The first thing that is different from the UK is that most Aussies have this dream of either driving round Australia or going up north into the tropics in the winter. All this involves driving on dirt roads in the outback in a 4x4.
So, there is a big market for 4x4s and also for pick-up trucks which are used by trades people for work and family use - so there are four-door pick-up trucks. This means that a huge sector of the market is for 4x4s and pick-ups, many of which are 4x4s.
Toyota realises that this is just a dream and that actually, people drive their 4x4s to go shopping and visit friends in the suburbs, and markets a whole range of 4x4s. Others do as well, but don't have such big ranges as Toyota.
Now for the car market. Last year it amounted to 1.136m, a record, by 2%. Toyota was the top seller with 214,000 units, more than 100,000 more than Holden, which now sells cars built in Korea mostly, except for the Commodore which will not longer be built in Australia after another year or so. Ford has already stopped making the Falcon here. Mazda came third, just ahead of Hyundai with 103,000 sales. Ford is a dismal 5th with 87,000 sales.
Best seller, for the first time was the Corolla, overtaking the Mazda 3 by about 1,400 units - 43,500 to 42,080. Next came the Toyota Hilux (39,000) and the Hyundai i30 (30,0580) and then the Holden Commodore at only 27,000. It used to be the best seller until Toyota came along. Incidentally, while sales were up overall, here in WA they fell 2% over 2012 to 125,000.
Toyota still builds cars here and there is a lot of speculation as to how long it will continue, but my guess is that they will hang in there.
John Hartley, Perth
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