Demo-lition derby

The Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL -

IT’S go­ing to be a happy start to the new year for any­one in the mar­ket for a new car.

Some show­rooms around the coun­try will be full of “demon­stra­tor” mod­els that were “sold” in De­cem­ber but are still with­out buy­ers.

Con­fused? You can thank the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries. The FCAI has long turned a blind eye to what the Amer­i­cans like to call “chan­nel stuff­ing”, a prac­tice by which com­pa­nies in­flate their sales fig­ures by push­ing more stock into their dis­tri­bu­tion net­work than the net­work can sell that month.

The cars then ap­pear the next month as “demon­stra­tors”. Se­nior in­dus­try fig­ures pre­dicted the prac­tice would re­sult in a big De­cem­ber. They weren’t dis­ap­pointed. The Toy­ota Camry was the No.1 sell­ing car in the coun­try last month, with 5320 sales, more than dou­ble the 2000 it av­er­aged in the first 11 months.

Holden, which was en­gaged in a close bat­tle with Hyundai for third place on the sales charts, also had a big month, with sales up 18 per cent. In the pre­vi­ous 11 months sales were down 5 per cent.

Mean­while, other brands that had grown strongly all year went back­wards.

Toy­ota sales and mar­ket­ing boss Tony Cramb says sev­eral Camry demon­stra­tors had been reg­is­tered by deal­ers in De­cem­ber and would be sold in the first quar­ter of 2016.

“Deal­ers and con­sumers like to buy demon­stra­tor ve­hi­cles,” he says.

But he cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies this amounts to push­ing cars on to deal­ers.

“We didn’t stuff ve­hi­cles into our deal­ers, that’s for sure. I will clar­ify that. There is no way we would do that,” he says.

The FCAI sees no prob­lem with count­ing demon­stra­tors as it says ul­ti­mately all the cars will be sold, even if it makes life tough for some deal­ers.

For the crafty buyer, though, it presents a great op­por­tu­nity to crunch a deal on a demon­stra­tor with low or no kilo­me­tres that’s burn­ing a hole in a dealer prin­ci­pal’s pocket.

Toy­ot­taa Caam­rry:: Dec­cem­berr ssaal­less off 5000--plluss

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