Hybrids put some sizzle in sales
If it doesn’t ride high, sales are low. The relentless migration to the SUV continues and there are worrying signs for some of Australia’s best known and loved nameplates. The Toyota Corolla continues its dizzying descent from the summit; sales are down more than 20 per cent this year despite the arrival of an excellent new model last year. The new Mazda3 hasn’t set the world on fire in its first months on sale, while perennial favourites the Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Impreza are also doing it tough.
In Europe they are powerhouses but French brands are on the nose locally. The Renault revival has petered out, Peugeot is struggling despite having its strongest line-up in recent memory and Citroen is being outsold by Maserati. The gloom doesn't end in France, though. Over the border in Germany, things aren’t exactly peachy. Volkswagen sales were down roughly 17 per cent last month, Audi sales dipped by more than a third and Mercedes was down by 10 per cent. Italy’s Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Fiat are also struggling.
In a month when HSV launched the most muscular of American muscle cars, the star spangled banner took an all-too-familiar battering in the showrooms. Jeep sales continued to slide – down by almost a third – while it seems that even a highway patrol contract can’t save Chrysler in this country. The only bright spot for the Yanks was the good ol’ pick-up truck. So far this year, we’ve bought more Ram trucks than Peugeots.