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by Daniel DeGasperi

The head of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tony Weber, has criticised the general media for its reporting on the local industry, claiming that local manufacturing is competitive by today’s standards.

Speaking at the announcement that overall new-car sales reached a record 1.112 million units in this country in 2012, Weber remarked that the figures prove Australians want to buy locally manufactured vehicles.

“The local manufacturers copped a lot of flak during 2012, with suggestions they’d lost touch with the needs and wants of Australian car buyers.

“The local manufacturers not only have three cars in the top 10, but these particular brands are also in the top five car brands overall.

“These results show the emptiness of those criticisms.”

The Holden Commodore, however, fell to fourth place overall in 2012, following its drop to second in 2011 after the previous 15 years as Australia’s favourite car. The Ford Falcon fell to 21st spot last year after more than a decade in the top 10.

Weber (above) claims that an increasingly fragmented market and extremely high levels of competition meant that the production decrease and sales decline of locally manufactured cars isn’t a fair reflection of its overall performance.

“The fact that the percentage of domestic production has come down in terms of overall sales is reflected in the competition in the market and the segmentation of the market.

“You now have 67 brands in this market. That’s a natural occurrence when you have so much demarcation in the market.

“But the reality is that the three domestic producers are in the top five brand sales. And they have, this year, three cars in the top 10, and last year had four cars in the top 10…

“A decade ago the most popular car sold more than 88,000 vehicles, which was just over 10 per cent of demand for the year.

“In the year just past, the top selling car achieved 44,128, less than four per cent of the market total.

“The top 10 cars in 2012 combined sold 27 per cent, which demonstrates the fragmentation of the contemporary Australian market.”

Ford suffered the biggest drop in locally built car sales in 2012, its total of 34,415 combined units of Falcon, Ute and Territory down 12.7 per cent on 2011. Sales of  Holden Commodore, Ute, Caprice and Cruze were down 7.2 per cent combined, while Toyota actually posted a 29.3 per cent sales increase, on the back of launching an all-new Camry and Aurion, supported by a ‘local pride’ marketing campaign.

  • DanielD

    I think you can say the media are over doing the whole news story about local production, but the quote from Mr Weber about ” emptiness of those criticisms”  either shows someone trying to talk up the local industry no matter what or the words of a very stupid man who is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

    For Ford at least, there will be no significant turn around until they stand by their local vehicles and do proper recalls as required and stop always trying to save a dollar on production, that inevitably affects the durability of the car and the ownership experience. 

    They also know their dealer network is appalling, so expecting customers to find out about issues if they happen to service them at one, is completely unacceptable. Raise the bar in production and in the dealer network and I suspect ALL their cars will do better and they might climb back up the charts a bit. Otherwise frankly their overalls sales performance is what they earned.

    • Drive

      Well of course he would say that, it is his job to talk up the Australian car industry.
      3 in the top 10 says 30%. That is to say 70% of the top ten cars sold in Australia are made overseas. That says Aussies do not like the locally made offerings to everyone except those that would spin the facts.
      The Germans, by way of contrast, buy 80% locally made cars. Small wonder people are saying the industry is no longer viable here. Until they build cars that appeal to people at truely competitive prices, people will look beyond the locally made solutions. The only exception to the trend is Toyota’s Camry. Hardly an enthusiasts car yet people seem to love them. It’s high time Ford and Holden benchmarked the Camry and made a true competitor. As much as I hate to say it, Falcon and Commodore RIP. Time to get with the future.

      • Robert Ryan

         I have said this before it is very difficult to build anything here. This awful High Dollar is doing a lot of damage to the economy and export exposed industries.

      • Dave S

        If Holden and Ford benchmarked on the Camry, they would have a much worse car. The new Camry is better than the old, but that does not make it better than the Commodore and Falcon.

      • Michael

        The Camry is not a benchmark car. The Camry, along with the Corolla is the very definition of  average. People only buy them because Toyota has a huge advertising budget and is very good at selling cars. 

        Ford and Holden should benchmark the Mercedes-Benz C-Class for the next Falcon and Commodore and produce something unique, that could be exported around the world: a medium sized sports sedan with rear wheel drive and engines ranging from 4 cylinders to V8s with a starting price no more than that of a Camry

      • Andrew M

        Sure 80% of germans might buy local vehicles, but if australia were to mirror their industry then import tariffs would have to substantially increase along with much more government contributions.

        The Aussie industry is becoming less viable because the amount of protection compared to some of the power houses is laughable.

  • Aussie and Proud

    Holden down 7% with an almost 7 year old main stay……….. Bring on the VF …….well done to Toyota for the Camry and Aurion…… Ford take a note…… Market the ecoboost Falcon properly.
    Hopefully 2013 will see an improvement from both Holden and Ford. Toyota will do what Toyota do, get stronger and stronger

    • Drive

       It makes me wonder why they don’t build the ecoboost Mondeo here and scrap the Falcon. Likewise Holden ditch the Commodore and get the production lines churning out a quality, well featured mid-size sedan.

      • DanielD

        The Mondeo isn’t exactly a best seller either.

        • Drive

          That’s true and I’m not sure why that’s the case. It’s got the goods and is a great drive. Perhaps it’s priced to high or has a lack of quality marketing?

          • Asdf

             9.5L100km economy is by far the worst in class. To top that off, it only has 118KW which is also right at the bottom in class.
            Diesel and Ecoboost engines look ok, but cost too much extra.

      • Andrew M

        Mondeo doesnt even sell half of what the Falcon does

  • Luke Brinsmead

    Take a trip to South Korea for an insight into industrial might. Earthmoving equipment, trucks, busses, trains, cars and motorbikes – almost all designed, engineered and made in their country.

    Reminds me of America’s, Germany’s and Japan’s industrial success stories. Australia is just not a fully industrialised country compared to those countries. Our priority has always been to sell resources to bring in money from overseas.

    • Drive

      Yet Labor prides itself in spending Billions to support the struggling auto-manufacturing industry here.

    • Jacob

      Australia does make trains, buses, trucks, fridges. Yet the media here only ever talk about car factories.

      Our strength lies in making unglamorous trucks and buses rather than cars.

  • Tim

    That ‘local pride’ marketing campaign should have been made by Holden or Ford. It was a great idea, and good that helped the Australian car industry and Toyota, but god, I do not think of the Toyota Camry as an ‘Australian car’

    • Golfmother

      The camry is not an australian car , neither is the falcoon or crummdore , all foreign owned assemblers .

      • Drive

         You love to fish don’t you?

        • Golfmother

          Na i hate fishing , just go to a good chinese restaurant for a top feed .

          • Fairlane

            Sounds like you would go to a chinese restaurant and order a Bockwurst and when they say this is a chinese restaurant we don’t do Bockwurst,you would winge and complain,not understanding that it a chinese restaurant.


          • Golfmother

            FAILANE  what you been smoking , lost the plot again .

          • Garrywhopper

            Ask for thumping sausage at a restaurant he would

          • Fairlane

            Well this is Australia and guess what,some Australians like large Australian made cars and have a loyalty to them.

            But you don’t seem to understand that and just winge and complaine about this fact.

            Its people like you that are screwing this country,trendy types that think if its imported its lifts there social status somehow.

          • Golfmother

            Thats the bogan myth created by the OZ bomb makers that only their cars can handle OZ roads , loyal to the myth .

          • DanielD

            There was a time when Australian made cars were by far the most durable for Australian conditions. 

            Now all cars have improved tremendously and most people only drive on bitumen or think they need a 4WD for tracks that family sedans and utes travelled on for decades without the slightest thought they needed a 4WD. Of course the average driver is also far less able to control a car these days too.

      • Andrew M

        Incorrect Golfmother, the Falcon and Commodore are Australian cars. They are designed, engineered and produced here which makes them australian.
        It may be fair to say the companies that have a stake in the vehicles are foreign based, but that doesnt mean the product is.

        Its like 2 americans here living in australia with a committment to life here having a baby. that child/baby is australian. sure there might be dual passport options, but that child is australian.

        Please try not to let the truth get in the way of your spitefull hatred rants though

  • Mark

    No one was criticising the car-industry – only the billions of dollars in subsidies they get. Not to mention the grey import rules that keep prices artificially high. 

    • O123

      the grey import rule is rubbish needs to be changed

    • Michael

      Australia has the world’s most unprotected car industry. Other countries go to great lengths to keep their car industries going. 

    • Do not knock the locals

       Where do you get BILLIONS in subsidies. What a crock of garbage. You will find that ALL industry in Australia gets subsidies of one sort or another, so stop this knocking of local industry. If you think the playing field is level overseas, you had better look again. It is not, so look around and at least think about LOCAL jobs, including yours. Once we lose them, they do not come back. Where will we stand once all our iron ore is dug up and exported? We have no value added industry here now, and people like you would take everything away if it was to receive even a hint of government support. What “grey import rules” artificially inflate prices. If you are talking about the LCT, a lot of that is to with the importers as well, not just the “grey import rules”.

  • Sumpguard

    I agree with the report from a certain angle. Any bad press is damaging and can only convince the remainder who are still loyal to buy imports rather than take the risk on a local product. The ABC totally destroyed Mitsubishi in Australia through a constant campaign about their woes .The 380 was a very good car but the damage had been done. If we lose holden or ford then the other won’t be far behind imo.

    • Sdfg

       Oh stop blaming the media for Mitsubishi’s local failure. If Mitsubishi hadn’t been having woes, there wouldn’t have been any media reports to start with. Mitsubishi dug themselves a hole long before the media hitched onto it.
      It’s not the ABC’s fault that the TE/TF 4 cylinder version was quite inefficient and instead of updating it, they just dropped it at a time when people were beginning to shift into 4 cylinders. It’s also not the ABC’s fault that the 2003 facelift was horribly ugly at the front end. Meanwhile, in their infinite wisdom, they decided that what the market wants is a 4wd SEDAN! WTF? Since when do people want 4WD SEDANS? They want tall 4WD WAGONS!
      With the 380, Mitsubishi demonstrated clear stupidity by again releasing it as a V6 only – when nearly every Camry buyer was opting for a 4 cylinder. They ditched the wagon which would’ve accounted for around 1/3 of sales (and people who want wagon will not settle for a sedan) and they carried on their mistake with the 2003 facelift by bringing in ultra bland styling along with mediocre fuel economy.

      • Drive

        Mitsubishi have been languishing in technological wastelands

    • Don Quay

      Oh Kermit, stick to pork(ing). 

      You are totally deluded if you think that the mighty ABC destroyed Mitsubishi. Sdfg is correct in what he states. The last Magna facelift was monumentally ugly and started the slide in sales. The 380 was the wrong car at the wrong time. Too big, too thirsty and an incompletely engineered vehicle. I drove several when they were available as hire cars and while the dynamics were quite good, there were numerous deficiencies on the safety, economy, equipment and engineering aspects. Not to mention the bland and boring styling. You might be gullible enough to be fooled by media reports, but no everyone else is.

      Read what the other posters say, then if you concentrate hard enough you may perhaps start to understand the problems with Mitsubishi in general and the 380 in particular.

      Say hello to Miss Piggy for me. Gronk, Gronk!!

      BTW, Happy New Year and I hope you get better soon.

  • Morpheus

    There is a principle here. If an Australian mining company couldn’t make ends meet financially, would the government poor millions into it to keep it going?
    If the local corner shop was financially unsustainable, would the government contribute to keep it going?
    Are we a free market economy or a communist nation?
    Do we really want to tax payers to prop up an industry which has proven it cannot operate in a financially viable manner?
    Sounds like the car industry is collecting social security.

    • Robert Ryan

       Demise of the car industry and other high end manufacturing will mean we will all be looking for social security. The Koreans and Chinese economies are not booming because they are good at agriculture or mining.

    • Jacob

      Agree with you mate. We either have open markets or we dont.

      Do people want to put the Berlin Wall back up? Do we want to bring the Soviet Union back?

      Because if protectionism is so good, why did the USSR fail?

  • F1orce

    I have an easy solution.

    Just buy a Toyota, Ford or Holden

    Problem solved

    • Sdfg

      But most of their models are not locally manufactured.

      • Sam

        Then buy the ones that are, simple.

  • Michael

    The ABC didn’t kill off Mitsubishi Australia alone, their Japanese parent company had a lot to do with it, but their endless bad publicity when things started to go wrong did have an impact. 

    Too many Australians refuse to by an Australian car simply because they’re made in Australia. This doesn’t happen anywhere else. The vast majority of Japanese car buyers will only buy Japanese, Americans are largely the same, they might not all buy GM, Ford and and Chrysler products, but US built Camrys and Accords regularly to the sales charts there. It’s the same in Germany and Italy. France and Malaysia build some of the world’s worst cars, yet French and Malaysian cars dominate their home markets. 

    • Captain Nemo®™

      Well said Michael
      Far too many aussies think it’s trendy to use or own something imported. i see lots of yuppies at inner city suburban cafes drinking Fiji or Evian bottled water.  it seems good old Mt Franklin isn’t trendy enough.

      • Al Tungupon

         Well, Evian and Fiji are the best tasting bottled waters, and the tap is even better than Mt. Franklin.

        • Fairlane

          Well pure water is tasteless,colorless and odorless,if it has a taste its some impurity you can taste.

    • Asdf

      No, people refuse to buy Australian made cars because they don’t suit their needs. I don’t  want a sedan and the general market is moving away from sedans, particularly large 6 cylinder ones.
      Those other countries you mentioned make cars that their people actually want all though in the case of Malaysian, hefty import taxes force locals into local cars.

      • Michael

        A VW Golf is vastly superior to a Peugeot 308, and yet the 308 outsells the Golf in France. In Australia, people continue to buy the Toyota Kluger, despite questionable active safety (Wheels, February 08), instead of the Australian Ford Territory, which is still the dynamic benchmark for medium SUVs, excluding the substantially more expensive Germans. 

        • Asdf

           Price plays a big part in what people buy and I think you’ll find the French can get a Peugeot cheaper than a comparable VW.
          Also people buying tall 4WD 7 seaters aren’t all that keen on dynamics. I know a few people with Territorys and it’s problems are many. Ball joints (and/ or similar components can’t remember exactly) need constant replacement, some body parts RUSTING (!), horrific fuel consumption and some problems with fuel pumps,  cooling system and brakes (master cylinder?) are very frequent complaints. They also tell me that the Ford service centres are terrible.

          • Michael

            You’ll find that a Golf and a 308 cost about the same, when you consider that the Golf is accepted as the best small car ever produced, the 308’s popularity in France is due entirely to patriotism.

            Ball joint failure is a problem only on some SX Territorys, the SY and SZ are unaffected. The Kluger’s dynamic faults extend beyond beyond ordinary handling: it’s poor ESC calibration makes it dangerous on dirt.

          • Asdf

             What do you mean they cost the same when you consider the Golf is better? One has a lower price tag than the other and the one with the cheaper price tag by far, is the Peugeot.
            I can’t be bothered trying to trawl through french sites but in the UK the Golf starts from GBP 16,425. The 308? It starts at GBP 12,995. A whopping difference. The Peugeot probably has a even bigger price advantage in it’s home country.

            Dirt road driving is not a consideration for the majority of car buyers, let alone Kruder buyers.

      • Sam

        Absolute rubbish. Australian made cars suit most Australian’s ‘needs’ as you’ve said. Then you say ‘I don’t WANT a sedan’ which seems to be the attitude to our Aussie built cars. What do you truly need? If you need a people mover with lots of seats or a dual cab ute for work then fine. But otherwise, I’ll think you’ll find that your needs and those of most Australians are satisfied by Australian made cars. It’s all about want, which is sad because every other car producing country in the world buys its own cars.

        • Dfgdf

          People wanting a basic car for commuting can easily get something half the price of a Falcoone/Crummer with far better fuel economy and superior resale value. Do you need a 4.0 engine to commute to work? Do you need seating space for five adults when you drive alone or with just one other person? Why would you spend more on a large car and have big fuel bills fowhen you can get a smaller car that will achieve the same result for half the price?
          People wanting a big family car expect more practicality than what you get in a sedan bodyshape. Sports gear, prams, eskys, bikes etc will not fit inside a sedan boot. Why should people put up with that if they can get a car for a similar price that does take the family AND all their stuff?

          • Michael

            Such as the also Australian made Holden Cruze prehaps? Half the price of a Falcon or Commodore and with better fuel economy.
            The Commodore sportwagon offers more practicality than a sedan and will meet the needs of any family that currently owns an SUV, unless they need seven seat, or they intend on using it off road. In either case there’s also the Ford Territory

          • Asdf

             Ford territory does not work off road and has a history of poor build quality and reliability issues along with terrible fuel economy.
            Boot in the Sportwagon isn’t actually that big though is a far better option than the sedan. Resale is still appalling though again better then sedan.
            As for Crude, people have been buying it in reasonable numbers but it’s actually more expensive than competitors like Crapolla, Lamecer, Mazda3 and i30, so it’s not surprising to see it being beaten given that it does not offer anything in return for the higher price – in actual fact it’s probably the lowest quality and worst to drive of all those abovementioned (except perhaps lamecer).

          • Dave S

            Big sedans with big boots, still just as handy and it was years ago. I dont want everybody who walks past to know what valuables are in my car (as you can with hatches and wagons).

            I have had no trouble packing, prams, cots, kids bikes, fishing rods and all sorts of things in the boot of the car. i dont want to be driving around with all my freight in the back with me. I want to feel like a driver, not a stowe away on a freight truck.

          • Aasdf

             Big sedans, but not big boots. Big sedans don’t seem to enjoy boots much bigger than smaller sedans.
            The Honda city is one of the smallest sedans avaliable and has a 506L boot which is bigger than Crummers. Falcoones 535L boot is well down on the 560L boot you get in a much smaller Skoda Octavia.. Of course go for the LPG Falcoone and then there are all sorts of issues with boot capacity.
            Who carries large valuables in their boot? Anyway I’ve never seen a hatch or wagon that didn’t come with a standard cargo blind. Hatches/liftbacks, even really old ones, have one that pulls away automatically when you open the boot.

          • Golfschwein

            For Christmas lunch, we needed more table space, so zipped in to work to pick up two student classroom desks and….guess what? They wouldn’t fit into the Falcon’s boot together. Could only do one at a time, for two trips. In the Golf, or any other similarly configured car, it wouldn’t have been a problem. 

          • Andrew M

            Golfie, your Falcon isnt a hatch back.
            As with all sedan variants they are limited by their opening.

            You wouldnt have gotten them in the bigger Jetta sedan either

            You also wont put 2 baby seats and an adult in the back of a Golf but I think its a bit silly to point out all cars have their own practicalities.

            Should have given me a call, I could fit 2 pallets of school desks in the back of my Falcon.
            What was for lunch??

          • guest

             You don’t put a bike in the boot! You take the front wheel off and put it on the roof rack!

            And if you want something basic for commuting, get a bicycle instead! It’ll cost you much less and if everyone did this, the remaining road-traffic wouldn’t be anywhere near as heavily jammed up. Do you even need a 2.0L engine to commute to work? Use pedal power instead and get fit at the same time. Not everyone can do it, but a lot of people can!

            And I beg to differ on Sedan boots, mine swallows multiple large boxes of camera gear, tripods and other assorted camera stuff with ease, and there is still room left over.

  • Al Tungupon

    Ford is just not thinking outside the box with the Falcon. It was originally planned to be exported to America in LHD, ideally as a replacement for the Crown Victoria. It was also speculated to form basis of a new RWD Lincoln to make it competitive to Cadillac. But alas, this wasn’t to be. The decent but unloved big sedan is simply not making a business case. The market wasn’t limited to America either. Ford UK had the Granada/Scorpio before, and the Falcon perfectly fits the bill to replace those cars. They keep making generous driveaway deals for the locals to buy, yet it’s still selling less than half as much as the inferior Commodore. They should have tried to sell it outside Australia.

    • Asdf

       The reason Ford hasn’t replaced the Crown Vic is because most people don’t want that type of car in North America anymore. Besides that, the Falcoone isn’t really near the size of the Crown Vic. Additionally, they already have the Taurus to replace it and the Taurus is closer to the size of the Crown Vic than the Falcoone is.

      You must know absolutely nothing about the UK if you think they’d still buy a Falcoone type car. They rarely buy automatics or sedans or big cars or 6 cylinder cars or thirsty cars. Combine all those traits together and you’d have one big non event in terms of UK Falcoone sales.

      • Michael

        The Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 would suggest otherwise

        • Asdf

          No they don’t.

          Nov 2012 sales figures for USA have the Dodge Charger ranked 55th and Chrysler 300C 72nd.

          • Michael

            There’s still a market for them though

          • Hbjk

            Chysler/Dodge has been struggling financially for years. I doubt their big models buck that trend given their low sales and high proportion of discounted fleet sales. It’s no surprise that other brands haven’t bothered to offer many/if any competitors in this segment.

      • Al Tungupon

        But the police still need big sedans, and unlike the Crown Vic, the Falcon handles very well, so it can keep up with criminals not only on the straights, but also in the corners. They are consigned to a FWD Chevrolet Impala.

        • Dsfg

           Why do they need big sedans?

          • Michael

            They’re in the car all day, they want something big and comfortable. They also need a big engine, which usually means a big car, it needs to handle well, which rules out an SUV, and they can shove more criminals in the back of a big sedan than a small one.

          • Asdf

             Pffffff, your living in the 1950s. You can have comfort in a car that is less than 5 metres long. I bet you drive a car that is smaller than 5 metres let alone 5.35 metres – do you find it uncomfortable? The rest of the world including Australian seems to manage without limosine sized police cars.
            They need a big engine? Why? A powerful engine perhaps, but why a big one? Of course being a traditional USA car, the Crownvic has a big engine yes, but not a powerful one. The most powerful edition of the CrownVic, the “interceptor” puts out only 186KW/403NM through a 4 speed auto and it weighs 1730kgs with the resultant performance that you’d get in a 155KW 4 cylinder Accord Euro.
            Handling? Live axle suspension from the 1970s? 1730kgs weight with a hearse like wheelbase and it handles? Sure. In fact the Crown Vic uses a separate chassis! Even SUVs aren’t that agricultural.

  • Michael

    Asdf, You read my comment wrong. The Golf starts at about 17,000 euro in France, the 308 at 18,000 euro. The Golf is cheaper. The Golf is also much better, therefore, the only reason for a French person to buy a 308 over a Golf is patriotism.
    Many Kluger drivers would probably have interest in how well their car works on dirt, given they have an SUV and not a people mover or station wagon, if not then they’ve bought the wrong car, regardless of what country it’s made in

    • Asdf

       It IS NOT cheaper. I just looked it up on their respective french websites. Golf 5 door is 18,780 for a 63KW 1.2 litre. The cheapest 308 is $18650 for a 72KW 1.4 litre. Not much difference but the 308 IS CHEAPER and you get bigger, more powerful engine.
      Moving onto the diesels and the gap is much bigger with the cheapest diesel 308 costing 22,100 whilst the gold leaps up to 23,590.

      Yea right, Kruder buyers are keen on dirt, which schools are the soccer mums driving too that have dirt roads? Of course they come standard with road tyres not dirt tyres, you can’t even fit dirt/mud tyres onto the big alloy rims that are fitted as standard to Kruder.

      • Michael

        It’s not all about power, and the Golf is far more refined, has a better quality interior, looks better and handles better. The Peugeot was not long ago almost named the worst car in the history of the world, all things considered.  

        The Kluger is a high riding, (usually) AWD wagon, someone out there is driving it in dirt or snow, and anyone who has one and isn’t should seriously reconsider whether they really need an SUV, and then buy a Commodore Sportwagon

        • Hbjk

          No, it was all about the price and you are wrong about the price.

          Your wrong about the Kruder too, People are buying it as a big SUBURBAN family car. No one is buying it for dirt. People keen to go bush will get a Prado or Landcruiser (and even then most of buyers of Prado/Landcruiser never taken them off the tarmac).

          • Michael

            Then people shouldn’t be buying Klugers then

            The Golf is still a much better value than a 308, and there’s also the Focus, Astra, 3, i30 and others available in Europe than a Peugeot 308, or a Renault Megane or Citroen C4.

  • James

    I love hearing about the slow demise of the Falcadore. It makes me so happy.

    • DanielD

      There is a movie out about the Titanic sinking. I’d suggest you rent it. 

      That will cheer you up for the weekend.

  • Garbage here as knowledge?

    It seems you people are full of it. I have never read so much rubbish as what gets published on these pages!

  • Greenbottleau

    Holden and Ford lost their way many years ago. I started driving in the mid 50’s and the last Falcon I owned was a 1966 XP which was before they went bloated bodies sitting on a narrow track. The last Holden was 1986 VL which was the best car I have ever owned before they became too big. Holden’s biggest mistake was axing the Torana because it was a sensible size car and could have still been sold today. For a vehicle to be viable today it must be able to sell on the global market.
    With the alloy V6 and the modern independent rear suspension used today on the bigger Commodore, the Torana could have been developed to sell world wide as a simpler, cheaper BMW 3 series.
    The market for large cars is diminishing world wide, particulary in Australia which is one of the most urbanised nation in the world. The house wife doing her shopping just does not want to try to cope with the tight parking spaces and narrow drives at her typical shopping centre with a big car.
    Also why buy a Mazda 6 when a Mazda 3 will do the same job better as well as being more economical, especially when most of the time there is only the driver in the car.
    The days of big cars like the Falcon and Commodore are over no matter how economical they become. Ford has found that with their 4 cylinder Falcon, let they still persist on living in the past.
    Ford’s in particular have always built in their cars to look dated shortly after they come out of the showroom. Compare a Ford Focus with it’s funny head and tail lights and styling with a Volkswagen Golf which is almost ageless by comparison. Which one is going to look better in 5 years time?

  • Alex

    I don’t know about you lot, but I have had several Falcons/Fairmonts (my current being an AUII Fairmont V8) and I love them. Sure they are not as economical as a Smart Car, nor are they as utterly reliable as a Corolla. They aren’t as trendy as a European car either, but I’ll tell you this much – they have character in spades, plenty of space for what they were designed for, they are as comfortable as all get out and they handle, the engines don’t have to rev in order to work and I can actually hands down both sides of the engine in order to work on them. I’m not an Aussie, but these cars are inspired.