Australia’s large car class continued its downward spiral in 2013 as the segment’s traditional heavyweights slumped to record lows.

Large car sales slipped 14.7 per cent as a whole in 2013, and a larger 17.2 per cent in the ‘Large <$70K’ sector occupied by Australia’s locally made family cars.

For the first time in its 35-year history, the Holden Commodore failed to reach 30,000 sales, managing just 27,766.

The result was heavily impacted by the run-out of the previous-generation VE Commodore, which saw the nameplate limp to just 10,301 sales to the end of June.

The mid-year launch VF Commodore helped turn the tide, however, with sales from July to December up 19.0 per cent compared with the same six-month period in 2012.

Though Commodore sales fell 2766 units in 2013, its market share of the ‘Large <$70K’ class increased to 59.0 per cent as others around it performed even worse.

ford-falcon

The Ford Falcon endured its worst annual sales result in its 53-year existence, narrowly avoiding the embarrassment of a four-figure result, reaching 10,610 units by the end of December.

Falcon sedan sales dropped 24.4 per cent last year, while its share of the large segment slipped from 24.7 per cent to 22.5.

The Blue Oval’s famous nameplate is now a shadow of its former self; just a decade ago, Falcon sales reached 73,220 following the launch of the BA generation.

Ford Australia won’t launch an updated Falcon until the end of this year, meaning sales of the six-year-old sedan are likely to continue to tumble throughout 2014.

Ford plans to continue producing the Falcon until its shuts its local manufacturing operations in October 2016, while the Commodore will fight on in its current form until it’s replaced by an imported (likely front-wheel-drive) successor at the end of 2017.

mercedes-benz-e-class

The only other major player in the large segment, the Toyota Aurion, suffered a year similar to the Falcon’s, falling 24.6 per cent to 6839 sales. Its share of the market was 14.5 per cent last year, down from 16.0 per cent the year before.

Despite being replaced by the mid-sized Altima in the final quarter of the year and discontinued from the line-up, the Nissan Maxima still claimed fourth position in the segment with 748 sales, holding off the Peugeot 508 (667, down 38.5 per cent) and the Skoda Superb (436, down 33.2 per cent).

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class surged 40.0 per cent to 1451 units to claim victory in the ‘Large >$70K’ sector of the large car segment. The result, which came on the back of the mid-2013 introduction of the facelifted model, saw the E-Class overtake the BMW 5 Series (1295, up 7.3 per cent), and remain dominant over the Jaguar XF (874, up 39.4 per cent), Lexus GS (494, down 20.8 per cent) and Audi A6 (493, down 24.0 per cent).




  • mattyranger

    Wow that’s crazy low sales for all of those makes, looks like Australia just doesn’t want to buy these things anymore :( but I can’t talk tho cause I own a imported new ranger, I use to own a few falcon in my time but I would not own another 1.

    • JoeR_AUS

      just remember that the public likes the variety, the top 5 sellers only represent 15% of the market place. This is why local production cannot be sustained.

      • Rick

        Manufacturers love Australia , we are one of the most profitable countries in the world to sell imported cars

        • Wild Man

          Opel left because they could not make any money. So much for being one of the most profitable countries in the world. They are not alone. SEAT also left the country some years ago & have not returned.

          • Darryl

            Not a lot of room for Seat between Skoda and VW, which is a pity as they look better than either.

          • Wild Man

            SEAT was in Australia from 1995 to 1999. They pulled out citing that current and expected circumstances made the ongoing importation of a niche brand non-viable. That would be code for “cannot make any money”.

            Fast forward to 2014 & you would think that if Australia is so profitable that VW would be falling over themselves to re-enter Australia with their SEAT brand. But that does not appear to be the case.

          • Rick

            Opel left because their were trying to sell an average car at a premium price .
            Australia per car IS one of the most profitable countries in the world eg ford mustang built in the US where the dollar is more than here , imported to AU and the price jumps $20k ?
            Nissan 370 $60k here . home market and US $30k and the list goes on .
            Wake up and smell the roses wild man

          • Wild Man

            Rick doesn’t realise it, but he has just said what is fundamental to car prices in Australia. You cannot charge what you want for a car. To explain, look at the base model automatic Opel Astra, which was on sale for $25 990. Meanwhile, the base model Golf was $23 990, a Ford Focus $22 590, & a Hyundai i30 was $22 990. So on face value, the Astra was priced at a slight premium to its nearest competitors. It did not sell well.

            In a monopoly market (i.e. there is only one supplier), then the monopoly provider can charge much higher prices, knowing that customers have limited choice to go elsewhere. The
            next situation is a duopoly (two suppliers). This is common in Australia (think Coles & Woolworths). Smart companies in a duopoly will know not to get into a price war with each other (after all, their managers have done MBA’s & know all about Game Theory). However, it does get a bit more difficult, as sometimes one of the companies will break rank, try to increase market share, & drop their prices. As the number of sellers increases, it becomes more difficult. There is more chance that one of the suppliers will go for market share & drop prices. This is what eventually happened with OPEC (the oil cartel of the 70’s). South American suppliers broke rank, lowered prices, & eventually caused other OPEC countries to drop their prices (by increasing their supply, as it happened at the time).

            Car suppliers are not immune to this basic economic supply & demand. There are a lot of suppliers in Australia, all looking to sell cars & make some money. So BMW may be keen to raise prices, but they know that Audi is breathing down their neck, ready to take sales from BMW if they price too high. They also know that Lexus are also in the mix & many potential BMW buyers will be tempted if BMW raise prices too high. This happens all the way through the market (to differing degrees). Makes it hard to get monopoly pricing in that market. They are also not a charity & will have to sell their cars at a profit. So there is a limit to how low they can go with their prices. We do need the car suppliers to make a reasonable profit (otherwise they will shut up shop).

            This brings us back to Opel. Of course, there is more to Opel leaving Australia than them getting their prices out by $2-3K. They would not have pulled out if there was a decent profit to be made. There are also plenty of average cars on the market as well. Opel could have shaved $3K off their prices and get it to the same price as a Ford Focus? Perhaps they could have dropped it more to undercut the Ford Focus and get the price closer to the Kia’s & Hyundai’s of the world. They would still be laughing all the way to the bank, with their huge profit margins? However, they pulled up stumps & left, citing inability to make money. Rather curious, don’t you think? Not really, the numbers would not have added up & there was insufficient profit to be made.

            Speaking of curious, you picked two low volume sports cars for your examples. The Ford Mustang is not due until late 2015, so talk of prices is pure speculation until it actually goes on sale (if it does). It could be like Cadillac, which also was supposed to go on sale a few years ago, but mysteriously did not. Wonder why?? More numbers not adding up??

            The Nissan 370 is brought into the country in low volumes & is a premium product (there’s that word again). Of course it is going to be expensive. How much do you think it should sell for? Mid 30′s? Holden sell Commodore’s locally for that price & apparently lose money on each one sold.

            You should look at more mainstream models, like a Honda Accord Euro ($47 000 in NZ & a bit over $32 000 in Australia). So much for parallel imports (which they have in NZ). Check out prices on NZ Redbook web site.

            How about a VW Golf? Last time I looked (in late December last year), a VW Golf 1.4 5dr hatch DSG had a UK list price of £20615. In Australia, it is $23990. With an exchange rate of 1.83 AUD for the British Pound, that makes the Australia
            price a bit of a bargain. Perhaps it is you who should be smelling the roses?

            I could write more about the OECD Purchasing Power Parity results (Google it) or average wages in different countries. I will save that for another day (unless you really want to know about it).

  • BP

    It irks me when news headlines say “Worst Commodore sales to date” when VF only launched in June. If it was on sale for a full year, it would have at least beat it’s 2012 sales which shows some spark in the ever shrinking large car segment.

    • Guest

      Yeah, same old Holden/Ford bash – you have to read the article to see that VF is actually UP 19% compared to last 6 mths of 2012 and that Aurion is DOWN nearly 25% – neither of these facts are worthy of a headline it seems. Now that the Oz built Commodore has been killed off you would think CA and others might at least have something positive to say.

    • Chad

      Looks like Commodore sale are on a nose dive already only 6 months after there release with Cruze sales nose diving as well will Holden make it to 2017.

      • 2B Frank

        I think there latest advertising campaign [ were here to stay ] and there closure in 2017 announcement might have cost them in sales.

  • Rocket

    Medium cars excluding the Camry are doing even worse. The Falcon outsells the Mazda 6 ( similar size and price range) but we only get negative ” old ” news about the Falcon. The Malibu and the Altima have hardly set the world on fire with their abysmal sales figures and Toyota may as well raise the white flag on the Aurion as it nosedives.

    • Phil

      Yeah, a look at the SUV sales shows where the medium and large car market has gone. 262,973 sales from the top ten makes alone. Australians would rather drive trucks than cars it seems. Or perhaps it’s just a reflection of the level of morbid obesity in society?

      • Rocket

        Brings a new meaning to 3.5 tonne towing capacity. Utes are handy things to have but as an everyday drive they are agricultural and awkward to drive in the city.

        • Phil

          with the exception of the local car-based utes, of course.

          • Rocket

            Yeh there OK to drive but the HiLux type ute is definitely not built for driving enjoyment but good for carrying half a cubic load of gravel.

      • Guest

        Look at our road. Surely and sadly it’s more suitable for a SUV or a truck to drive on it.

    • BP

      Holden Malibu is doing an alright job and unlike Epica, it has been able to maintain sales of around 200 sales since launch. Sure it only occupies a very small percentage of the medium sized segment but it’s doing a much better job than Epica ever did and that’s saying something.

      • ixlplix

        Actually it’s nit saying much at all.

  • Rocket

    A FWD replacement for the Commodore will be about as popular as the Malibu is right now….. 0% Interest

    • Zaccy16

      yep, and as rubbish to drive and look at as the malibu!

  • Shak

    All these negative reports and articles love to chime on about how unpopular the Commodore is, but the reality is that the Commodore is still more popular than every mid-sized car and many of the SUV’s and small cars that Australians supposedly love.

    • Spike

      RIP Commodore
      Get used to it

    • Rocket

      Some people won’t be happy until we are all driving imports! Mazda 6 sells 7000 cars in a year and it is lauded as the new best thing since sliced bread.

      • ixlplix

        It’s gotten to big and is priced to high, I think.

        • matt

          umm its roughly doubled its sales over the old model?

          • ixlplix

            Again not saying much. When there’s an overall decline. It’s a mute point in any case because it’s going by the way of the dodo. You must admit boredom had set before the facelift, the same as it has with the falcon. People want some sort of change. It comes down to just the die hards buying. Simply though, the number are no where near what they were and that entire, not just Commodore, segment is in trouble. Just to big. In some cases price as to be included in that so just to expensive for what it is, too.

          • matt

            i was talking about the mazda 6

  • Andy Whitby

    The Commodore sales are down, however everybody conveniently forgets that the car was in run out for 6 months of the year, and 6 years old. If VF had of been released earlier in the year I would imagine the Commodore sales figure would have been different.

    • barry

      Also needed more VF V8 utes and Sedans and sportswagen for sale.The demand for VF V8 is amazing,Holden dealers have no stock.

      • HDT

        Go to the right Holden dealer then .

    • XHW

      Commodore is in run out for the next 3 years

      • Andy Whitby

        By that logic, so is every other new car on the market. Holden have said, they will make another Commodore. Its not like its going out of production. It will be dramatically different product from a different factory, but it will still be a Commodore.

        Had you of said Falcon, I would have agreed with you. As it is a terminal model.

        • Shak

          Sadly it will be a Commodore in name only. a FWD, 4 banger based on overweight luxo-barges from the US is no Commodore to me or any other enthusiast. The rumours stating that the Commodore will be based on a premium version of Epsilon are looking more and more likely. The move would be much more cost effective than trying to engineer a new RWD Commodore on GM’s only remaining RWD platform, and the whole situation with Opel in Europe and Holden at home is all about cost savings. It only makes sense then that GM would look for the cheapest and quickest solution because they have clearly proven they dont understand what made the Commodore so loved by Aussies.

    • SSV8

      It properly wouldn’t of made much difference as Commodore sale are already on a slight decrease

    • ixlplix

      Run out should have increased sales. Using that as an excuse is lame. Every other manufacturer has a run out sales go up because prices go down. Easy as.

      • Andy Whitby

        Then please explain why Mazda 3 sales are down ?

        Also not true, they were not making the thing for 2 months, they ran out of V8s and they were only producing SV6z by the end. The point of a run out is to clear stock before the new model. Not to increase sales.

        As shown by the sales spike of VF alot of people were clearly waiting for the new model, like I was. I wasn’t upgrading from VE to VE SII.

        Easy as.

        • ixlplix

          Sure, no problem. In any market there’s a finite number of potential sales. Some of those sales as in the Mazda will be lost to people who, want the latest thing at essentially the same price.

          That’s rubbish, they were still making it. There was vision on the news and in the papers and on this very site. Lets be honest it wasn’t much of a spike. the entire large car market is Down. By comparison to previous years the numbers for Commodore are down.

          I know you have rose coloured glasses on but these are facts. It just surprises me that you are so up in arms about a dead car.

        • Sydlocal

          The Mazda3 was the number one seller in December!

  • MisterZed

    Only 874 Jaguar XF sales?! In the UK, they sell around 10,000 of them a year, and the UK market is less than twice the size of ours.

    • Dave W

      Probably too expensive in Australia.

    • Phil

      UK market is a bit bigger than that – they topped 2 million sales in early December, so their sales volume is almost double that here. As a home grown prestige brand, it’s hardly surprising the Jag is popular in the UK. They’re also taxed heavily for higher polluting vehicles, so small capacity diesels are favoured. There’s good reasons why they won’t replicate that sales performance here.

      • MisterZed

        You’re right, the UK market is about 70% bigger than ours, not the 30% I originally stated. Going on this, the XF has the potential to sell around 5,000 units a year here, yet it sells fewer than 900.

    • Wild Man

      Jaguar has a very strong local following in UK. Just ask Jeremy Clarkson.

  • Johnny

    Well… I just ordered a new Falcon, so you can count me in that small Statistic.

    • Zaccy16

      good for you, great car and the best it has ever been, thats why its so sad that they are selling 7 times less when they are 7 times better today! what model are you getting?

      • Johnny

        EcoLpi XR6 with luxury pack, :) I’m pretty excited

        • gtrxuone

          You have bought well Johnny.Keep up your regular service at the end of the new car warranty.Easy a 25 year car to drive.

          • al

            HAHAHA. They DELIBERATELY build cars so they don’t last 25 years. You are fooling yourself. Same as with whitegoods and many other things…

          • Karl Sass

            There’s a very good reason they use Falcons as taxis, a million kilometers out of the stock inline 6 isn’t uncommon.

          • Phil

            low engine wear on LPG helps. Lpi Falcon and LPG Commodore are great cars, good performance and economical to run. Why they don’t attract more buyers is a mystery.

          • Karl Sass

            Yep, one of the benefits of lpg is that it burns cleaner (with lower emissions), therefore it also keeps the oil cleaner than petrol would. I think lpg has a ‘poor mans fuel’ image, with the outdated stereotype of gutless and unreliable lpg cars still prominent.

        • Zaccy16

          great choice! enjoy

    • Rocket

      Good on you they are great cars and I could not be happier with mine.

    • Rick

      After dealing with 2 local ford dealers that virtually refused to sell me a falcon .I ended up travelling to newcastle and have ordered a FPV GS manual ute to replace my XR6T .

  • BD

    This fascinates me, everyone is soo keen to talk down the locals and how people do not want Commodores or Falcons – yet the Commodore took 59% of its market & sold 20k vehicles in 6 mths with the VF, where is the positive spin on that fact! What I would enjoy is a press conference with the Heads of Holden, Ford and Toyota in which they ask the assembled media what car each drive and why they haven’t supported the local industry and jobs. Fact – too many brands for the size of the market, with too little support by the population.

    • Sydlocal

      Whilst they are at it the reporters should also ask the staff/heads what cars they drive (ie, cars they paid for themselves)! You only have to look in the staff car parks of the factories and you don’t see the huge majority you would expect of the cars they build, even with staff discounts (I know, the discount isn’t really that big). The workers themselves aren’t really buying many of them either.

      You definitely hit the nail on the head with the last bit. There are just too many brands in our market (one of the most saturated in the world) for the locals to be able to sell the volumes required to survive. Plus on top of that head office in the US for Holden/Ford were not allowing them to export the number of cars they wanted to to help boost volume. That’s protectionism for you and demonstrates that whilst they may build cars here, their hearts (and profits) belong in the US (or Japan in Toyotas case)!

      • matt

        its protectionism but its also globilisation. Why does the 5 series and E class continue? Because they are sold the world over. Commodore/Falcon? pretty much here and thats it. Im not sure why people focus on the Australian market like its gods gift to caplitalism? its the proverbial wee in the bucket the Australian market, In the global world, our car manufacturing demise lies with GM and Ford not letting the falcon go global or the Holden brand go global.

        • BD

          Your right Matt, Globalisation has certainly done its bit but GM (& Toyota) have been more supportive locally than Ford. This seems to have been the case from the 1940s when the original 48/215 was being produced to current Chev SS. Compare this to Ford US squashing a left hand drive Falcon several years ago.

          The fact is if all of us (media & the manufactuers staff included) were buying the cars in volumes of 10 to 15 years ago we would not be having this disccussion. Alas that is a dream that is dead. The shame is the VF and FG are reliable great cars for this country. I for one will be taking delivery of a VF in the next year to replace the current aging family Commodore.

    • ixlplix

      That’s 59 % of a shrinking market share. That’s the point. People overall, whether its made here or imported aren’t buying the big cars. Cost is probably one factor. But also the fact that the mid size cars are so big now and priced so well.

  • Dafty

    Anything on the Renault Latitude?

    • Bob Down

      Yeah, they all died.

    • Mike2

      About 320 sales last year, same as in 2012.

  • Cobrajet

    They are just too expensive now, 40K for a base model, there are just too many better choices, But Ford started this just by the lack of input for the Falcon, I mean who is going to buy a new five year old car. Instead of competing they have killed of the large car segment. The VF Commodore already looks dated again, despite the different trim levels they are all same now on the inside. They are less what they were used to be, there was much more variety ten years ago. But Holden is just gone because Ford is gone. The Commodore’s sales weren’t bad enough for them to shut down. Holden wouldn’t have much purpose without Ford, otherwise they could have struggled along for bit longer and would have the chance to do better.

  • JOEBEEZ

    Well the only thing driving any sort of sales is patriotism and brand loyalty. The next gen US derived Falcomodore won’t have the locals in their corner, so don’t hold your breath,