Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s Volkswagen that sits at the top of the sales tree, given the fact it leads across three key price/power market breakdowns. But Subaru, Renault, Ford and even premium players Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz give stiff competition.
The Volkswagen Polo GTI leads in the baby class with 691 sales — compared to 694 last year, even though the major update with power boost and the addition of a manual gearbox option only hit showrooms last April. This represents 13 per cent of total Polo sales.
Next is the three- and five-door Mini Cooper S family on 612 (683 at the same point last year). This is a fair way ahead of number three, the Renault Clio Sport with 263 (down from 436), Ford Fiesta ST with 261 (370), Audi A1 S-Line and S1 on 58 (128), and the Peugeot 208 GTi on 55 (87).
Next up it’s the Volkswagen Golf GTI on top with 1465 units (down from 1486), beating the Subaru WRX on 1321 (1535), Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport on 1033 (638), BMW 125i (617, 34 per cent of the total 1 Series sales), Ford Focus ST on 286 (418), the combined Renault Megane RS family and the Megane GT220 (161), and the Mini JCW on 182 (47).
Note, the Golf GTI figure comprises the regular GTI (891), GTI Performance (339) and the Golf GTI 40 Years special edition released this year (235).
Atop the food chain it’s the Volkswagen Golf R that leads on 1220 (1147), ahead of the Audi S3 on 1079 (1049), Audi RS3 (603 incremental), Mercedes-AMG A45 on 548 (585), Subaru WRX STI on 483 (652), BMW M135i on 216 (BMW M140i launching soon) and the Ford Focus RS on 191.
Interestingly, the combined Golf GTI and Golf R sales of 2685 represent about 20 per cent of total Golf hatch sales, which is one of the richest model mixes anywhere.
“We keep on about being Premium for the People, but it’s our customers who are making that tangible,” said Volkswagen Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger.
“We can reasonably expect the GTIs to do well, but the Golf R is surpassing expectations. More and more customers want the extra go and grip of an R and aren’t shy about paying that bit more to get it.”
Last year Australia was number two worldwide in Renault Megane RS sales, while we’re also well up there in Audi Sport and Mercedes-AMG numbers — with the latter brand, we have the world’s top per capita AMG purchasing rate. There’s a trend.
"The A250 and A45 are the cornerstone of our Compact Car strategy, we wanted to bring new people to our brand and these two have more than delivered,” Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of communications David McCarthy said.
“The A250 has been the best selling A-Class more often than not since launch accounting for north of 50 per cent of sales. The A45 continues to be in short supply and has redefined the hot hatch segment.
“We now have customers coming back for their second and third A250 or A45. We love that and it shows we are building what people want. These segments are hugely important to us and there are brands that would dearly love to have a range that sells in that volume, let alone a model.”
*Note: We've enquired with each respective company for Abarth 595 and Peugeot 308 GTi sales and will update when/if we get the numbers.