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Affordable sports cars propping up the market

By Daniel DeGasperi, 03 Oct 2017 News


Affordable coupes and convertibles buck passenger-car decline

THE sports car market is bucking the trend of declining passenger car sales.

Sub-$60K hatchbacks, sedans and wagons – some under $80K depending on the class – declined 6.9 per cent year-to-date comparing August 2016 (281,462 sales) against August 2017 (262,137), while contenders priced beyond those figures fell 7.1 per cent, 42,655 sales down to 39,655.

And yet coupes and convertibles in all price brackets are up by 7.9 per cent – 18,093 units climbing to 19,518 in total. Sub-$80K sports cars soared 11.4 per cent year-on-year to 13,489 sales before the final four months on the calendar, with the Ford Mustang’s 6715 nabbing half the segment’s tally.

2017-Toyota-86-GTS.jpgThe Subaru BRZ leapt by 96.3 per cent to 483 – one-third of the Toyota 86’s 1227. And the Mazda MX-5 is trumping the Abarth 124 Spider four times over, 1045 plays 243. Coupes and convertibles at $80K-plus are only up 0.8 per cent, with a 4856 total, led by the Benz C-Class (2071 – up 60.3 per cent), Infiniti Q60 (50 – up 51.5 per cent) and Audi A5 (335 – up 40.8 per cent).

Meanwhile the $200K-plus sports cars category is only trending 0.9 per cent higher, with 1173 total volume, and the Rolls-Royce (17, up 41.7 per cent), Benz SL-Class (42 – up 40 per cent) and S-Class (74 – up 37 per cent), McLaren (66 – up 32 per cent) and Aston Martin (95 – up 28.4 per cent) doing enough to offset declines for the BMW i8 (18 – down 30.8 per cent), Benz GT (84 – down 19.2 per cent) and Audi R8 (34 – down 19 per cent).

Mercedes-AMG-V8-C-Class-coupe.jpgYet there isn’t a stampede towards luxury SUVs, with $70K-plus faux-wheel drives down 3.9 per cent in 2017. And like sports cars, cheaper SUV classes are up 7.2 per cent.

The trend is clear: Aussies buying more affordable sports cars and SUVs are propping up total market volume, which is trending 0.6 per cent higher than last year’s record.