Hyundai sales defy mas­sive down­turn

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

ONLY one ma­jor car­maker had any rea­son to cel­e­brate with the show­room re­sults for April. Hyundai was the sin­gle brand in the top 10 to lift its re­sult over the same month in 2008 as new-car sales slipped to their worst level since the start of the global eco­nomic down­turn.

April was a mas­sive 23.9 per cent down on the same month last year, a re­sult which also drags the year-to-date to­tal back by 20.3 per cent and points to­wards a full-year show­room to­tal in the 840,000 range.

Some of the pain was eased by the usual sales dis­lo­ca­tion over Easter, which gave an ex­cuse for some un­der-per­form­ers, as well as the po­ten­tial for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment al­lowance to lift re­sults in the sell­ing days be­fore the end of the fi­nan­cial year.

“While the fig­ures con­firm that mar­ket con­di­tions re­main soft, the ex­tent of the fall has been com­pounded by the tim­ing of the Easter hol­i­days,” FCAI chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew McKel­lar said.

“Af­ter ad­just­ing for sea­sonal fac­tors, sales in April ap­pear to be broadly con­sis­tent with re­sults of re­cent months and we re­main hope­ful that con­di­tions will soon sta­bilise.”

But Hyundai does not have to wait as it im­proved its re­sult by a solid 12.3 per cent, im­prov­ing from 3683 sales in April ‘08 to 4136 in April ‘09. The brand is also up more than 12 per cent for the first four months of the year, a huge con­trast to mar­ket leader Toy­ota which dropped 37.5 per cent in April and is trail­ing its year-to-date ef­fort in 2008 by 29.3 per cent.

Hyundai’s i30 man­aged a best-yet rank­ing of sixth for the month, a re­sult which even trumped its tra­di­tional show­room favourite, the Getz, in ninth.

The num­bers are not huge, 1491 for i30 and 1307 for the Getz, but re­flect a sig­nif­i­cant boost for the brand.

At the top end of the car sales chart, Toy­ota con­tin­ued its lead­er­ship and GM Holden held on to favourite car choice with the Com­modore. But the two brands are split on their pre­dic­tions, with Toy­ota fore­cast­ing a sig­nif­i­cant show­room im­prove­ment in com­ing months with Holden wait­ing for change.

“We ex­pect a pick-up in sales for May and June, fol­lowed by a mar­ket that will be stronger in the sec­ond half of the year than in the first six months,” Toy­ota’s sales and mar­ket­ing boss Dave But­tner said.

“I don’t think any­body is beat­ing their chest, it is and re­mains a tough mar­ket,” replied GM Holden spokesman Scott Whif­fin.

But, with the Com­modore con­tin­u­ing as Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar car, Whif­fin said the com­pany was en­cour­aged to see Com­modore sales off only 4 per cent in a mar­ket that was down 25 per cent.

“You’re also see­ing flight to value in the mar­ket,” Mr Whif­fin said.

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