QUEEN Elizabeth’s castle is about to be invaded by cars. To mark her diamond jubilee, Windsor Castle will host its first ever Concours d’elegance, with a wish list of 60 of the world’s rarest cars on the invitation. One car will be chosen from every year of her 60-year reign since 1952, starting with a rare Bentley Type R. The most recent options will be a 2011 Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari FF or Porsche 991. The cars will arrive from around the world, but haven’t all been chosen yet — the global call has gone out. Check the list at carsguide.com.au, and if one of them is sitting in your carport, it could be your ticket to take a drive into Windsor Castle. SMALL cars and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVS) continue to drive growth in the Australian new car market as local makers continue to face sluggish large car sales.
New VFACTS sales figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed the Mazda3 and Toyota’s Hilux pushed the Adelaide-built Commodore to third in the March sales table.
Passenger car sales are just ahead of last year, led by growth in the small, medium, sports and peoplemover segments to offset a 20-plus per cent drop in large car sales, with booming SUV sales that were 23 per cent up on 2011 tallies to the same point.
Holden said the Cruze and Captiva 5 delivered record sales for March — sales director Philip Brook said March had been tough for some model lines but the results reflected the company’s broader model focus.
‘‘Commodore is our number one seller and the hero of the brand; it did 3187 and that’s a good result for us,’’ he said.
The total market for March was 97,616— up by 3.9 per cent on March last year.
Passenger car sales contributed a 976 vehicle increase for March but it was SUV sales that improved, up by 4254 sales (an 18.4 per cent increase). For the year so far the sales tally stands at 260,122 vehicles, ahead of 2011 to the same point by 11,658 vehicle sales or 4.7 per cent.
Ford’s Neil Mcdonald said the brand was focusing on its entire range and not just the Falcon sales figures. FCAI chief executive Ian Chalmers said Australians would buy the cars that best met their lifestyle and budget.
‘‘SUVS continue to dominate Australian car sales, accounting for 28 per cent of all new car sales so far this year,’’ he said.
Glen Martin, 64, wanted to get out of his Toyota Camry and into a small SUV and the new CX-5 appealed. It will be the fourth Mazda owned by the family.
‘‘I was looking for something comfortable and reliable that we can drive across Australia, with room and the higher seating position — we really liked the CX-5, I was thinking 4WD and diesel but decided that we would get the 2WD petrol,’’ he said.
‘‘I was looking at a Forester, XV and X-trail but it didn’t compare to this CX-5. I think we’ve found the right car for us.’’