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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.




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