THE Holden Commodore defied a sales trend away from Australian-made cars to post a surprise 8.8 percent sales increase in 2014.
This was quite a contrast to the massive declines posted by other locally produced vehicles as the automotive manufacturing industry gears up to shut its doors by the end of 2017.
For the first time, cars produced locally made up fewer than one in ten sales last year.
While Commodore posted 30,203 sales, Ford managed to sell a mere 6349 Falcons – the car’s worst ever result, down 40.2 percent on the previous year – while the Territory SUV was also a sales flop, down 31.1 percent.
The locally produced Camry (down 11.3 percent), Aurion (down 24.5 percent) and Holden Cruze (down 24.0 percent) also posted disappointing results.
The industry dropped by 2.0 percent, but it was still the second-biggest car market on record, helped by relatively buoyant December sales of 96,809 cars, a drop of just 0.1 percent compared with December 2013.
Much of the sales drop for the year was attributable to the mining downturn, with the resource-heavy states of Western Australia (down 8.1 percent) and Queensland (down 4.1 percent) accounting for 86 percent of the 23,003 fewer sales compared with 2013.
Sales of regular passenger cars – sedans, wagons and hatchbacks – continued to drop as SUVs picked up the slack. Having accounted for three-quarters of all new-vehicle sales for two decades, passenger vehicles now account for just 47.8 percent of the market.
SUVs – which include off-roaders and city-focused high-riding wagons made to look rugged – continue their stratospheric sales rise, now accounting for a record 31.7 percent of sales. The 352,347 SUV sales in 2014 represents a 5.6 percent increase on the previous year.
Toyota was the top-selling automotive brand for the 12th consecutive year, but its sales continue to slide in an increasingly fragmented market.
The Japanese brand sold 203,501 cars in 2014, a drop of 11,129.
Each of the top three brands – Toyota, Holden and Mazda – shed market share as rivals such as Hyundai grew.