It should be no surprise that Australians love performance cars.
For a country that only had two ‘properly Aussie’ cars (sorry, Camry), it might have seemed excessive to some that we also had a separate company for each that would make them faster.
MOTOR has gathered sales information and spoken to a few brands about the trends in their performance car sales, and Australia seems to come out on top – or close to it – consistently.
Of course, not every company would divulge their specific sales information, but BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Volkswagen, and Ford were all happy to let us know just how well their performance models… er, perform.
The two premium German brands, BMW and Benz, both gave us an insight into how their performance sub-brands fare locally.
Australians, it turns out, constitute the largest per-capita market for AMG products in the world.
With approximately 20 per cent of Merc’s local sales wearing an AMG badge, this equates to (roughly, based on information from Mercedes) 7300 to 7500 AMG models sold in 2017. The brand’s total Australian sales were 37,068 that year.
Even given Australia’s relatively low population, we come in fifth place worldwide for total AMG sales.
And it’s a similar story with BMW’s M cars. While Australia bought 23,619 BMWs in 2017, 1467 of those were proper M cars, not accounting for cars like the M140i or any other M-Sport cars.
This means that Australia’s ratio of M cars to regular models puts us, again, at number one worldwide.
The more widely accessible German, VW, still provides us with a snapshot of how many Australians are opting for the fastest model in each range, with a spokesperson telling MOTOR between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of buyers choose the most performance-oriented version of their selected vehicle.
The Golf, for example, helps Australia hold a place as the third-largest market for R and R-Line cars in the world. Volkswagen sold 16,859 Golf hatches in 2017, over 3000 of which were GTI or R products.
Lexus, though it has a smaller market share than its rivals, still follows a similar trend. Despite F products (its most performance-driven models) only making 57 sales (less than 1 per cent of total) in 2017, its tamer F Sport range makes up over 36 per cent of its total sales.
Where the Japanese premium brand sold 8800 cars locally in 2017, 3193 were F Sport models, cars that bridge the gap between its regular models and its wild V8-powered machines.
MOTOR Interview: Yukihiko Yaguchi - Father of the RC F
Finally, one of the biggest success stories for performance cars in Australia has to be that of the Mustang. Since its introduction to our shores, it has consistently topped the V-Facts ‘sports cars’ category, and makes up more than a tenth of Ford’s total local sales.
In 2017, Ford Australia sold 9165 Mustangs, both GT and EcoBoost, making up 11.7 per cent of its total 78,161 vehicles sold.
This year alone, up until and including April, Ford has shifted a coincidental 2018 Mustangs. That’s the number of cars, not the year.
In a time where the Ford Ranger is topping the Sales charts and Australians are getting into more SUVs and dual-cabs, it’s heartening to see that we still want to drive cars that we can be passionate about.