Sports cars fight back

Affordable coupes and convertibles buck passenger-car decline

by DANIEL DEGASPERI

THE SPORTS car market is bucking the trend of declining passenger car sales. Sub-$60K hatchbacks, sedans and wagons – some under $80K depending on the class – declined 6.9 per cent year-to-date comparing August 2016 (281,462 sales) against August 2017 (262,137), while contenders priced beyond those figures fell 7.1 per cent, 42,655 sales down to 39,655. And yet coupes and convertibles in all price brackets are up by 7.9 per cent – 18,093 units climbing to 19,518 in total.

Sub-$80K sports cars soared 11.4 per cent year-on-year to 13,489 sales before the final four months on the calendar, with the Ford Mustang’s 6715 nabbing half the segment’s tally. The Subaru BRZ leapt by 96.3 per cent to 483 – one-third of the BRZ leapt by 96.3 per cent to 483 – one-third of the Toyota 86’s 1227. And the Mazda MX-5 is trumping the Abarth 124 Spider four times over, 1045 plays 243.

Coupes and convertibles at $80K-plus are only up 0.8 per cent, with a 4856 total, led by the Benz C-Class (2071 – up 60.3 per cent), Infiniti Q60 (50 – up 51.5 per cent) and Audi A5 (335 – up 40.8 per cent). Meanwhile the $200K-plus sports cars category is only trending 0.9 per cent higher, with 1173 total volume, and the Rolls-Royce (17, up 41.7 per cent), Benz SL-Class (42 – up 40 per cent) and S-Class (74 – up 37 per cent), McLaren (66 – up 32 per cent) and Aston Martin (95 – up 28.4 per cent) doing enough to offset declines for the BMW i8 (18 – down 30.8 per cent), Benz GT (84 – down 19.2 per cent) and Audi R8 (34 – down 19 per cent).

Yet there isn’t a stampede towards luxury SUVs, with $70K-plus faux-wheel drives down 3.9 per cent in 2017. And like sports cars, cheaper SUV classes are in 2017. And like sports cars, cheaper SUV classes are up 7.2 per cent. The trend is clear: Aussies buying more affordable sports cars and SUVs are propping up total market volume, which is trending 0.6 per cent higher than last year’s record.

Aff ordable sports cars and SUVs are propping up the local market

the HEAT

WINNERS AND LOSERS OF AUGUST 2017

Top ten losers

CAR JUL AUG YTD YTD +/- Hyundai Genesis 12 4 99 -67% Alfa Romeo 4C 4 5 21 -64% Infiniti Q70 1 0 12 -63% BMW 5 Series GT 1 4 24 -59% Audi TT 33 17 366 -59% Merc S-Class Coupe/Conv 8 7 95 -51% Maserati Quattroporte 4 2 24 -47% Audi A8 2 6 22 -46% Infiniti Q50 6 10 117 -46% Chrysler 300 17 27 183 -46%

Top ten movers

CAR JUL AUG YTD YTD +/- Lotus Elise 1 2 16 167% BMW 5 Series 108 59 962 151% Lotus Evora 1 1 77 133% Porsche Panamera 8 14 87 113% Bentley Bentayga 9 3 44 100% Subaru BRZ 62 71 483 97% Merc E-Class 150 130 1387 87% Skoda Superb 108 72 689 83% Ford Mustang 919 748 6715 75% Merc C-Class Coupe/Conv 185 240 2071 60%

Coming Soon 2017

Q4 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish S Audi RS5 Coupe New twin-turbo V6 lands from $156,600 (plus on-roads).

BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo Holden Commodore Arrives with V6 AWD.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Maserati Levante Twin-turbo 3.0L V6.

Merc-AMG GLC63 4.0-litre V8 from C63.

Merc-AMG GT C Steals a few GT R bits.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Packs 500kW!

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 Return of the manual.

Range Rover Velar Blown V6 tops SUV to fit between Evoque and Sport.

VW Arteon 206TSI R-Line Longer and swoopier Passat gets more tech.

Q1/Q2 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 Aston Martin Vantage Audi A8 Audi R8 V10 RWS Limited edition flicks quattro for rear-wheel drive. Yes, please!

Bentley Continental GT First new Conti since 2003.

BMW i8 Roadster BMW M5 AWD, with RWD mode.

Ferrari Portofino Cali T with sex appeal.

Ford Fiesta ST Hyundai i30 N Korean Golf-frightener.

Hyundai Genesis G70 Jaguar XJR 575 Merc-AMG S63 Nissan Juke Nismo Porsche 911 GT3 Touring A GT3 without a wing.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS Porsche Cayenne Third-gen, new engines.

Renault Sport Megane Suzuki Swift Sport