealer back-up.
Holden Commodore From
$35,490. In the twilight of its reign but still firmly entrenched as the No. 1 selling family sedan. Popular with enthusiasts, too — V8s will account for more than a third of deliveries this year.
Toyota Camry From $26,490. Inoffensive, well priced, top quality and built in Australia. The Camry, like the Corolla, does everything a buyer wants, free of worries. It’s also surprisingly sporty to drive.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class From $60,900. Buyers increasingly are upgrading to a threepointed star, thanks to a much better value story from the German brand. The C-Class now regularly outsells mainstream sedans.
BMW 3 Series From $54,900. Eclipsed in recent years by the C-Class, the long-term favourite has just been tweaked to improve efficiency and driving enjoyment. Still trading on decades as No. 1 in its class.
Mazda CX-5 From $27,190. Australia’s favourite family car, as SUVs take over from sedans and wagons. It excels in design, class and quality — the only real threat to its dominance is from the smaller CX-3 stablemate.
Nissan X-Trail From $27,990. The X-Trail’s flexible cabin, which can accommodate five or seven seats, means it can be most things to most families. It has been one of the bestsellers in its segment for more than a decade and has a loyal following.
Toyota Kluger From $40,990. Suburban families love the size and flexibility. It’s the softer side of a double-edged attack by Toyota, although there are allwheel drive versions for weekend getaways.
Toyota Prado From $60,990. A long-time favourite with the boat and trailer set, this genuine 4WD escape machine is a regular at campsites around the country. Good but not great for towing and equally capable for family duties and dune-busting.
Toyota 86 $29,990. A huge hit with people who like driving. Its time at the top may be coming to an end, though, as the newage Mazda MX-5 is hot favourite to take over its mantle. The 86 is popular because it delivers cheap thrills and reliability.
Hyundai Veloster From $24,490. Style driven and well priced, also updated in the chassis for 2015, but not a true sports car. It’s a hot hatch with benefits, including a flexible three-door body, and sells well to Hyundai shoppers who want some style.
Toyota HiLux From $20,990. Everyone knows a HiLux will work so it often knocks off the top-selling cars in the monthly sales race. Increasingly, families want an SR5 because it not only works, it also plays.
Ford Ranger From $27,390. Australia’s new favourite Ford is the company’s bedrock, closing the gap on the HiLux thanks to Australian engineering and Thai production and pricing. It’s big and bold, with much to like.