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by George Skentzos

Soaring fuel prices have certainly forced buyers to reconsider their priorities when looking at a new car; however Toyota has labelled the small car dash a simplistic approach to the problem.

The company’s senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner has said that these generalisations ignore the strong growth in sales of sports-utility vehicles (SUV).

The sales of these SUV’s has increased by 13.2 percent for this year alone – making it the fastest growing segment at a rate of more than treble the overall market.

“Rising fuel prices have definitely accelerated demand for fuel-efficient four-cylinder cars,” Mr Buttner said. “However, families and other SUV buyers are focused on requirements such as space, comfort, performance and reliability – as well as fuel efficiency,”

Australian motorists purchased almost 110,000 SUV’s in the first half of this year – with 20 out of 23 manufacturers improving over the same period last year – second only to the small-car total of 123,000.

Toyota leads this sales list with its Prado, Kluger and RAV4 models which take the top three positions in a segment which offers over 50 models.

SUV SALES BY MODEL 2008 (TO 30 JUNE)

1. Toyota Prado 7,854 +4.8%

2. Toyota Kluger 7,513 +278.7%

3. Toyota RAV4 7,684 +6.7%

4. Ford Territory 7,266 -19.4%

5. Subaru Forester 6,910 +13.2%

6. Toyota LandCruiser 6,407 +48.0%

SUV SALES BY MARQUE 2008 (TO 30 JUNE)

MARQUE SALES +/- MARKET SHARE

1. Toyota 29,458 +40.2% 26.9%

2. Nissan 10,852 +0.2% 9.9%

3. Subaru 10,707 +6.2% 9.8%

4. Ford 8,417 -20.2% 7.7%

5. Mitsubishi 7,841 +0.7% 7.1%

SEGMENT 109,669 +13.2%




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