Ford mo­men­tum

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - News - RICHARD BLACK­BURN HO T NO T

JAN­UARY is typ­i­cally a tough month for the car in­dus­try, as fleet buy­ers take a break and deal­ers strug­gle to find cus­tomers for cars they re­ported as “sold” in De­cem­ber. The in­dus­try man­aged to keep its record-break­ing mo­men­tum none­the­less, with sales up marginally on the same month last year. Ford There is life af­ter Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory. De­spite the clo­sure of its Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions in Oc­to­ber, Ford started the new year as it finished the old, with im­prov­ing sales on the back of its new hero, the Ranger pick-up. Un­like ri­val Holden, the Blue Oval has man­aged to suc­cess­fully wean it­self off lo­cally-built ve­hi­cles, which made up less than 10 per cent of sales in Jan­uary. The 4WD Ranger beat its arch-ri­val Toy­ota HiLux, while the Fo­cus started the year strongly and the Mon­deo was the se­cond most pop­u­lar main­stream mid-sized sedan. Small cars The ar­rival of some no­table new mod­els has given the hatch­back mar­ket a lift. Subaru’s new Im­preza might not look very dif­fer­ent from its pre­de­ces­sor but it dou­bled its sales over last Jan­uary. Ex­cep­tional deals on the Kia Cer­ato have made it a pop­u­lar choice — sales are up by 90 per cent over last year. The Hyundai i30 and Toy­ota Corolla both had solid months, while the Mazda3 dipped slightly. SUVs Sales of SUVs al­most eclipsed pas­sen­ger car sales in Jan­uary and it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore they be­come the dom­i­nant force on our roads. Mid-sized soft­road­ers led the charge, with the Mazda CX-5 re­tain­ing its place on the top of buyer lists, fol­lowed closely by the Nis­san X-Trail and Hyundai Tuc­son. Sales of miniSUVs dipped in Jan­uary, de­spite the ar­rival of the new Suzuki Ig­nis and strong sales of its sta­ble­mate Vi­tara. Mazda’s CX-3 com­fort­ably out­sold the op­po­si­tion, as the Mit­subishi ASX and Honda HR-V filled the mi­nor plac­ings. The ar­rival of Toy­ota’s C-HR later this month should get this seg­ment back in the minds of buy­ers. Toy­ota Camry The mid-sized sedan was Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar car in De­cem­ber with a mam­moth 4850 sales. Last month only 580 new cus­tomers were found. Toy­ota de­nies any shenani­gans but deal­ers re­port it’s a bit hard to sell new mod­els with all those “low-kilo­me­tre demos” float­ing about. Camry’s demise cleared the way for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class to be­come the coun­try’s num­ber one sell­ing mid-sized sedan, while BMW’s 3 Se­ries at­tracted more buy­ers than main­stream favourites the Mazda6 and Subaru Lib­erty. Aus­tralians came very close to buy­ing more pres­tige sedans than gar­den va­ri­ety ones. Volk­swa­gen The ar­rival of the all-new Tiguan to­wards the end of last year has failed to stem the tide for the Ger­man brand. Carsguide’s Car of the Year at­tracted more than 700 buy­ers, com­pared with none last Jan­uary, but that wasn’t enough to stop VW sales dip­ping by more than 8 per cent in Jan­uary. Golf, Pas­sat and Polo sales were all down, while the fam­ily-sized Touareg SUV also strug­gled to get onto shop­ping lists. Jeep A new Com­pass is com­ing later this year, but the sales nee­dle is firmly point­ing south for Jeep. Sales dipped by al­most 50 per cent last year but it ap­pears the brand hasn’t found rock bot­tom yet. Jan­uary numbers were roughly a third of where they were at the start of last year, with the flag­ship Grand Chero­kee strug­gling.

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