The Australian car market went back to 1999 in April, with Ford Australia beating arch nemesis Holden for what appears to be the first time since ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ topped the singles charts.
According to VFACTS figures for last month, Ford nabbed 6842 sales, representing growth of 18.2 per cent. Holden fell 5.1 per cent to 6710 units. In January 1999, the last time the Blue Oval beat the Lion, the scores were 8591 versus 8335, and the AU Falcon and VT Commodore were top-sellers. No longer.
The April 2016 figures put the two brands respectively in fourth and fifth position for the month behind Toyota, Hyundai and Mazda. Year to date, Holden leads Ford with 29,299 (down 8.2 per cent) versus 25,484 (up 18.2 per cent), but the gap is closing fast.
Driving Ford’s success as usual was the Ranger ute, with 2973 sales, or about 45 per cent of Ford’s total. The Ranger was the third top-selling vehicle overall behind the Hyundai i30 and the Toyota HiLux (though, crucially, Ranger 4x4 sales beat Hilux 4x4).
Amazingly, Ford’s second top-selling car was the Mustang, with 690 units. As we know, the American muscle car is running at a rate of demand much higher than supply, prompting dealer markups and long waiting lists.
These two models were alone responsible for almost all Ford’s growth, though the Focus (502, up 32.5 per cent), Kuga (421, up 13.2 per cent) and Mondeo (202, up 360 per cent thanks to supply) did well. The Falcon sedan (410), Falcon Ute (238) and Territory (654) all fell moderately.
By comparison, Holden’s top-seller was Commodore with 1908 (down 6.6 per cent), followed by the Colorado ute with 1228.
The Captiva (823, up 32.7 per cent) contributed, as did the Trax (571, up 53.5 per cent), Holden Ute (406, up 12.2 per cent) and the all-new Spark, which topped the flagging Micro Car segment on 224 sales.
The locally made Cruze managed only 808, down 21.6 per cent, ahead of the imminent end of production before the end of 2016.
The Ford v Holden battle wasn’t the only major surprise from April. Mercedes-Benz finished ninth and in so doing beat Subaru, while BMW grew almost 60 per cent and knocked off Honda. Volkswagen also beat Mitsubishi and Nissan.
A full breakdown of all the industry figures will go live at midday.