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September Record

Sales of passenger cars, SUV’s and commercial vehicles broke all sales records for September, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The previous September sales record was set in 2005, well before the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, which shows that the recovery in Australia is well and truly on the way.

But such a substantial reversal has come as a surprise to many, prompting a review of the annual sales forecast to more than one million sales, a figure that has only been exceeded twice before in the history of the Australian Motor Industry.

The winners in September were:-

  • Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) – up a whopping 53.5%.
  • Mazda, with a sales surge of 22.8%, led by their small car, the Mazda3, which has now eclipsed all competitors to become the second best-selling vehicle behind the ever popular Holden Dunny door….err, sorry…Commodore ( see It’s a Foreign Language).
  • The Holden Cruze – still manufactured in Korea, with a 10% increase to be elevated to third place on the sales ladder.

But there were also some losers, notably the Ford Falcon, suffering a 18.9% drop and an overall brand slippage for Ford from 3rd to 4th place.

Can you notice a pattern? It’s the imports that are gaining a hold at the expense of the local product, and that’s a reflection on the longer term view that imports hold their value better than local product, and, more importantly, the ever-strengthening Aus$.

In effect this means that imported cars are becoming cheaper in Aus$ terms. But neither manufacturers nor importers are reducing their retail prices in the local market. Instead they are providing ‘sweeteners’ for their dealers. Model updates include previous ‘extras’ as standard equipment, more generous trade in etc.etc.

But it takes time to react to unexpected sales successes and that can lead to temporary, though annoying, stock shortages in the market place.

On the other hand locally manufactured cars are losing out to the imported competition, so stocks may be abundant, and a sharp negotiator could also score a good deal here, too.