WINNERS AND LOSERS IN 2014

Toyota Corolla was Australia’s biggest selling vehicle for 2014

Toyota Corolla was Australia’s biggest selling vehicle for 2014

After a series of bumper years vehicle sales slowed in 2014, with a drop of two per cent on 2013. The good news is that the magic million-mark was breached yet again, 2014’s sales totalled 1,113,224, compared with 1,136,227 in 2013.

Toyota was clear leader in 2014, with 203,501 sales for 18.3% of the market. Such is the domination of Toyota here that the combined sales Holden in second spot with 106,092, and Mazda in third, 100,704, barely managed to equal Toyota.

Fourth place, with sales of 100,011 had Hyundai nibbling at the heels of Mazda. Hyundai had never got into six-figure sales in Australia before and the South Korean maker is very ambitious. Indeed, Hyundai was the only one of the top five that sold more vehicles in 2014 than in 2013.

Stand by for a ding-dong battle between Holden, Mazda and Hyundai for second spot in the sales charts that will rage throughout Australia in 2015. When the big boys battle, buyers benefit – get in there for your share.

Mazda CX-5 topped the sales chart for the booming SUV market

Mazda CX-5 topped the sales chart for the booming SUV market.

Ford, once proudly in number one spot in Australia for many years, is now a long way back in fourth overall, with just 79,703 sales, a drop of close to 10,000 units on 2013.

Sales of large cars continue to decline, with Commodore selling 30,203 and Falcon struggling way back at 6349.

All passenger car segments declined by varying amounts, averaging 6.1%. It probably came as no surprise that large cars were down by 9.4%. Oddly, at the other end of the scale, the tiddlers called ‘Micro cars’ by industry statistician Vfacts, suffered a huge drop in popularity, down 30.8%. Many Light and Small cars have come down in price due to fierce sales battles all through 2014 and it looks as though those looking at the Micros are finding a few more dollars and shifting up a size or two.

Sales of SUVs continue rapidly upwards, by 5.6% in 2014. It’s no secret that the great majority of SUV and 4WD buyers don’t plan to take them off road, they simply want a high riding station wagon. As most wagons are becoming less macho and more sleek in their shape they appeal to a greater number of buyers and will continue to take sales away from large cars.

Interestingly, some practical people have decided they don’t want/need the image of an SUV – sales of people movers, which are a more sensible, and often more practical, alternative to SUVs, were up by 10.6% in 2014 compared with 2013.

The biggest selling car was Toyota’s Corolla for the second year running. Corolla’s 43,735 sales just squeezed past Mazda3’s 43,313.

Toyota Australia, indeed the entire local car industry must be ruing the fact that it no longer makes Corollas in this country.

Fiat Chrysler Australia (FCA) was again a big winner, with sales up 27% in 2014. The face behind FCA’s success in Australia over the last few years, the company’s president Veronica Johns, left the organisation late in the year for personal reasons, it will be interesting to see if the new chief, Pat Dougherty, can keep up the sales pace.

Mercedes-Benz jumped 15.8% in 2014. The all-new C-Class led the way, with the CLA, and GLA-Class SUV offering prestige at relatively affordable prices.

Amongst a swag of press releases that bombards we journalists following the announcement of the annual sales figures, one stood out: Holden’s tried to strike a positive note by getting excited that almost one car in ten sold in 2014 was a Holden – a far cry from the days when it sold one car in two back in the early 1950s.

How times change; of the 1,113,224 vehicles sold in Australia during 2014, a total of 686,722 were imported from Japan, Thailand and South Korea. A mere 100,468 were made in this country. A number that will soon be reduced to zero. Sad, isn’t it?

Did you know that we also bring in significant numbers of vehicle from Argentina, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland and Turkey, amongst quite a few other countries?

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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