Race to first place

Th­ese are the badges vy­ing for brag­ging rights in pop­u­lar seg­ments

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au Toy­ota Corolla Mazda3

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.

HATCH­BACKS

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.

FAM­ILY SEDANS

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.

LUX­URY

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.

SUVs

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.

SEVEN-SEATERS

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.

SPORTS CARS

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.

UTES

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.

HOLDEN COM­MODORE

MERCEDES C-CLASS

MAZDA CX-5

TOY­OTA 86

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