Ford's Mustang and the Mercedes C-Class coupe are responsible for an almost 12 per cent jump in sports car registrations in the first seven months of the year. The Mustang accounts for almost half of the 12,000 cars sold in the sub-$80,000 category, while Benz has more than 40 per cent of the luxury segment.
People are clambering into these at a record rate - but not the expensive ones. The mainstream segment is up by 20 per cent with the Mitsubishi Outlander and Hyundai Tucson the major contributors. Mazda's CX-5 is still the class leader. Prestige SUVs are flat, though Jaguar defied the trend by selling almost 900 of its wagon-styled F-Pace.
The Civic sedan/hatch pair is driving 11 per cent growth for Honda in 2017 - and masking the fact the Japanese maker has lost ground with all of its other models. Last month's arrival of a new CR-V should help the annual tally. More than 7600 Civics have found homes this year, putting it in sixth place in the small car class.
They're a practical way to transport a tribe and the more recent examples drive better than many large SUVs. The segment has grown by almost 7 per cent in 2017, with the Kia Carnival the dominant player, followed by the Honda Odyssey and Volkswagen Multivan.
A 25 per cent slide to about 4000 sales this year shows Australians aren't enamoured with baby cars. The tally would be worse but for the recent arrival of the Kia Picanto, which sold 1800. Mitsubishi's ageing Mirage, from about $14,000 on the road, appeals to budget buyers.
Not having passenger cars helps explain why Nissan's numbers are down by 12 per cent. The company dropped its ageing and unloved sedan and hatch line-up to focus on SUVs and utes and that strategy is working. Still, the 34,000 sales lag the 39,000 this time last year.
As buyers gravitate to larger vehicles or turn to prestige items such as the Audi A2 and BMW's X1, the segment is down by almost 4 per cent to 57,000 vehicles. Mazda's CX-3 predictably sets the pace (10,686 sales) but the Mitsubishi ASX (10,583) mounts a huge challenge.
A slump in Mitsubishi Triton sales and the imminent demise of the Holden ute is behind an almost 8 per cent fall in two-wheel-drive pick-ups. The Triton has sold 2007 but that is about 700 off last year's pace. The Holden ute still sells about 300 a month but last year it was doing better than 400.
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