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.
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.
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).