The six-year-old Mazda 2 has defied its age to claim Australia's light car class crown in 2013.
Rather than being a big winner last year, the Mazda 2’s segment win was a matter of being the smaller of two losers. Sales of the Japanese city car fell 13.7 per cent compared with the previous year (15,167 versus 17,574), representing a less severe decline than that of 2012’s winner, the Toyota Yaris, which dropped 23.2 per cent to 14,437.
Mazda is set to unveil the new-generation 2 at March’s Geneva motor show, though the all-new model isn’t expected to land in local showrooms until early 2015.
The light car segment as a whole fell 5.0 per cent in 2013 as sales in the next-size-up small segment increased 5.6 per cent.
Growth of 5.7 per cent saw the Hyundai i20 (14,100) fall just short of the Yaris to claim the bottom step of the light car podium. Another 5937 sales of the Accent made Hyundai the dominant brand in the class, however, with a 15.5 per cent share overall.
Suzuki Swift sales dipped 2.7 per cent, though its 11,792 units still handed it fourth position in 2013.
The Mitsubishi Mirage was the best of the ‘sub-light’ models, racking up 9549 sales in its first year back on the market.
It pipped the Kia Rio, which rose 15.7 per cent to 9160, and the Holden Barina, which slid 26.1 per cent to 9135. The three-door Barina Spark contributed another 1887 to Holden’s tally, up 47.7 per cent following the introduction an optional automatic transmission in January.
Ford Fiesta sales declined 20.7 per cent to 8262, while the ageing Honda Jazz limped to 5726 (down 36.8 per cent) in the lead up to the launch of the all-new model in mid 2014.
Nissan Micra sales were decimated, more than halved from 9162 to 4326, though the registrations of the slower-selling Almera sedan more than doubled to 2126.
The Toyota Prius C showed strong growth, rising 24.1 per cent to 2337.
The big winner was the Fiat 500, whose sales more than quadrupled to 2443 following a mid-2013 range restructure that saw the entry-level price slashed from $22,900 to $14,000 driveaway.
The Volkswagen Polo slipped 5.8 per cent to 5582, while sales of the smaller Up! almost tripled, ending the year at 1440.
The Peugeot 208 was the best of the $25,000-plus light class, with sales up from 319 in 2012 to 996 last year.
The Alfa Romeo Mito was the next best at 352 sales (up 120 per cent), followed by the DS3 on 204 (down 3.8 per cent).
In total, Australians purchased 130,757 light cars last year, representing 23.1 per cent of the passenger vehicle market and 11.5 per cent of the market as a whole.