AGAINST THE GRAIN
Sporty models are shoving sales trends
WITH THREE quarters of 2018 through, and three months to go, passenger vehicle sales are down 13 per cent (all figures September 2017 versus September 2018 year-to-date) and even a decent SUV upswing of 9 per cent hasn’t offset a total market decline of 0.9 per cent. Yet there are sporty makes and models turning around a whole lot of otherwise downward-pointing arrows. The sharpest soarer is the MercedesAMG GT, which has capitalised on its expanded range to deliver 42 per cent growth from 101 to 143 units. And that’s in a $200K-plus sportscar bracket down 0.5 per cent, no less. Porsche’s 718 Cayman is up 23 per cent from 168 to 206 sales in the sub-$200K sportscar class, although its 718 Boxster sibling fell 20 per cent from 119 to 95 roadsters over the same period. Which leaves the Audi A5 the clearest star performer, up 24 per cent and from 384 to 475 of now both the coupe and convertible variants. That class is down 26 per cent, too, yet it has gone the other way. Among sub-$80K sportscars, down by a horrendous 40 per cent, only the Subaru BRZ is holding up by a scant 0.4 per cent, idling from 569 to 571 sales. Once upon a time it was outsold 10-to-one by the Toyota 86, but its coupe near-twin has plummeted 43 per cent from 1317 to 757 sales, closing the gap between the duo substantially. Among sporty sedans (and wagons) the Alfa Romeo Giulia is up 6 per cent from 463 to 490 sales, inside a premium medium class down 18 per cent, while the Skoda Octavia is up 14 per cent from 1319 to 1503 sales and with RS being the most popular, all in a mainstream medium segment tumbling by 30 per cent.
TOO COOL Subaru WRX Perennial all-paw sedan has this year outsold BRZ three-to-one, yet it’s still down 9 per cent from 1862 to 1704 sales. Meanwhile, and quite literally speaking volumes about modern Subie buyers, 7510 units of the boggo Impreza have moved this year. -9 PER CENT
PIPING HOT Volkswagen Golf Both GTI and R make up a quarter of all Golfs sold, so a 15 per cent rise from 13,126 to 15,066 units is significant. The small-car class is down 4 per cent. 15 PER CENT