Mercury (Hobart) - - MOTORING - David McCowen

HOT TOY­OTA RAV4 Around the coun­try, the new RAV4 is a cracker, tick­ing plenty of boxes for cou­ples and fam­i­lies. Long wait­ing lists and tricky sup­ply of soughtafte­r hy­brid vari­ants couldn’t stop the RAV4 from be­com­ing last month’s top-sell­ing SUV and help­ing lift hy­brid sales to new peaks across the board. It even leapfrogge­d the sta­ble­mate Corolla hatch to oc­cupy fourth place, be­hind the reign­ing HiLux and Ford Ranger ute duo, and Hyundai’s i30. LAM­BORGH­INI URUS A high-rid­ing, four-door, all-wheel drive Lam­borgh­ini cross­over would have been laughed out of town 10 years ago. But the new Urus is prov­ing pop­u­lar with wealthy cus­tomers, out­selling the brand’s sports cars four­fold in Oc­to­ber. The Urus is ahead of com­bined sales for Hu­ra­can and Aven­ta­dor for the year to date, so it’s not hard to see why Fer­rari, As­ton Mar­tin and oth­ers are about to board the SUV train. KIA The mar­ket as a whole is down 8 per cent, or about 78,000 cars for the year to date. Among the best-sell­ing brands, nine of the top 10 reg­is­tered sales de­clines when com­par­ing last month with the pre­vi­ous Oc­to­ber. The out­lier was Kia, which is hav­ing a strong year helped by the in­tro­duc­tion of a new Cerato hatch. Strip­ping out SUV sales and fo­cus­ing on pas­sen­ger models, Kia out­per­formed ri­val brands such as Mazda and Hyundai and was sec­ond only to Toy­ota. NOT MAZDA3 The new Mazda3 hasn’t quite res­onated with cau­tious Aus­tralian buy­ers. Is it the car’s dearer en­try price, com­pro­mised rear space or the trend to­ward SUVs? We’re not sure but the Mazda3 has slipped out of the top 10, lag­ging well be­hind the Hyundai i30, Toy­ota Corolla and Kia Cerato. FORD MUS­TANG Win on Sun­day, sell on Mon­day — the old adage used to be true but suc­cess on the Su­per­cars cir­cuit hasn’t trans­lated to sales growth for the Mus­tang. The Blue Oval brand dom­i­nated last month’s Bathurst 1000, win­ning from pole po­si­tion. But the Mus­tang recorded its worst sales tally for 2019, con­tribut­ing to a 31 per cent drop for the year to date. RED TAPE Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries boss Tony We­ber blames red tape on new car fi­nance for at least part of the mar­ket’s slow­down. “While the drought and other do­mes­tic con­di­tions are im­pact­ing the mar­ket, our key con­cern is the ef­fect over-reg­u­la­tion of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor is hav­ing on new ve­hi­cle sales,” he says. “The FCAI and our mem­bers have been con­cerned about the risk-averse ap­proach to lend­ing in Aus­tralia for some time and see im­proved ac­cess to fi­nance as a key to driv­ing eco­nomic growth in 2020.”

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