Novem­ber stum­bles

The Advertiser - Motoring - - NEWS -

WITH just weeks to go, the car in­dus­try is set for another record year.

But there are signs that new­car sales are com­ing off the boil. In the first half of the year, sales in NSW, the coun­try’s big­gest mar­ket, were up by more than 7 per cent but they lost ground last month.

Sales in WA (down 5.2 per cent for the first 11 months) and Queens­land (down 1 per cent) have tum­bled, too. Sales to pri­vate buy­ers are down by al­most 6 per cent. Fleet and rental sales of SUVs are prop­ping up the mar­ket.

Here’s what was hot and what was not in Novem­ber.

HOT One-tonne utes

Once again, the top two ve­hi­cles in the coun­try were utes. Toy­ota’s HiLux pipped the Ford Ranger for top spot and in the process es­tab­lished a lead of 615 sales over its Corolla sta­ble­mate in the race to be Aus­tralia’s favourite name­plate. The love isn’t be­ing shared around by the tradies though; sales of the Mit­subishi Tri­ton are down by 15 per cent this year and the new Holden Colorado hasn’t set the world alight since its launch in Septem­ber. Sales of the 4WD Colorado were down 15 per cent on last Novem­ber.

Ford Mus­tang

Ford’s retro hero com­fort­ably out­sold the Fal­con this year. In the bud­get sports car seg­ment (less than $80,000), the Mus­tang ac­counted for one in every three ve­hi­cles sold. Sales of Mazda’s new MX-5 have dou­bled over the pre­vi­ous year but it still had to set­tle for fifth place in the seg­ment in Novem­ber, be­hind the BMW 2 Se­ries, Hyundai Veloster and Toy­ota 86.


The other Korean car brand has launched into the top of the pop charts with a bul­let. Kia has dis­lodged Honda from the top 10 brands and over­taken Mercedes-Benz in the process. Novem­ber sales were slightly lower than in the first 10 months of the year but over­all sales are up 26 per cent year-to­date. Lead­ing the way was the keenly priced Cer­ato small car and Cars­guide’s 2015 Car of the Year, the Sorento, which was up by more than a third last month.

NOT Green cars

Aus­tralians bought seven elec­tric cars last month, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial fig­ures. That doesn’t in­clude sales of plug-in pin-up boy Tesla, be­cause un­for­tu­nately the US start-up is as trans­par­ent as the Fed­eral Govern­ment spokesman on de­ten­tion cen­tres. Sales of hy­brids are also down, although fleets are buy­ing more hy­brid SUVs.

French cars

If you’re look­ing for a deal on a new car, your lo­cal Citroen, Peu­geot or Re­nault deal­er­ship might be a good place to start. Sales of all three brands are down this year and Novem­ber pro­vided lit­tle re­lief. Citroen sales are down 15 per cent, Peu­geot is down 22 per cent and Re­nault is down roughly 2 per cent. The Peu­geot 208 and 308 are among Europe’s most pop­u­lar name­plates but lo­cally they at­tracted just 15 and 41 buy­ers re­spec­tively in Novem­ber. Citroen’s DS3 hot hatch found just one buyer.


The tip­ping point is com­ing. Based on cur­rent trends this will be the last year in which hatches and sedans out­sell SUVs. Pas­sen­ger car sales (which also in­clude peo­ple­movers and sports cars) were down 4.5 per cent in Novem­ber, while SUV sales rose 4 per cent. If you toss in privately reg­is­tered one-tonne utes, cars are al­ready out­num­bered on our roads, de­spite the fact that SUVs and utes are thirstier, more ex­pen­sive and in­her­ently less safe to drive. Go fig­ure.

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