Hy­brid RAV4 races up sales charts

Petrol-elec­tric units fuel Toy­ota’s suc­cess for month of May

The West Australian - - WEST WHEELS | AUTO NEWS - WHAT’S HOT WHAT’S NOT

Glad the elec­tion’s over? You’re not the only ones: jit­tery buy­ers have made life tough for the car in­dus­try and sales dropped by 8 per cent in May. Here’s what was hot and what was not.

HY­BRIDS

The new RAV4, with hy­brid power as its unique sell­ing point, gave hy­brid sales a huge shot in the arm in May.

The RAV4 surged to No.3 on the charts with al­most 3000 sales — al­most two-thirds of which were hy­brids.

Aus­tralians bought roughly 3500 petrol-elec­tric ve­hi­cles in May, more than dou­ble the same month last year.

Toy­ota, which also sells hy­brid Cam­rys and Corol­las, sold 3259 of those.

In con­trast, sales of diesel ve­hi­cles con­tin­ued to tum­ble.

SKODA

It’s been a long, hard slog for the Czech brand, which was once the butt of un­kind jokes — but Skoda’s on a roll in 2019.

The ar­rival of the city-friendly Karoq SUV has helped, as has the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the seven-seat Ko­diaq.

The Oc­tavia lift­back and wagon had a par­tic­u­larly strong May, out­selling pop­u­lar mid-size ri­vals in­clud­ing the Mazda6, Subaru Lib­erty and Ford Mon­deo.

Sales are up 20 per cent this year.

KIA

An­other brand step­ping from the shadow of a big­ger si­b­ling.

Sales have more than dou­bled in the past five years thanks to sharp pric­ing, gen­er­ous seven-year war­ranty and a much-im­proved line-up.

The brand was fifth on the sales chart last month, eclips­ing Ja­panese heavy­weights Mit­subishi and Nis­san.

The $19,990 Cer­ato, in hatch and sedan form, leads the charge.

HATCH­BACKS

If it doesn’t ride high, sales are low.

The relentless mi­gra­tion to the SUV continues and there are wor­ry­ing signs for some of Aus­tralia’s best-known and loved name­plates.

The Toy­ota Corolla continues its dizzy­ing de­scent from the sum­mit — sales are down more than 20 per cent this year de­spite the ar­rival of an ex­cel­lent new model last year.

The new Mazda3 hasn’t set the world on fire in its first months on sale, while peren­nial favourites the Volk­swa­gen Golf and Subaru Im­preza are also do­ing it tough.

If it doesn’t ride high, sales are low.

EURO­PEANS

In Europe, they are pow­er­houses, but French brands are on the nose lo­cally.

The Re­nault re­vival has pe­tered out, Peu­geot is strug­gling de­spite hav­ing its strong­est line-up in re­cent memory and Citroen is be­ing out­sold by Maserati.

The gloom doesn’t end in France. In Ger­many, things aren’t ex­actly peachy.

Volk­swa­gen sales were down about 17 per cent last month, Audi sales dipped by more than a third and Mercedes was down by 10 per cent.

Italy’s Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Fiat are also strug­gling.

AMER­I­CANS

In a month when HSV launched the most mus­cu­lar of Amer­i­can mus­cle cars, the star span­gled ban­ner took an all-too-fa­mil­iar bat­ter­ing in the show­rooms.

Jeep sales con­tin­ued to slide — down by al­most a third — while it seems even a high­way pa­trol con­tract can’t save Chrysler in this coun­try.

The only bright spot was the good ol’ pick-up truck. So far this year, we’ve bought more Ram trucks than Peu­geots. Richard Black­burn

The RAV4 surged to No. 3 on the charts.

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