But the ‘Small $40K’ bracket lifted by just 3.2 per cent, while the ‘Small >$40K’ portion hogged the limelight with a 61.6 per cent rise, although the latter contributed only 16,821 to the total.
The Toyota Corolla (43,498 sales, up 12.1 per cent) may have narrowly stolen both the title of Australia’s best selling car and top selling small car from the Mazda 3 (42,082, down 4.6 per cent), but their percentage share of the class is separated by only 0.5 per cent – 17.4 versus 16.9 per cent.
Add the third-placed Hyundai i30 (30,582, up 7.9 per cent with an 11.1 per cent share) and its sedan sibling Elantra (8801, up 1.2 per cent), and almost half of all Australians buying in the segment purchased a Toyota, Mazda or Hyundai last year.
Fourth-placed Holden Cruze (24,421, down 16.3 per cent with a 9.8 per cent share) kept itself ahead of next-best Ford Focus (19,180, up 3.2 per cent with a 7.7 per cent share) and Volkswagen Golf (17,342, up 0.3 per cent with a 6.9 per cent share).
Former class favourite the Mitsubishi Lancer fell hard, down 25.5 per cent with 11,408 sales, its share shrinking from 6.3 per cent in 2012 to 4.6 per cent last year. It was eclipsed by the Nissan Pulsar which, despite having only been on sale since February, managed 14,056 sales for a 5.6 per cent share.
The only other sizeable numbers in the class were notched up by the Kia Cerato (5785, although it was down 26.6 per cent) and Subaru Impreza, although its 6871 tally fell 18.3 per cent last year compared with 2012, and its share in the class shrunk from 3.5 to 2.8 per cent.
Despite Opel closing its doors here, the Astra (1242) almost eclipsed the Renault Megane (1242 – up 10.4 per cent), while both finished the year behind the Suzuki SX4 (2094 – plus 5.3 per cent) and hugely improved Alfa Romeo Giulietta (1949 – up 219.5 per cent).
One rung up, in the ‘Small >$40K’ segment, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class dominated proceedings, the former at 3218 sales just behind the latter at 3248 (up 59.6 per cent) for a combined 6466-unit crush to the opposition.
The BMW 1 Series managed 2311 sales, up 20.4 per cent, which placed only just ahead of the Audi A3 and its 2138 total, up 93 per cent on 2012.
Mini Hatch/Clubman (1646, up 11.6 per cent) and Paceman (103) at least helped the overall BMW tally, edging out the Audi A1 (1637, down 8.7 per cent) by just 10 units.
In the electro-premium stakes, the Nissan Leaf (188, up 144.2 per cent) just edged out the Holden Volt (101, up 26.3 per cent).