FORD Falcon sales hit a new low last month as buyers kept their wallets shut ahead of the release of the last-ever model to wear the famous nameplate.
The latest VFACTS data showing new-vehicle registrations for October, released today, reveal only 396 Falcons found their way out of showroom doors.
Buyers generally switched off, pushing sales down by 1.5 percent compared with the same month last year, and down 3.9 percent on September’s numbers.
Overall, 91,236 new vehicles were sold in October, with passenger cars slumping 8.1 percent from September, with the medium-car and SUV segments the only market sectors to show any growth for the month.
Holden’s honeymoon run with the Commodore also hit a road bump in October, with sales of the locally made large car falling by a third to 2210 as buyers wait for the release of a new model that weighs most of the improvements to the higher-priced V8-engined models.
The showroom pain for Falcon and Commodore, combined with softer sales for Ford Territory (828), Holden Cruze (1344), Toyota Camry (1908) and Toyota Aurion (405), pushed sales of Australian-made cars down by almost a third for the month to a new low of just 7679.
Toyota’s Corolla hatch and sedan fleet special has romped away in the running for the title of Australia’s best-selling vehicle, its 3819 units outpacing the nation’s best-selling car for private buyers, the Mazda 3, which only managed 2982 sales.
Commodore slipped behind Hyundai’s strong-selling i30 hatchback (2475).
The numbers prove we still love our work-on-weekdays, play-on-weekends trade utes. Taking these into account, the Toyota HiLux (3228) was Australia’s second-best selling vehicle overall behind the Corolla in October, while the Ford Ranger (2405) and Mitsubishi’s ageing Triton (1787) both featured in the top 10.
On the luxury front, Mercedes-Benz continues to crush its rivals, posting 3150 sales for the month as its new C-Class sedan (862 sales) hits showrooms, and the buyers come running with open wallets. Interestingly, one of the luxury marque’s better-performing models is the Sprinter van (229).
BMW, meanwhile, could only manage 1907 sales for the month, weighted towards its 3 Series sedan, wagon, convertible and fastback GT range (393), and the recently – and subtly – refreshed X5 SUV (366, almost as many as Falcon).
Audi was not far behind BMW with 1613 sales for the month, led by its A3 small hatch and convertible range (577) and the X5-rivalling Q5 SUV (347).
Lexus (808) had a good month, boosting sales by a quarter compared to the same month last year, led by its 3 Series-rivalling IS range (240) and all-new compact NX and mid-size RX SUVs (174 sales each).
Infiniti also improved for the month, but at 45 sales remains well out of the race.
Private buyers are still yawning every time the word hybrid is mentioned, while governments and business appear to be missing the technology’s environmental message, with sales of big, heavy SUVs in the hybrid sector running 350 percent ahead of the first 10 months of last year; smaller, lighter passenger hybrids are only 11.8 percent up.
If new-car sales continue to remain flat for the rest of the year, 2014 will fall short of becoming a record year.
The Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industries, which compiles the VFACTS data on behalf of car brands, is predicting the market will only log 1.12 million sales by the year’s end.
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