Australians are buying fewer vehicles classified as sportscars this year than they did in 2014, but there is one part of the market that serves as a notable exception.
Automotive sales database VFACTS breaks its Sports segment into three different sections based on price: Under $80,000, over $80,000 and over $200,000. And while total sales across all three are down 8.3 per cent, the lattermost segment is actually up 26.9 per cent.
This means that sales for the likes of Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche are all up. It’s said that sales of ultra high-end vehicles are less contingent on prevailing economic winds, given the wealthiest among us often stay wealthy. And that's just what the latest figures are affirming.
Between the start of January and the end of May of this year, there were 666 cars classified as Sports > $200K registered in Australia, compared to 525 in 2014. By contrast, sales of cars belonging to the Sports < $80K category fell 16.8 per cent, while the Sports > $80K market grew, but only by 2.5 per cent — bang on the total market average
Looking at the segment, it’s a who’s-who of glamour. Some notable growers included Ferrari, which clusters all its models together, and which grew 85.7 per cent to 78 registrations in the first five months of the year.
On that topic, the soon-to-be-replaced Audi R8, which shares bits with said Gallardo, is up from 11 units to 15, despite its advanced age and imminent replacement by a new version that shares the Huracan’s architecture.
Other movers and shakers were the electrifying BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, with 23 units registered so far, and the Aston Martin coupe and convertible family, up 10.2 per cent to 54 units.
Meantime the Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio are up 40.0 per cent despite getting long the tooth, to 63 units.
McLaren has also almost doubled its sales to 14 units, and with the new 570S and 540C Sports Series family — ostensibly Porsche 911 Turbo rivals — coming here before years end, and a new Melbourne dealer coming on stream, expect to see this growth skyrocket in 2016.
Also powering along is the gorgeous new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, with 39 registered this year so far, and with little impact on the existing — and rather different, we’ll admit — SLS (down from 27 units to 22).
Also performing well is the car that, in numerical terms, dominates the class like no other. The Porsche 911 has 27.9 per cent market share this year, and is up 10.7 per cent on 2014’s figures to 186 units.
The sales growth is not unanimous. The Bentley Continental is down 25.0 per cent to 24 units, while the BMW 6 Series coupe and convertible has fallen 11.8 per cent to 82 — but don’t forget that the updated model launches this week.
The ancient Jaguar XK is down from 34 units this time last year to just 5 units in 2015, no doubt an impact of the newer and, frankly, better F-Type stealing its thunder (71 units, up 18.3 per cent and bolstered by new AWD and manual variants this week).