It’s no secret that sales of passenger cars — that is to say, vehicles that are neither SUVs, utes or vans — are contracting in market share.
But this is not unanimously the case. People are still buying a lot of hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, coupes and convertibles — only an increasing ratio have premium (mostly German) badges affixed to the nose.
For those not as keen on following industry trends as yours truly, SUVs were up 19.4 per cent in August, according to recently released VFACTS data (and up 14.4 per cent for the year). Passenger cars over the same period dropped 4.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.
But perhaps a better marker of what’s really going on is a statistic we touched on briefly last week, but will expand on now.
Luxury leader Mercedes-Benz did a few better — its haul of 2062 passenger vehicle sales also outstripped Kia (2013). In fact, the only brands to better Benz in this area were Toyota (7065), Hyundai (5775), Mazda (4278), Holden (4274) and Volkswagen (3054).
Importantly, the monthly passenger car sales of the big three Germans were all up against August 2014 — Audi by 32.1 per cent, BMW by 15 per cent and Mercedes-Benz by 35.2 per cent.
For some segment-by-segment examples, the Audi A1 (303) outsold the Ford Fiesta (296). The Audi A3 (560) doubled the Honda Civic (271). Both the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan/wagon (838) and BMW 3 Series range (407) ousted the Mazda 6 (377).
Additionally, the BMW 5 Series (125) and Mercedes-Benz E-Class (73) beat the Chrysler 300 (63), though that car was recently updated and might have been impinged by supply. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe (267) outsold the Toyota 86 (241), thanks to near-runout deals.
What these figures suggest — and keep in mind these are not isolated or contrary to general longer-term market trends — is that the line between ‘luxury’ and mainstream is blurrier than ever. For more on that idea, click here.