Bar­gains keep bost­ing the sales WIN­NERS AND LOSERS

The Advertiser - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MOTORING EDI­TOR

WE are poised for another year of new-car bar­gains, if the start to 2016 is a guide.

The Hyundai i30 was the top-seller for the third time in 10 months, as buy­ers em­braced a $19,990 drive-away deal that in­cluded au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, rear-view cam­era and five-year war­ranty — a sav­ing of about $7000 on the full RRP.

The Mazda3 re­mains the na­tion’s big­gest seller in the first three months of the year. The reign­ing cham­pion for the past three years, Toy­ota’s Corolla, is off to a slow start.

With Toy­ota, Mazda and Hyundai bat­tling it out for No.1 in the small-car class, buy­ers can ex­pect prices to stay sharp.

Hyundai’s con­tin­u­ing i30 deal un­der­cuts the re­cent pro­mo­tion of the Corolla auto at $21,990 drive-away.

There are deals on the Mazda3 hatch and sedan but the com­pany doesn’t pub­lish drive-away pric­ing, in­stead teas­ing buy­ers with “free on­roads”. Some buy­ers pay more than oth­ers be­cause dealer de­liv­ery fees vary.

Mar­ket leader Toy­ota ap­pears to be strug­gling un­der the weight of new com­pe­ti­tion — its sales are down for the third month in a row. Mazda, run­ning sec­ond, has en­joyed 13 con­sec­u­tive months of growth.

And Hyundai is on track to over­take Holden this year, hav­ing eclipsed the ri­val on seven oc­ca­sions last year and this year to date.

Holden’s for­mer arch ri­val Ford ap­pears to have fi­nally turned the cor­ner, post­ing sales in­creases for the fifth month in a row. This is Ford’s first sig­nif­i­cant sales turn­around af­ter 10 years of straight de­cline. Last year Ford posted its low­est re­sult since 1966.

In other up­sets, lux­ury brand Mercedes-Benz made it into the Top 10 ahead of Honda and Kia, while BMW de­liv­ered more ve­hi­cles than Isuzu.

Sales for March were steady (down 0.5 per cent to 104,512 de­liv­er­ies) but a ques­tion mark re­mains over their ac­cu­racy.

The fig­ures rep­re­sent the num­ber of ve­hi­cles re­ported as sold by deal­ers and car com­pa­nies rather than be­ing based on reg­is­tra­tions.

They are com­piled by the Federal Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, the car lobby group, and sup­plied to the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics.

Nev­er­the­less, Aus­tralia is on track for another record year of car sales. Re­ported sales for the first quar­ter reached 285,328, up 2.8 per cent on the same pe­riod of 2015, a record year.

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