Industry sales figures released in the same week the new VF Commodore is unveiled reveal Holden’s large car slumped to just 1656 units.
The Ford Falcon continued its downward spiral, registering just 778 sales last month, while Toyota’s large car twins, the Camry and Aurion, were also surprise victims of local buyers’ continuing mass exodus to imported vehicles.
Toyota sold just 227 Aurions and only 557 Camrys in January, results that are likely to have been strongly influenced by a zero per cent finance offer for the cars than ran in late 2012 and ended on 31st December. More than 3500 Camrys were sold in December.
January is typically a difficult month for local car makers owing to fleet buyers – which account for the majority of sales of locally built cars – taking a respite at the start of the year.
The results are all comparable with January 2012, however. The Toyota Camry and Toyota Aurion were down 77 per cent and 57 per cent respectively, the Holden Commodore dropped 23.7 per cent, and the Ford Falcon fell 16.4 per cent year on year.
The Holden Cruze small car, assembled alongside the Commodore in Adelaide, didn’t escape the struggle, either, losing a third of its January 2012 sales with a 1638 result.
Total sales of Australian-built vehicles dropped 28 per cent, from 9592 to 6870 sales.
The Ford Territory was the only homegrown model to record growth, capitalising on another bonanza month for SUVs by increasing 44 per cent, from 804 to 1161 units.
Ford Australia will also have been buoyed by excellent results for its small cars imported from Thailand. The Ford Focus jumped 50 per cent to 2364 and the Fiesta light car rose by an equally impressive 44 per cent to 1275 units.
Those models contributed to a strong month overall for Ford, which increased sales by 32 per cent. Holden and Toyota sales retracted slightly compared with this time last year, down by 2.8 and 4.9 per cent respectively.
Niether the Holden Commodore nor Ford Falcon are expected to continue production beyond 2016. Holden and parent company General Motors are assessing the options for replacing the new VF Commodore in the second half of the decade and joining the Cruze, while Ford won’t confirm any local assembly plans beyond 2016.