THE times they are a-changin’ – Bob Dylan’s words from 1964 could apply to the Australian automotive scene of today, which has just had a shocker of a month.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries attributed the results to lower levels of consumer confidence, with CEO Tony Weber citing “an imminent federal election, a declining real estate market and tighter lending practices” as contributing factors.

“However, Australia’s love affair with SUVs continues,” he said.

“January was a solid sales period for these vehicles, with the segment claiming 43.8 per of total market sales.”

But the overall market was down 7.4 per cent over January 2018, to 88,851 units, with every State but the Northern Territory showing a drop in sales.

To counter the miserable showing of once upon a time market leaders Holden and Ford, both down 27 per cent, were China’s MG and Great Wall, up nearly 850 and 690 per cent, respectively and the boofy Dodge Ram – with a 922 per cent jump in sales.

They came from near-zero starting points, but made encouraging blips on an otherwise largely south-bound graph.

Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia, Lexus, Volvo, Jaguar and Skoda were among brands with improved sales, and HiLux was again the national top seller.

Behind Toyota in overall sales came Mazda, with its Mazda3 pipping Corolla in its class — and Mitsubishi third.

Hyundai was fourth, Kia fifth, Ford and Holden sixth and seventh, and Honda eighth.

Ninth and 10th were Nissan, with a 19.2 per cent drop in sales, and Volkswagen.

Doing it tough in January were Land Rover, which showed a 52 per cent drop over the same period last year, plus Jeep, Renault and Peugeot.

Porsche was the top sports car in the more than $200,000 bracket, but it was down a forehead-furrowing 66.5 per cent over 2018.

Kia’s Picanto was way ahead in the micro car class, leading from Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage, while Hyundai’s Accent again led the light car segment from Toyota Yaris and Mazda 2.

Mazda3 took 20.5 percent of the small car market, followed by Corolla and Hyundai i30, and Camry remained dominant in the medium cars, ahead of Mazda6  and Subaru Liberty.

In the large category it was Holden Commodore from Kia Stinger and Skoda Superb.

Top people mover was Kia Carnival, leading Honda Odyssey and Toyota Tarago — and Ford’s Mustang claimed almost half of the sub-$80,000 sports car market.

Second and third were BMW 2 Series and Toyota 86.

Among the ever-growing SUVs, Mitsubishi’s evergreen ASX led Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V in the small sector.

Mazda CX-5 took the medium class from Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail and Toyota Prado was top seller in the large class, followed by Kluger and Hyundai Santa Fe.

LandCruiser led the Upper Large slice on 92.1 per cent market share from Nissan Patrol.

The Top 10 individual models last month were:

Toyota HiLux – 3951

Mazda3 – 2831

Ford Ranger – 2564

Toyota Corolla – 2417

Mazda CX-5 – 2347

Hyundai i30 – 1891

Mitsubishi ASX – 1818

Toyota RAV4 – 1800

Mitsubishi Triton – 1697

Holden Colorado – 1544

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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.