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These were the best-selling cars in Australia 20 years ago

Several of these top-selling models from April 2000 have all but vanished.

The year was 2000. The month? April. The market leader – Holden.

Yes, it could be argued we lived in simpler times 20 years ago. With the Sydney Olympics around the corner and John Howard as our Prime Minister, Australians had different priorities.

For starters, SUVs – whether light, medium or large – weren't even a category in VFACTS data, Daewoo was still in the 10 top-selling auto brands and Holden had a year-to-date market share of 18.9 per cent.

With a full two decades spanning from April 2000 until today, we decided to go back into the archives to get a portrait of Aussie car buyers in the early noughties.

Here, we present the 10 top-selling car models in Australia as at April 2000.

Please note, numbers listed are indicative of total year-to-date (YTD) sales volume as at April 2000 according to VFACTS data. They encompass all body and engine types within the model listed.

10. Honda CR-V

Classed as an all-terrain compact wagon by VFACTS, the Honda CR-V was the only car not in the 'passenger' segment to claim a spot in the top 10, with 4043 sales. It still exists today and had a market share of 8.1 per cent at the end of 2019.

9. Toyota Echo

It may not sound familiar to some, but the Echo is still available today – although we now know it as a Toyota Yaris. The name changed in 2005 in line with the Australian arrival of the updated Echo, and the Yaris remains a popular model, retaining second place in the light-car segment for 2019, just behind the Hyundai Accent, selling 9853 units in total. Back in April 2000, it had sold 4261 units in four months.

8. Nissan Pulsar

Shifting 5850 units by the end of April 2000, the Pulsar was more popular in sedan guise than hatch form. It was eventually replaced by the Nissan Tiida in 2005, but had a brief comeback in Australia from 2013 to 2016.

7. Mitsubishi Lancer

The Lancer had sold 5978 units by the time April 2000 rolled around – and it enjoyed another 17 years on the market before Mitsubishi announced it would end production and leave showrooms before the end of 2018.

6. Toyota Corolla

Selling 6480 units in hatch and sedan form as of April 2000, the Corolla went on to top the market from 2013 to 2015. It still endures to this day, selling 7702 units this year so far, as of March 2020.

5. Mitsubishi Magna

Mitsubishi's large car offering, available in both sedan and wagon and positioned as a challenger to the Commodore and Falcon, sold 7466 units in the first four months of 2000. If you include the closely-related Mitsubishi Verada, sales jump to 8427. The Magna ended production in 2005 after a 20-year run.

4. Toyota Camry

One of the few names on the list that remains to this day, the V6 iteration of the Toyota Camry had sold 4574 units as of April 2000, while the four-cylinder version trailed closely behind with 4161 units, totalling 8735 units.

3. Hyundai Excel

Offered as both a hatch and sedan, Hyundai's affordable Excel (it was priced from around $13,000 back then but made famous by its drive-away deals) was a regular on the top-seller list. As of April 2000, it had sold 10,056 units.

2. Ford Falcon

Locked in an ongoing battle with Holden for the top spot, Ford was the third highest-selling car brand in Australia as of April 2000 and its Falcon, which was discontinued in 2016, claimed second place with 17,214 YTD sales – plus 2427 if you count the Falcon ute.

1. Holden Commodore

The announcement of the Commodore's death in 2019 preceded the ensuing demise of Holden as a brand and sparked mass tributes for the car, which as at April 2000 had sold a whopping 23,363 units. Commodore utility sales added 2861 units to that total. It was, undeniably, Australia's favourite car.

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