The first week of every year sends public relations departments of automotive companies into overdrive issuing releases bragging about their sales performances in the previous 12 months.
This week was no different, with myriad brands boasting record numbers and massive gains in 2014. (You can read our comprehensive 2014 sales wrap here.)
Unsurprisingly, there were significantly fewer press releases (read: zero) highlighting some of the less glowing results from last year.
Fortunately, official VFACTS data complied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries allows us to shine a light on some of the cars that weren’t so popular in 2014.
To compile our worst-selling cars of 2014 list, we’ve put in place a few criteria.
Firstly, each vehicle must have been on sale for the whole of 2014 to be eligible, ruling out cars that launched after the start of the year or were discontinued before the end of the year.
Secondly, we’ve set an upper price limit of $100,000 to filter out low-volume luxury and sports cars. To be eligible, every variant in the model line must be priced below six figures (before on-road costs).
This year’s (dis)honour roll is considerably longer than 2013’s, with 21 vehicles failing to top 100 sales, up from last year’s dirty dozen.
Worst-selling cars of 2014:
Note: Mini Coupe and Roadster cumulatively totalled 121.
Keen CarAdvice readers will note that last year’s ‘winner’, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, is nowhere to be seen on the 2014 list. This isn’t because of a bumper sales year for the Japanese brand’s micro EV. Quite the opposite actually.
Mitsubishi failed to sell a single i-MiEV for the second straight year, despite the car still appearing on its public website and official December price list for an incredulous $48,800 before on-road costs.
But we’ve decided not to include it in the 2014 list because Mitsubishi says the prices and online content only remain to allow dealers to sell the handful of cars that exist with dealers. It says the i-MiEV has effectively been discontinued, and confirmed it won’t be bringing any more to Australia.
Other models on 2013’s podium are also absent from the 2014 list.
Caterham, which only sells variants of its Seven sports car in Australia, introduced the $108,990 Seven 485 in 2014, pushing it above the price threshold and making it ineligible in 2014. For the record, Caterham sales increased a whopping 50 per cent last year – up from two sales to three…
The Honda Legend is another to escape this year’s list. As with the i-MiEV, Honda’s ancient luxury sedan was technically discontinued in the second half of the year, removed from its public website despite still appearing on the car maker’s official December price list.
Dealers managed to sell six of the $76,135 fourth-generation sedans, which actually went out of production back in 2012. Incredibly, one of those sales came as recently as last month.
It may be the final chance for Australians to get their hands on a ‘new’ Legend, however, as Honda Australia has no plans to introduce the all-new, fifth-generation model that launched in Japan late last year.
That leads us to the actual worst-selling car of 2014, or Australia’s least popular car, if you will: the Volvo S80.
Sales of the S80 fell 25 per cent last year to just 15 units, leaving daylight between it and the next lowest-selling model.
For those who did opt for the ageing Swedish saloon over the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the choice was an easy one, with the $84,590 T6 Luxury the only variant available to local customers.
In second place is the Lotus Elise – the entry model from the niche British sports car maker – sales of which fell 30 per cent last year to just 23 units.
Rounding out the podium was another struggling model in the large luxury passenger car class: the Infiniti Q70 (nee M). Despite a name change and its second massive price reduction in little more than 12 months, the Q70 could still only manage 26 sales for the year, down from 42 in 2013.
It was joined in the top/bottom 10 by another Infiniti, the Q60 (nee G37), which tallied just 69 sales in 2014, down from 75 in the previous year.
Infiniti sales did enjoy a 45 per cent spike last year, however, on the back of the introduction of the Q50, which found 197 new homes.
Peugeot claimed fourth and fifth positions with its Partner van and previous-generation-based 308 CC, while sibling brand Citroen took sixth place with the C4 Aircross – sales of which fell 62 per cent.
The PSA pair had four other models that failed to climb into triple-figure sales: Peugeot Expert, Citroen DS4 and DS5, and Peugeot 5008.
The Holden Volt, which just avoided 2013’s list with 101 sales, couldn’t repeat that feat last year. Total deliveries dropped to 58, making Holden’s $59,990 plug-in hybrid less popular than the Proton Suprima S and Chery J1.
One model that deserves a pat on the back is the Honda CR-Z, which, despite still ranking on this year’s list, enjoyed a 48 per cent sales boost in 2014 to 86.
The Mini Paceman continued to confuse consumers in 2014, notching up just 87 sales, though it wasn’t the worst-selling model in the company’s line-up. That honour goes to one of the Coupe and Roadster, which cumulatively tallied 121 sales, but as VFACTS doesn’t break them out individually, it’s unclear exactly how many of each was sold. We’ve contacted Mini Australia for clarification, and will update the story when we hear more.
Rounding out the 2014 worst-sellers list is the Renault Latitude. Sales of Renault’s South Korean-made large car plummeted to just 96 last year, down more than 70 per cent from the previous year.