Freedomroo – The small hatchbacks Australians are shunning from Volkswagen Golfs to Honda Jazz and Toyota Prius

Sales of once-popular hatchbacks have dramatically plunged despite a 22 per cent surge in overall Australian new car registrations. But some models that were once popular with motorists really struggled with just 22 Volkswagen Golfs sold last month, a dramatic 98 per cent plunge from the 1,031 that were registered a year earlier

Sales of once-popular hatchbacks have dramatically plunged despite a 22 per cent surge in overall Australian new car registrations.

March was a strong month for car dealers with SUV sales soaring by 32 per cent as ute sales climbed by 28 per cent compared with March 2020, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries revealed on Wednesday.

But some models that were once popular with motorists really struggled with just 22 Volkswagen Golfs sold last month, a dramatic 98 per cent plunge from the 1,031 that were registered a year earlier.

Sales of once-popular hatchbacks have dramatically plunged despite a 22 per cent surge in overall Australian new car registrations. But some models that were once popular with motorists really struggled with just 22 Volkswagen Golfs sold last month, a dramatic 98 per cent plunge from the 1,031 that were registered a year earlier

What’s hot and what’s not?

HOT 

Toyota HiLux: up 50 per cent to 5,319

Toyota LandCruiser: up 66 per cent to 3,392

Mazda CX-5: up 74 per cent to 3,022

Hyundai i30: up 36 per cent to 2,514

NOT

Volkswagen Golf: down 98 per cent to 22

Honda Jazz: down 86 per cent to 36

Toyota Prius: down 64 per cent to 5

Subaru Levorg: down 100 per cent to zero

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data comparing March 2021 with March 2020

The German hatchback, once a bestseller globally, had a minuscule 0.2 per cent share of the Australian small car market, down from 9.3 per cent.

The sharp drop was likely caused by buyers waiting for the arrival of the new Golf later this year, with Volkswagen already taking pre-orders as Covid shutdowns affected supply.

Nonetheless, the Toyota HiLux remained Australia’s bestselling vehicle in early 2020, even as buyers were waiting for an updated model, proving that sales don’t always plunge when a car is in runout mode.

Buyers are also flocking to Volkswagen SUVs instead with sales of the T-Cross climbing to 655, up from just three a year ago.

Volkswagen also sold 163 of the T-Roc, compared with three in March 2020. 

The Golf barely outsold the Toyota Prius with only five exchanged in March, compared with 14 a year earlier.

The more affordable Prius V managed just 15 sales, down from 28.

The smaller Prius C, a discontinued model seen in taxi fleets, had zero sales compared with 13 in March 2020.

This small hybrid was far from the only car notching up zero sales, with the Subaru Levorg achieving this dubious honour, a year after selling just 30.

The discontinued Subaru Liberty managed 11 sales.

The Levorg’s zero sales figure was matched by the Renault Clio, Honda City, the axed Kia Optima, and the discontinued Hyundai Sonata and Accent, which are still listed as dealers clear out stock.

This unloved Subaru was even outsold by the discontinued Ford Mondeo, with one leaving the showroom, putting it on par with the $950,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom. 

It barely outsold the Toyota Prius with only five exchanged in March, compared with 14 a year earlier

It barely outsold the Toyota Prius with only five exchanged in March, compared with 14 a year earlier

Sales of the Honda Jazz also plunged to just 36, down from 258 a year ago with the small hatches market share plummeting to just 0.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent.

The reduced popularity was triggered by the Jazz being a discontinued model. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the Toyota HiLux ute was once again Australia’s bestseller with 5,319 sales, a surge of 49.6 per cent compared with 3,556 a year earlier.

Every car in the top ten posted a dramatic sales increase with Ford Ranger sales climbing by 28 per cent to 3,983.

Toyota LandCruiser sales surged 66 per cent to 3,392 while Mazda CX-5 SUV sales soared by an even more impressive 74.3 per cent to 3,022.

Australia’s most popular small car, the Toyota Corolla, had 2,892 sales, a very modest rise of just 2.8 per cent. 

The Subaru Levorg achieving this dubious honour, a year after selling just 30. The discontinued Subaru Liberty managed 11 sales

The Subaru Levorg achieving this dubious honour, a year after selling just 30. The discontinued Subaru Liberty managed 11 sales

The Hyundai i30, another small hatch, saw its sales rise by 35.5 per cent to 2,514.

In March 2021, 100,005 vehicles were sold in Australia, up 22.4 per cent from 81,690 in March 2020 during the start of the Covid lockdowns.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said new cars sales in March highlighted Australia’s recovery from the Covid recession.

‘This is the strongest March result in two years with private buyers representing the largest proportion of new vehicle purchasers,’ he said.

‘It is possible that the result could have been even stronger if some brands had not been impacted by delivery constraints in global factory supply chains.’

Sales of the Honda Jazz, another discontinued model, also plunged to just 36, down from 258 a year ago with the small hatches market share plummeting to just 0.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent

Sales of the Honda Jazz, another discontinued model, also plunged to just 36, down from 258 a year ago with the small hatches market share plummeting to just 0.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent

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