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Battle for top sales honours with Australian-built cars is closer than it seems

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Battle for top sales honours with Australian-built cars is closer than it seems

8 February 2010


THE Holden Commodore was easily the best-selling car in Australia in 2009 – for the 14th year in a row – and, at first blush, appears to have an unassailable lead over its Ford arch-rival, the Falcon.

Official VFACTS figures show Holden sold 44,387 Commodores and Ford sold 31,023 Falcons last year – a fairly healthy margin any way you look at it. But look at the data in different ways and it is a far more interesting contest.

VFACTS bundles wagons and sedans into the Falcon and Commodore numbers, as well as high-performance derivatives sold through Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) and Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).

Pare these back and Holden sold 27,938 Commodore sedans, while Ford was just 2841 cars behind with 25,097 Falcon sedans.

It was another close-run thing among the muscle cars, too, with HSV selling 1814 Commodore sedan-based vehicles and FPV managing 1316 Falcon sedan-based vehicles.

The big gap between the Commodore and Falcon can be explained by the sales performance of their respective station wagons.

Holden has had considerable success with its VE Commodore-based Sportwagon, which replaced the previous long-wheelbase (and more utilitarian) model in 2008. The Sportwagon’s stylish design and compactness has appealed to many young families and no doubt some existing Commodore sedan customers as well.

All up, Holden sold 14,423 station wagons and HSV shifted another 212 of its wagon-based R8 Tourer. In the blue corner, there is no FPV station wagon to take on the Tourer, and with its mainstream ‘mass-market’ wagon, Ford achieved just 4610 sales in 2009.

That comes as no surprise given the Falcon wagon was not part of the FG upgrade in 2008 and still carries the BFIII badge.

Ford no doubt lost some wagon customers to its Territory, which has been around since 2004, and added a handy 10,851 sales last year.

FPV sold 33 Territory-based F6X turbo models, which it dropped from its line up in March.

In terms of ute sales, Ford Australia has always been strong in this field and 2009 was no exception.

In what was the closest battle of the year, Ford sold 11,763 utes compared to Holden’s 11,363.

HSV sold 741 examples of its Holden ute-based Maloo, while FPV sold 417 Falcon ute-based models, which means that, combined, the Blue Oval brand can still claim first place with 12,180 to 12,104.

Sales of Holden’s long-wheelbase models did not contribute much in 2009, with 1936 Statesman and Caprice models sold. HSV chipped in with 103 sales of its long-wheelbase Grange.

A handful of Ford dealers must have had some Fairlanes left in stock, with VFACTS recording 18 sales of the model that was axed back in December 2007.

All up, Holden and HSV finished the year with 58,530 locally made and locally sold cars compared to Ford with 54,105 locally made and locally sold vehicles.

The only other local manufacturer, Toyota, recorded 20,846 Camry and 13,910 Aurion sales in Australia for a total of 34,756.

But, of course, Toyota remains the number-one motor vehicle manufacturer in Australia by virtue of the fact that it has Australia’s biggest export program of around 100,000 cars.

Figures are still to be released for the 2009 calendar year, but Toyota Australia’s export volume for its last financial year (April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009) was 94,955 cars.



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