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Corolla blitzes in September!

Red hot: According to separate sources ahead of VFACTS figures, Toyota sold almost 5000 Corollas last month.

Corolla outsells Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore in a 'soft' September

Toyota logo5 Oct 2005

THE Toyota Corolla became the top-selling Australian car last month, eclipsing Australian built large sedans including the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

Separate sources have confirmed to GoAuto ahead of the industry VFACTS figures due out today that Toyota sold almost 5000 Corollas, blitzing the large-car results of Commodore with 4800 sales and Falcon with 3900 sales.

The only other time Corolla came close to Falcon and Commodore sales this year was in June when it managed 5221 sales.

This latest result could be due to a large fleet or government purchase.

Whatever the reason, in a softening sales month for many car brands Toyota outperformed expectations after an ambitious across-the-board sales campaign and a strong fleet push.

In a further blow to Ford and Holden, Toyota’s HiLux 4x2 utility outsold the Falcon and Commodore utes.

The Corolla’s success comes just days after Toyota Australia’s marketing chief, David Buttner, told GoAuto the traditional notion of the country’s most popular vehicles were becoming outdated, particularly in the private buyer segment.

"Anecdotal evidence we’re getting back from the field is that the fleets are beginning to look for alternatives to a big car for a big country," Mr Buttner said.

"Where size used to be the status symbol in the corporate carpark, recent trends suggest that this may not be the case for much longer."His views support the latest VFACTS figures, which are expected to show a severe softening in large-car sales at the hands of high petrol prices and specialist leasing packages.

Apart from the Corolla, other small four-cylinder cars to do well last month were the Holden Astra, which managed about 3000 sales, and the Mazda3, which racked up 2596. The new Ford Focus and ageing Nissan Pulsar achieved around 1000 sales.

Such is the rush to smaller cars that Mazda Australia has revised upwards its 2005 forecast to 67,000, up 7000 on its estimates earlier this year.

Mazda had a record September, selling 4931 vehicles as shipments of Mazda3, Mazda2 and Mazda6 provided a fillip to sales. Even the new MX-5, which went on sale late in the month, managed 90 sales. Mazda’s September result was up 1062 or 27.4 per cent on the same month last year.

Mr Buttner said that although large-car sales were continuing to be sustained by fleets, the market for private buyers had slumped with a shift to medium and small cars.

He said the large-car segment still remained a hugely significant part of the market and a big player in government and rental agency fleet business.

"If you look at year-to-date last year the passenger car market still represented 30 per cent," he said.

"This year it represents 26 per cent – a decline – and that four per cent has gone to the small-car segment. The light and medium segments still represent exactly the same percentages."However, there were signs of a shift and traditional family sedans are suffering from the growth of novated leases, he said.

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.