04 July 2009 - 09:00
Crisis, What Crisis?
Although conspiracy theorists will tell you that the global financial crisis is tightening its grip on the already broken balls of society, it seems that things are still sunny for the motoring sector in Australia, which has just posted a damn-near record month.
Just a few weeks ago we ran a story on the plight of cash-strapped execs and corporate cronies who were forced to say goodbye to their toys as auction house Pickles held one of their regular repossessed luxury and exotic car auctions in Sydney. Boo-hoo, we thought. At least these cars finally had a chance to go to someone a little more deserving; rather than been broken into a million pieces when their owner decides to let the hot blonde hold the wheel whilst trying to open a bottle of Moet on a coke bender.
But I digress. It turns out that June of this year has been the third best ever for new vehicle sales, only 3.5 per cent below the record set last June. No surprise that light commercial vehicles were the real winners, with business sales up 26.9 per cent for the month and up 15.5 per cent far sales overall. But the gains were not just had there; passenger vehicles and SUVs were also up in the business sector.
The official data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 102,847 new vehicles were sold in Oz in June. Contrast this against the rest of the world and it's quite a promising figure for the car buying public in Australia. In June, sales in the US fell by 27.7 per cent, Japan by 14.5 per cent and even Europe experiencing a 4.5 per cent drop. Europe's drop in sales is most surprising, given the scrappage programs many European countries have adopted to stimulate vehicle sales.
Whilst it's good news all round for the Australian motoring sector, and for K-Rudd's small business tax-break, we can't help but wonder what will happen to the production of some of our favourite cars from overseas as the demand for them locally dries up. It probably isn't going to break our hearts to see less crap American cars, but Japan and Europe are different stories. Both BMW and Lexus have experienced a drop in sales in June, falling 13.9 and a staggering 38.2 per cent respectively; with these figures echoing year to date sales for both manufacturers, who have also seen drops in their overall sales.
But with the recent culling of once-protected species of multinational mongrels; who will stimulate demand? Thankfully despite BMW and Lexus' woes Audi is still enjoying profitability; clocking up a sales increase last month with a whopping 23.4 per cent over last year. Although impressive, Volvo was the big winner in June, posting the best month on record with a June increase of 27.5 percent. To give you an indication of how stellar this performance is- Volvo hasn't had sales that good since local assembly ceased for the company in the ‘80s, up 23 per cent from the last record. Most interesting about this figure, however, is the fact that none of Volvo's sales were company cars. We think this may have something to do with the XC60 which outsold its competitors the Q5 and the X3 with 175 of the reasonably newcomer sold in June. And as for everybody else? Hopefully the now expensive tastes of our recent shared lotto winners will provide a steady line of luxury cars and caviar on special order making their way to our shores whilst the market continues to recover; and if not, there's still a few cashed-up idiots left out there waiting to write off their rides.
By Kurt McGuiness