It’s the hottest property market in Australia and the Apple Isle is also the only state in which new vehicle sales rose in 2018. In NSW, Victorian and Queensland, sales fell respectively by 6.6, 1.8 and 0.7 per cent; nationally, the figure was 3.0 per cent. In Tassie, the annual tally increased by 3.3 per cent. The state’s December sales plummeted by more than 20 per cent on the previous year. Maybe the locals need bigger mortgages now …
Toyota finished 2018 as Australia’s favourite brand for the 16th year in a row with a record 217,061 sales, and the HiLux was the country’s top-selling vehicle overall for the third year running, with more than 51,000 sales. Fifty years after the HiLux arrived in 1968, Toyota’s iconic ute, now in its eighth generation, recorded its one millionth sale here. It’s been Australia’s top commercial vehicle for the past 21 years.
Volvo came roaring back up the charts in 2018, with sales up by 43 per cent, the largest increase of any volume manufacturer. It’s an SUV-led recovery, with the XC40, XC60 and XC90 wagons doing brisk business against their German rivals and the brand’s SUV sales up by an astounding 86.9 per cent. The market continues to ignore Volvo’s cars, though, with sales falling by 36.8 per cent.
NOT HOLDEN COMMODORE
Forty years after the Holden Commodore first rolled off the production lines in Elizabeth, South Australia, the badge and the brand are in desperate trouble. It seems Australians who grew up believing that Holden was “Australia’s Own” either haven’t forgiven its decision to cease local manufacturing in 2017 or simply decided it’s a brand that belongs in the past. The Commodore’s best year was 1998, when almost 95,000 left the showrooms, still the record for any car in Australian history. Twenty years later, the imported ZB Commodore managed less than one-tenth of that total — just 9040 cars, a decline of almost 62 per cent from 2017.
In 2016, Land Rover was on a roll, launching new models, making money and hiring workers. In 2018, it was a very different story, illustrating just how quickly fortunes can change in the car business. Sales of Land Rover’s virtually all-diesel model range have suffered in the fallout from Dieselgate, as governments around the world turn against the fuel and consumers abandon it. Demand in China is falling and Brexit will also be problematic for Land Rover sales in Europe. This year, the company plans job cuts of 5000. Australian sales were down by 32.1 per cent in 2018.
In tough times, boys and girls don’t buy as many toys. The industry classifies affordable sports cars as those costing less than $80,000. Sales fell by 36 per cent in 2018. Ford’s Mustang is still the big seller, with more than 50 per cent of the market — despite the comprehensive (and much better than the original) ’Stang update in 2018, sales fell by 30 per cent. Sports cars priced between $80,000-$200,000 were off by the same amount but in megabuck territory sales fell by just 2.5 per cent. Porsche sold 511 examples of its 911, an increase of nearly 19 per cent over the previous year. Ferrari sales were up by almost 15 per cent. The rich get richer ...