REVHEAD ROYAL

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

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.’’

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