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Minor players experience sales winners and losers

Civic performer: Honda's small sedan had a good year.

It was a year of gain for many - and pain for some

10 Jan 2007

TOYOTA may well have been a clear winner in the sales stakes last year but some of the minor car industry players also performed well.

Among the top five individual performers in passenger cars were Chrysler, Audi, Lexus, Honda and Volkswagen. There were also some commendable surges by others such as Volvo, which went from 2917 in 2005 to 4000 sales in 2006, a 37 per cent lift, and newcomer Fiat, which rocketed from 605 sales in 2005 to 1101 last year, a lift of 82 per cent.

On the back of an ever-expanding line-up, Chrysler grew sales from 2479 in 2005 to finish with 3610 in 2006 an increase of 45.6 per cent, largely on the back of the performance of the 300C sedan, which managed 1864 sales.

Volkswagen managed to push Kia out of the top 10 spot, selling 21,571 vehicles, a 36 per cent lift over its 2005 figure of 15,782. Honda experienced a 15 per cent lift in sales to 54,202 with its Civic a stellar performer, selling 13,536 for the year.

Like Chrysler, Lexus benefited from an expanding line-up and the success of its hybrid additions in the GS sedan and RX all-wheel drive. Lexus had a 19.3 per cent lift in sales, from 6005 to 7162 in both passenger cars and 4WDs. Its success was just behind Audi, which experienced a 20 per cent sales lift from 4808 in 2005 to 5770 last year.

15 center imageLeft: Kia Sorento.

Another surprise for 2006 was the rocketing sales of those low-volume exotics from the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Maserati, largely on the back of Australia’s booming economy and a raft of new thoroughbred offerings.

Lamborghini’s share grew 35 per cent with sales volumes moving from 32 cars in 2005 to 36 last year. It was a similar story for Ferrari, with its share lifting 33 per cent, from 76 cars in 2005 to 101 cars last year. Aston Martin, too, had a strong year, with volumes moving from 58 cars in 2005 to 111 last year, a lift of 91 per cent. Maserati enjoyed a 33 per cent lift in sales, from 80 vehicles in 2005 to 107.

Conversely among the losers were Renault, SsangYong, Mitsubishi, Proton and Kia – all experiencing sales downturns.

The Korean couple of SsangYong and Kia experienced a 16.6 per cent and 17.9 per cent sales downturn respectively.

As well, despite an expanded line-up, BMW still only managed a 0.8 per cent lift in sales, from 15,910 to 16,034 last year. Its 2006 result was also somewhat blurred by the last-minute surge of X5 sales in December. Last year BMW sold around 200 X5s a month, but in December, thanks to some huge incentives for dealers, 669 were registered against 451 for the same period last year.

It was a similar situation at Nissan, which managed 53,392 sales versus 56,032 in 2005, a drop of 4.7 per cent despite a concerted Tiida campaign, pricing re-alignment and reportedly strong interest in the Navara 4x2 and 4x4.

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