Model rush for dealers

AUSTRALIA’S three car manufacturers are all lining up to release new versions of their star vehicles to the showrooms this month.

Normally the release dates are spread months apart and this has caused a marketing nightmare for the manufacturers.

An itchy Ford decided to gain a jump on its competitors, revealing its BA or Barra Falcon series to the public more than a month before it was to hit the caryards.

Toyota also uncovered its new fifth generation 380N Camry more than one month ago.

Holden, however, held out until this week to release its new-look VY Commodore.

For the purchasers, it is proving a good time to buy, given the wide choice and the discount sales that are being offered on superseded stock.

However, sales figures suggest that unlike previous model releases, when buyers grabbed sale bargains, the discount-selling period has remained subdued.

Australian Automotive Intelligence director Richard Johns said this was unlikely to translate into strong sales once the models had all been released.

Mr Johns said he believed economic factors were playing a greater role in the new vehicle purchasing cycle.

‘One of the main reasons for that [slow sales] appears to be that the large fleet buyers have not responded to the introduction of GST input credit on their vehicles,” he said.

“To a lesser degree buyers waiting for the new models has also had an impact on the market. But that impact is likely to be marginal.

“I think the new models will provide a bit of stimulus.”

While economic factors, such as the collapse of Ansett, has caused some belt tightening, Mr Johns said this would not be the only factor affecting new car sales.

The growth in all-terrain and luxury vehicles sales appears to be picking up some of the slack in terms of value bought, if not volume of sales.

Given that the sales outlook appears less than flattering, according to industry observers, the worth of the estimated $1 billion spent by the three car manufactures, including around $500 million said to have been spent by Ford, is being questioned.

Mr Johns said that unlike in times past, updating models was an important part of trying to maintain market share.

“They’ve all got to do it to keep the model alive. At the very least they have to protect their market,” he said.

“In earlier times, we saw situations were models virtually stood still and never changed.”

“With the XD Falcon, (Manufactured between 1979-86), Ford managed to make money in spite of themselves partly because Holden was performing poorly as well.

“They couldn’t get away with that nowadays.”

In the year ending August 31, 120,897 large vehicles, including the Camry, Falcon and Commodore were sold. This is down around 4,000 sales from the previous corresponding period.

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