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Gold, gold, gold!

Game on: Part of Toyota's Games fleet (above) and Mitsubishi's 380 (below).

Australian Commonwealth Games exposure benefits Toyota sales in March

5 Apr 2006

TOYOTA Australia has amassed an impressive gold medal tally of March sales on the back of its Commonwealth Games exposure.

As supplier of official vehicles, the resulting Games boost is expected to show that Toyota is cementing its lead in year-to-date sales terms, according to the latest Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS figures due out today.

The Melbourne-base car-maker was an official partner in the Games, donating 1500 vehicles, among them people-movers, sedans and vans.

The sponsorship garnered the manufacturer incalculable worldwide and Australian exposure for its products and helped it secure number-one sales spot for the month.

GoAuto has learnt that VFACTS will show that more than 3000 HiLuxes, around 1400 RAV4s and more than 400 Taragos were sold last month, many pressed into service for the Games. Dealers are also reporting strong private buyer interest in the petrol/electric Prius hybrid. More than 150 are believed to have been sold last month.

106 center imageOne of the improvers last month, albeit slow, was the crucial Mitsubishi 380, with sales going from 1011 to almost 1200 thanks to a $29,990 LE model and increasing exposure for the car.

Two strong winners were the perennial solid performers of Mazda and Subaru, which continue to post strong across-the-board figures. Subaru is believed to have managed close to 4000 sales, with its Outback "duo-tone" model and other special editions receiving favourable feedback.

Apart from Outback, the Impreza, Forester and Liberty models all recorded strong March results. Subaru sales this year are up more than 14 per cent compared to last year.

Of the small-car brigade, the Toyota Corolla, the Mazda3 and the Holden Astra and Viva continue to dominate the small-car sector. More than 3500 Corollas found buyers with the Mazda3 also blitzing with a 2500-plus market.

Honda’s new Civic sedan continues to gain ground, with more than 700 sold last month. Nissan’s Tiida improved with more than 900 sales, up from its February figure of 708 while the X-Trail managed about 700 sales. Despite the X-Trail’s run, Nissan’s overall slow start to the year must be cause for concern, with sales off more than 11 per cent.

In the large-car segment, the ageing Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon sales continue to dominate but are losing momentum because of petrol prices and ageing models. Both hovered around the 5000-sales point last month.

Commodore sales are believed to be off more than 24 per cent and Falcon more than six per cent compared to last year. Ford’s strongpoint remains the Territory, which continues its domination of the SUV segment with more than 1800 sales last month while its light/small car duo of Fiesta and Focus are building momentum.

Holden’s light- and small-car range also balanced out the drop in Commodore sales with more than 1200 Barinas sold. By comparison, Toyota’s newly released Yaris hatch and sedan sold more than 2000 between them.

Mazda Australia has maintained the sales momentum built up in January and February, with an expected figure of more than 5000 cars sold last month.

In the large luxury segment over $80,000, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-class continue to dominate.

The FCAI’s forecast remains at 980,000 vehicles for 2006.

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