Buy­ers are tak­ing the high road

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - COVER STORY - NICK DAL­TON

THE pres­tige ve­hi­cle mar­ket in Cairns is on a high.

Low in­ter­est rates, bet­ter spec­i­fi­ca­tion and com­pet­i­tive of­fer­ings across the brands are driv­ing the growth.

Sales of lux­ury cars, wag­ons, sports cars and SUVs so far this year to­tal 152, lead by Mercedes-Benz (43), fol­lowed by BMW (33), Lexus (29), Audi (22), HSV (16), Range Rover (5) and Jaguar (4)

Audi Cen­tre Cairns deal­er­prin­ci­pal Alan Bax­ter said at the end of April the over­all Cairns ve­hi­cle mar­ket was down 6.6 per cent or 285 units.

“But year to date the pre­mium seg­ment is up by 34 per cent (39 units),” he said.

“This growth com­ing from B seg­ment SUV up 142 per cent with the bal­ance from the A seg­ment sedan and hatch mar­ket up 79 per cent.

“The af­ford­abil­ity of pre­mium ve­hi­cles has never been bet­ter fu­elled by low in­ter­est rates, en­hanced spec­i­fi­ca­tions lev­els and very strong of­fer­ings in the mar­ket place.

“We have had some avail­abil­ity is­sues with the B seg­ment Audi Q5, which has made sup­ply dif­fi­cult, how­ever, we now have ad­e­quate stock ar­riv­ing from this week.

“That should set us a new de­liv­ery record in May for Audi.

“We are a lit­tle buoyed with the cur­rent level of Audi in­quiry and feel it is very sus­tain­able.”

Trin­ity Auto Group gen­eral man­ager Richard Jaska said pres­tige sales were go­ing well.

“Peo­ple are buy­ing across the (Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Range Rover) range at the mo­ment,” he said.

Mr Jaska said in par­tic­u­lar SUVs priced $60,000-$80,000 across all mar­ques were pop­u­lar as well as sedans in the same price range.

“I think that in the price range $60,000-$80,000 new car buy­ers are see­ing the value in Euro­pean engi­neer­ing and re­fine­ment.

“Peo­ple are com­par­ing Euro­pean with Asian and lo­cally built ve­hi­cles more than ever.

“I hope the rest of the year fol­lows suit.

“I think we have all been sur­prised by the jump in sales, how­ever, the prod­uct, price and mar­ket­ing for all of our mar­ques is brilliant.”

Lexus of Cairns gen­eral man­ager Michael Briscoe said since Lexus had broad­ened its range the deal­er­ship had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “sub­stan­tial growth”.

“Our cus­tomers are al­ways look­ing for, and ap­pre­ci­at­ing some­thing new, both in fea­tures and tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

“The re­cently re­leased thor­oughly mod­ern Lexus tur­bocharged two-litre en­gine has set new stan­dards for com­fort and smooth­ness.

“De­mand con­tin­ues to rise for turbo mod­els and it’s fit­ted to five ve­hi­cles in our range – from the coupe RC to the SUV RX.

“Lux­ury is be­com­ing more ac­ces­si­ble in the mar­ket­place of­fer­ing prod­ucts at more ac­ces­si­ble pric­ing there­fore lux­ury con­tin­ues grow­ing.

“SUVs are tak­ing the lead. The Lexus NX SUV launched just a year ago is in the big­gest de­mand of all our range and is com­pet­ing in one of the fastest grow­ing lux­ury seg­ments.

“It’s poised to take a mar­ket share with its cut­ting edge de­sign, feature-laden in­te­rior and dy­namic per­for­mance of­fer­ing.”

Westco BMW sales man­ager David Avery said the deal­er­ship had ex­ceeded tar­get and had a “healthy or­der bank”.

“Any­thing with an X in front of it is sell­ing well, par­tic­u­larly X1, X3 and X4,” he said.

“Na­tion­ally the pre­mium seg­ment is grow­ing 22.4 per cent but in Cairns it is 34 per cent. Low in­ter­est rates and value in the prod­ucts are driv­ing the growth.

“The X3 is very com­pet­i­tive as BMW have in­cluded at no cost a MS­port in­no­va­tion pack­age, which is $7000 of ex­tra value.

“The X1 is very strong and in­ter­est in the M2 is high.

“We have sold one and await­ing de­liv­ery.

“A X6M is due next week as well as a X6 40d. There is still high in­ter­est in high end SUVs.

“The im­proved 3 se­ries is at­tract­ing in­ter­est.

Ire­land HSV sales man­ager Jon Maurice said high end mod­els such as the HSV GTS and R8 mod­els con­tin­ued to be strong as well as the Holden Com­modore SSV Red­line and Calais V V8.

“Our or­der bank of the ve­hi­cles is very healthy and con­tin­ues to be a lot of our main in­quiry,” he said.

Mr Maurice said the V8 Aussie ve­hi­cles were com­pet­i­tively priced with the same power and per­for­mance as well as the high end fea­tures and level of com­fort and tech­nol­ogy of higher priced Euro brands.

“The fu­ture is very bright for HSV and Holden as there are a num­ber of very ex­cit­ing and lim­ited edi­tion mod­els in the wings that will be on of­fer in the com­ing months.”

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