Sales of dedicated sports cars fell off a cliff last month, with industry database VFACTS recording a 23.6 per cent drop over the same month in 2014.
This statistic is a significant outlier, given sports car sales as a whole are down by a comparatively modest 3.8 per cent for the year so far.
Naturally, the concept of a ‘sports car’ is a slippery one. But for the sake of categorisation, VFACTS limits the segment to hardtops and convertibles with two doors with a performance/aesthetic bent or both.
The biggest area to fall was also the highest-volume one — the sub-$80K segment. Sales here fell 26.2 per cent to 1050 units, led by precipitous falls in the car’s two volume stars.
Few cars here were up, with other segment staples such as the BMW 2 Series (140 to 109); Audi A3 convertible (116 to 76); Subaru BRZ (75 to 34) and Kia Pro_Cee’d (34 to 28) all dropping compared to the same month last year.
Bucking the trend were the all-new ‘ND’ Mazda MX-5, going from 13 to 90 as a reflection of its much sharper new pricing, while the Nissan 370Z (26 to 31) and Volkswagen Scirocco (19 to 25) showed small growth. Incremental sales came from new-to-segment entrants the Holden Astra Sport (64) and Cascada (71).
Meanwhile, the ritzier Sports > $80K segment also fell, by 22.5 per cent to 430 units.
The drops among the segment luminaries were almost unanimous, led by the top-selling BMW 4 Series (from 186 in October last year to 124 this time); Mercedes-Benz E-Class (125 to 65); and Audi A5 (52 to 36).
Going against the grain was the still brand-new Audi TT which bounced as expected, from 4 to 64 units. The new Lexus RC added 46 units to the segment incrementally, given it wasn’t available this time last year.
It wasn’t all grim news across all segments, either. The high-rollers among us kept on keeping on, given the Sports > $200K segment grew 8.1 per cent in October over the same month in 2014 to 107 sales.
The BMW 6 Series grew from 15 to 21, Aston Martin more than doubled from 7 to 15, as did Maserati from 4 to 10, while the Mercedes-AMG GT (7) and S-Class Coupe (6) added volume alongside the new and incremental BMW i8 (9).
All of this was enough to offset a fall in sales of the annual leader, the Porsche 911, from 23 to 16, a drop in Ferrari sales from 11 to 9 and Lamborghini’s fall from 6 sales in October 2014 to just 1 last month.
As a car enthusiast, does the fall in sports car sales annoy you? Or does the growth in performance-focused but more practical four-door offerings make sense?