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Jane is a retail and small business writer with a special interest in emerging companies and entrepreneurs. She covered the financial services industry before moving into general business journalism and has written for The Age and The Australian Financial Review.

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Football, meat pies, kangaroos and a Hyundai - Holden exits top 3

Published 03 April 2013 11:31, Updated 04 April 2013 07:25

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Football, meat pies, kangaroos and a Hyundai - Holden exits top 3

The Australian new vehicle market has changed significantly since Holden’s Commodore battled Ford’s Falcon for top spot through the 1980s, with neither brand now ranked in the Top 3 for sales. Photo: Fairfax Media

In the 1970s, according to the famous ad, Australians preferred football, meat pies and Holdens. Today, however, it appears that Korean car brand Hyundai is among a group of Asian brands that are favoured.

Over the past two months Holden, according to unconfirmed reports by News Limited, has fallen from the top three top-selling vehicles (ranked according to monthly car sales) for the first time in its 65-year history. Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai are the top three, while Holden ranks at number five.

According to reports, Holden sold 8290 vehicles in March, a huge 18 per cent drop on the previous month. The industry’s peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, declined to verify the figures.

The reported drop in Holden’s numbers comes despite the fact that the company has twice the state and federal government funding of its competitors (an estimated $2.2 billion over 12 years). Toyota has received an estimated $1.2 billion and Ford has amassed about $1.1 billion in state and federal government funding.

In January, BRW reported Holden’s US parent’s plans to stop producing the iconic Commodore beyond 2016. Demand for large sedans such as the Commodore and its long-time competitor the Ford Falcon has been falling steadily for the past few years as consumers favour smaller, more fuel-efficient, Asian-made, four-cylinder vehicles and sports utility vehicles as family cars.

Commodore and Ford Falcon sales have gradually declined since the influx of Asian cars in the early 1990s. That, combined with an increasing global marketplace, has led to a more cosmopolitan, aware and educated consumer. Asian automotive companies such as Toyota and Mazda have become trusted brands with a loyal following in Australia.

Holden’s Commodore lost 25 per cent of its sales last year, dropping to a record low of 30,000. The Falcon reported a similar drop as the demand for fuel guzzlers slides. Holden has committed to manufacture locally until 2022 but the type of vehicles it will produce remains to be seen.

Top selling vehicle brands, March 2013

Make Units sold Change %
Toyota 18,600 + 1.1
Mazda 9110 - 2.5
Hyundai 8400 + 7.6
Nissan 8320 + 0.2
Holden 8290 - 18
Ford 6430 - 13
Mitsubishi 5150 - 14
Volkswagen 4300 - 4.1
Subaru 4210 + 5.4
Honda 3895 + 7.3

Top selling vehicle models, March 2013

Make Model Units sold
Mazda 3 3785
Toyota Corolla 3510
Toyota HiLux

3125

Hyundai i30 2295
Nissan Navara

2440

Mitsubishi Triton

1995

Toyota Camry 1915
Ford Ranger

1685

Nissan Pulsar

1630

Holden Commodore 1605

* NOTE: industry statistics are not verified by FCAI. Source, News Ltd.

Holden 1970s ad: football, meat pies and Kangaroos

Holden in the 1980s

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