A LOT of people didn’t get that new car they’d hoped for from Father Christmas.

Data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries shows December sales were almost 15 per cent down on the same month in 2017 and the total national sales of 1.15 million was three per cent down on 2017.

‘The results reflect a challenging climate across the Australian economy,’ FCAI chief Tony Weber said, adding that the drought and a tightening of money lending didn’t help.

Nearly all major brands suffered downturns in December, Holden in particular had a drop of virtually 30,000 sales compared to December 2017.

But there were a few exceptions.

Volvo, Great Wall, Haval, Alfa Romeo, MG, Jaguar, Mercedes vans and Isuzu Ute, all had gains, as, rather surprisingly in the tight money market, did Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Porsche and Aston Martin.

Morgan sales were also up — from 8 in 2017 to 10 last year.

SUVs continued their inexorable climb, accounting for 43 per cent of the market in 2018, as did light commercials, led by Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.

Passenger cars dropped by 26 per cent.

Top 10 brands overall for December were Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Ford, Holden, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen and Honda.

The top 10 individual models were HiLux, Ranger, Corolla, Mazda 3, Isuzu Ute, Triton, CX-5, Hyundai i30, Rav4 and LandCruiser.

Kia Picanto again easily led the micro car sector from Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage, Hyundai Accent stayed in front in the Light car class, and Corolla finished marginally ahead of Mazda 3 in the Small car segment, with 2311 sales to Mazda’s 2285.

Camry, claimed a dominant 62.4 per cent of the Medium category and Holden topped the Large class with its badged Opel Commodore leading from Kia Stinger.

Kia Carnival was still the top-selling people mover and Mustang, on 439 sales, led the sports car segment from BMW 2 Series Coupe (85).

Mercedes-Benz S-Class cried king of the $100,000-plus class with 17 sales and its E-Class topped the $70,000-plus division. Next best of the big boys was Maserati Quattroporte (7), BMW 7-Series (6) and Bentley and Lexus LS dead-heated with with five sales each.

CHECKOUT: Holden battens down the hatches as sales head south

CHECKOUT: Utes hold the fort as market does a runner


Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.