Mazda3 is sec­ond but the true first

NT News - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL POTTINGER

OF­FI­CIALLY it rates sec­ond on the sales lad­der, but the Mazda3 is over­whelm­ingly Aus­tralia’s num­ber one car.

In Fe­bru­ary’s sales re­sults re­leased this morn­ing, the small hatch and sedan range from Hiroshima placed be­hind Holden’s Com­modore. While the lat­ter is hugely re­liant on fleet sales, peo­ple spend­ing their own dol­lars saw the Mazda sell just 254 units fewer.

Spurred by a $21,990 drive­away deal for its en­trylevel Neo, the Mazda3 — which has no fleet fat in its sales fig­ure — eas­ily out­sold its di­rect ri­vals, Toy­ota’s Corolla and Holden’s Cruze.

These strong ‘‘real money’’ sales, as op­posed to cut-price deals for fleets, means pri­vate buy­ers make up the great­est por­tion of Fe­bru­ary’s 80,896. Pri­vate money ac­counted for 39,776 sales, about 1000 more than busi­ness, gov­ern­ment and rental fleets com­bined.

This is con­sid­ered highly un­usual for the month in which fleet sales usu­ally re­bound af­ter the tra­di­tion­ally quiet Jan­uary.

This is bad news for the Ford’s strug­gling Fal­con, which climbed back into the top 10 af­ter its un­prece­den- tedly poor 13th plac­ing in Jan­uary but could man­age only 1572 sales.

By po­lar con­trast, the Com­modore scored 3829. Again, small to medium four-cylin­der im­ports dom­i­nated the top 20 mod­els, which is good news for Holden, whose Cruze has be­gun lo­cal pro­duc­tion, but hard lines for Ford, whose new Fo­cus does not reach Aus­tralia un­til the third quar­ter of this year.

‘‘This is a solid re­sult re­flect­ing the strong un­der­ly­ing de­mand for new ve­hi­cles,’’ says Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries chief ex­ec­u­tive Andrew McKel­lar.

The Mazda3 is prov­ing a favourite with pri­vate buy­ers

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