The cars defying 2019’s slow start

- Louis Cordony

TWO MONTHS INTO 2019, while year-to-date (YTD) sales have been embarrassingly slow for some brands, there are a few survivors who have beaten the market’s malaise and either maintained or improved sales.

BMW, for instance, has more than doubled its YTD for its 5 Series this month. As the only car to do so in its ‘large over $70K’ segment, it helped the category (comprising other models like the Lexus GS, Maserati Ghibli, Jaguar XF and Volvo S90) beat its 2018 monthly result.

Interestingly, among its peers, Mercedes-Benz E-Class was only slightly down compared to last year’s YTD figure, from 271 to 254, but exactly matched 5 Series sales. Audi’s A7 was up, too, increasing from 13 units last year to 23 now. It was only launched at the end of last year, so it seems the market’s slump has weakened the appeal of its novelty. But the Big Three hold steady in this segment, at least.

There were some small wins in other sedan, coupe and sportscar segments. Chrysler’s ageing 300 sold 50 units, compared to 51 last year, while Bentley’s Continental, Lotus’s Exige and Jaguar’s F-Type join the outliers in improving their February YTD result.

The three British manufacturers can pin the sales surges on new arrivals. The third-generation Continental GT and Convertible have finally found local soil, Jaguar’s F-Type reloads on an MY19 specification and Lotus now welcomes its hardcore Exige Sport 410 to our shores.

Ferrari, too, has beaten the slump to sell more coupes and convertibles than it did last year as its newly updated Portofino, Lusso T and 488 Pista now gain traction. It built upon last February’s YTD by selling 48 this year, instead of 43 last year, beating Lambo, Aston and McLaren.

- Louis Cordony




Ferrari’s surge can be partly explained by its influx of hot, new metal like the recently updated Portofino convertible and Lusso T shooting brake. The Prancing Horse sold 23 units in total for February alone, eight more than February 2018.




Although the Lamborghini Urus has done its job and improved YTD sales by 7 per cent, traditional stock moved slow in February. Coupes and convertibles only made up less than half its monthly and YTD figures. By selling eight so far in 2019, Aussies bought more than double that in 2018.