Records fell and traditions were challenged in 2017.
Of the record 1.189 million new vehicles sold last year, SUV models soared by 5.6 per cent to 465,646 sales and they ousted passenger cars – down 7.5 per cent to 450,012 – for the first time. Medium SUVs alone recorded a mammoth 13.6 per cent gain to 195,655 sales, while the best-selling small car segment was stagnant at 220,146 units.
Dual-cab utes also increased by 12.8 per cent to 165,797 sales, replacing large SUVs as the third most popular segment in the country. It bodes well for this year’s Ford Ranger Raptor and Colorado SportsCat by HSV that each hope to seize upon our love for load luggers with added sportiness.
To that end, Ford’s first year without local manufacturing went unnoticed in sales terms – it fell by 3046 or 3.8 per cent to 78,161 units, with Falcon/Territory volume supplanted by the successful Mustang and Ranger.
Worryingly for Holden, though, it fell by 4002 units or 4.2 per cent to 90,306 sales even with the local Commodore still holding a dominant 23,676 slice, but falling 8.4 per cent. Given the admission that the ZB Commo import won’t sell as well, how will the Lion recover volume in 2018?
In contrast to GM’s Aussie division, South Korea’s Kia romped home with a 12,069-unit increase, up 28.3 per cent to 54,737 sales, although Stinger contributed just 504 to that tally.
Other big gongs go to little players, such as Alfa Romeo’s 48.7 per cent boost to 1057 thanks to Giulia’s 639 solid debut, Maserati’s 53.2 per cent increase to 740 owing to Levante’s 492 haul, and Aston Martin and McLaren up by a quarter to 144 and 116 sales respectively. Meanwhile Benz and Porsche were steady, while Audi and BMW fell slightly.
The take-out of 2017? Minnows are on the rise as larger players (and segments) stall.