Rise of the Minnows

Fresh models continue to strengthen against declining traditional favourites

by DANIELDEGASPERI

LAST issue we summarised 2017 as being a year of minnows rising, but sales in January 2018 make that look understated.

Holdenís Commodore was expected to drop as local VF Series II switches to the imported ZB, but Decemberís 2229 haul plunged to just 871 units for the first month of this year. Seemingly without a saviour, the Lion fell 20.4 per cent versus the start of 2017, a year that was to become an all-time low for the brand. VFII even outsold Astra (813) if not the new top-seller in showrooms, the Colorado (1390). But the Blue Oval shifted more than twice as many (3260) Rangers.

Relative bambino, Alfa Romeo, tallied 47 sales of the Giulia to kick off the year, challenging the Audi A4ís 96 units despite a far smaller dealer network.

In the large-sedan segment both Maserati Ghibli (41) and Volvo S90 (26) were up 193 per cent and 271 per cent respectively, thatís against a BMW 5 Series (46) that had been smashing it last year, yet in January tumbled by 42.5 per cent. Before sedans snare too much kudos, however, SUVs again thumped passenger cars to take an early lead. The C-Class also lost its long-held position as the best-selling Mercedes-Benz model to the GLC, 492 sales (down 24.4 per cent) to 471 (up 152 per cent) ... plus another 110 for the GLC Coupe.

Speaking of proper coupes, it seems buyers arenít lusting after Porscheís 718 Cayman (26 units, falling 43.5 per cent) or even the Boxster (11 sales, down 38.9 per cent) Ė though perhaps summer was too warm for drop-tops, given Mazdaís MX-5 slumped 39.1 per cent to 70 sales. And, finally, Ferrari smashed the start of 2018 out of the ballpark, selling almost three times as many Lamborghinis Ė 27 plays 10 Ė and up 108 per cent over the start of 2017. However, Lambo also has Urus to come...

Coming Soon 2018 March-June Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q Giulia QV-based SUV. Aston Martin DB11 Volante Aston Martin Vantage Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Audi R8 V10 RWS Limited edition rear-driver. Yes, please! Bentley Continental GT First all-new Continental since 2003. BMW M3 CS Ferrari Portofino Cali T with sex appeal. Hyundai i30 N Korean Golf-frightener. Hyundai Genesis G70 Hyundaiís Kia Stinger. KTM X-Bow GT Lexus LS Merc-AMG GLC63 Twin-turbo V8 SUV. Mercedes-Benz CLS Porsche 718 Boxster/ Cayman GTS Porsche 911 Carrera T Porsche 911 GT3 Touring A GT3 without a wing. Porsche 911 GT2 RS Rear-drive, 515kW and another íRing record. Porsche Cayenne Range Rover/Sport updates Renault Sport Megane Traditional FWD king will need to be very good. Volkswagen Polo GTI Manual; 2.0-litre turbo. July-December Alpine A110 French Cayman fighter. Audi RS4 BMW 8 Series BMW i8 Roadster Chevrolet Camaro HSV converts to RHD. Ford Fiesta ST Boosted 1.5-litre triple. Ford Mustang Keen to add more stars to its ANCAP rating. Hyundai Veloster Kia Cerato Turbo Lamborghini Urus Off-roading Lambo. McLaren Senna Mercedes-AMG A35 Mercedes-AMG GT sedan Relative bambino Alfa Romeo tallied 47 Giulia sales to rival Audiís A4 (96)