This week’s announcement of 2013’s new vehicle sales results threw up highlights that sent PR departments into overdrive writing glowing press releases, though the figures also uncovered plenty of lowlights that car makers would rather quietly sweep under the rug.
Official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries confirms scores of models struggled in local showrooms last year.
To generate a list of the worst-selling new cars of 2013, we’ve set a few criteria.
Firstly, each vehicle must have been on sale for the entirety of 2013 to qualify – neither launched after the start of the year nor discontinued before the end of the year.
Secondly, to filter out low-volume luxury and sports cars, we’ve set an upper price limit, where every variant in each model line must be priced below $100,000 to be eligible.
Under these criteria, a dozen nameplates failed to break triple figures – the first handful reading more like the top order of an English batting line-up than an annual sales tally, particularly our ‘winner’, which suffered the indignity of scoring a duck.
Worst-selling cars of 2013:
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV claims the unenviable title of Australia’s worst-selling car of 2013 (though, failing to register any sales, it may argue the case on a technicality… let’s call it Australia’s most unpopular car of 2013, then).
After notching up 95 registrations across the country in 2012, Mitsubishi failed to shift one of its $48,800 electric city cars last year. Mitsubishi Australia’s Shayna Welsh told CarAdvice that despite its non-existent sales result, 2014 would be a case of “business as usual” for the i-MiEV, with “no plans” to reduce its price, which makes it about as pricey as four similar-sized Mirage hatchbacks.
Its key rival, the larger Nissan Leaf, was offered from $39,990 driveaway for the majority of last year, and managed a more respectable 188 sales.
Exotic British car maker Caterham sold just two of its road-registrable go-karts, down from three in 2012, and good for the silver medal on our tally.
The $76,135 Honda Legend rounded out a depressing podium, failing to crack even double figures last year. Sales of Honda’s flagship sedan have been in decline since 2007, when Australians snapped up 404 Legends.
Honda has ceased production of the fourth-generation Legend, though the car remains on Honda Australia’s official price list and public website, with limited stock at dealers for sale. Its successor, known as the Acura RLX in the North America, went on sale in the US in March 2013, and will be badged as the Legend in Japan this year. Honda Australia remains uncommitted to the new car, however, and has announced no plans to introduce it at this stage.
The Infiniti M sedan failed to capture the imaginations of buyers in the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class category, limping to just 42 sales and sixth position last year, while the G37 did little better, claiming 10th position overall with 75 sales.
The premium Japanese marque attempted to address struggling results by slashing prices of both models by $9500-$13,100 at the start of September, though the figures showed no signs of improvement. Infiniti Australia sold just nine M sedans and 28 G37 coupes and convertibles in the final four months of the year.
The Honda CR-Z made it two in the top (really, bottom) seven for the Japanese brand, plummeting from 370 sales in 2012 to just 58 last year – customers clearly not taking kindly to April’s specification tweak that saw the hybrid sports car’s starting price increase to $38,490.
The Citroen C4 Grand Picasso people-mover fell to 61 sales from 149 in the previous year (an all-new version of the French seven-seater is due soon), while the Proton Gen.2 was overlooked by all but 64 local buyers last year, 124 fewer than in 2012.
Rounding out the dirty dozen was the seven-year-old Volvo C70 convertible (80 sales), which will be phased out in the coming months after production ended last year, and the Proton Persona, which fell from 241 in 2012 to 92 in 2013.
Narrowly avoiding the embarrassment of failing to make it to triple digits were the Citroen DS5 (100), Holden Volt (101) and the Skoda Roomster (102), falling over the line in December with four, three and 12 sales respectively.