The year 2018 was not the greatest year for car sales in Australia, with numbers down on 2017 — and 2019 not looking too flash either.

But as sales flagged in many sectors, luxury car makers had a wonderful time; Mercedes-Benz, for instance, recording its best sales on record.

A US survey says it’s remarkable, given that the global new-car market is beginning to plateau, and consumer confidence, even in once-booming China, begins to wane.

Yet, North America and Asia continue to be the largest markets for the most luxurious cars and supercars.

Sales of British supercar maker McLaren jumped almost 50 per cent (49.3) over its 2017 figures.

While it had a torrid time in Formula 1, McLaren’s sports car found a ready market in North America, which is its best customer base.

Sales at McLaren have now grown for eight consecutive years and if its new attack in Formula 1 achieves what is planned, 2019 could be an even bigger year.

It added two new countries to its buyer destinations: Latvia and Poland. New retail locations also opened in Washington state and Michigan.

In Europe, sales increased 44.2 percent; in the UK it was 49.2 percent; and in China the sales surged 122.5 percent.

In total, McLaren sold 4806 cars globally.

The result for Porsche was also impressive.

It delivered 256,255 cars and luxury SUVs globally in 2018, with China its leading market on 80,180 vehicles.

Europe ran second place with 77,216 cars, and the US registered third with 57,202 cars.

Totals for the entire Americas was 70,461, a four per cent increase over 2017 numbers.

European sales actually contracted by four percent.

It was also good news for the 911. Despite the next-generation car on the horizon, sales were up 10 percent globally.

The sales party continued at Rolls-Royce which marked its highest sales ever in its 115-year history.

The Americas region propelled growth, but sales were up in every market, according to the brand.

The company also delivered the first Cullinan SUV models before Christmas and said the order book continues to fill well into the second half of 2019.

The Phantom was the brand’s top seller and helped it move 4107 cars last year total.

Mercedes-Benz reported a 0.9-percent increase of sales globally.

In total, the three-pointed star brand delivered all of 2.3 million cars, which made 2018 its best sales year on record.

Top sellers were the brand’s portfolio of SUVs and the E-Class sedan.

The Asia-Pacific region was the top market for Mercedes-Benz last year with major growth in China with 652,996 cars delivered.

And then there’s Lamborghini, a brand much loved by the Americans.

The US remained the Italian firm’s largest market and global sales rocketed 51 percent in 2018, with the former tractor maker selling 5750 vehicles.

Of the total, the US accounted for 1595 cars, and the UK 636.

Japan was a surprise third, with 559 cars delivered. However, sales were up in all markets.

The Urus SUV was the main reason for the growth spurt, contributing 1761 units to the total number of cars sold.

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Buys

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.