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2016 car industry Under Achievers

A look at some of the car brands and models that should be doing better…

It’s all cyclical, I get that. There’s a lot of factors involved in getting Australian car buyers to choose a brand or model.

But when I look at the VFACTS data for October 2016 there really seems to be some underachievers.

Some car makes and models that have a lot to offer, but just aren’t cutting through with buyers at the moment.

At the top of the heap is Skoda. What is going on with that brand?

Yes, they have a seven-seat model on the way, it’s called the KODIAQ, but why is everything else in the range so unloved?

The Octavia and Superb (pictured), in particular, are well worth investigating if a medium or large car is required.

With the backing of Volkswagen and a comprehensive range of mostly very impressive vehicles, the October total of 472 sales in Australia seems disappointingly low.

From Poland to France we go and the twin brands - Peugeot and Citroen.

Achieving just 166 and 48 total sales respectively in Australia in October, these numbers aren’t a reflection of the quality of their products.

Vehicles like the Citroen C4 Picasso, Grand C4 Picasso and Peugeot 308 GTI are must-drive propositions in their categories.

Then we have some individual models that fall into the ‘underachievers’ category.

At the top of this list is the Mazda6. Yes, the Toyota Camry dominates the medium-size car market, however this is truly a beautifully refined, good looking and good value car.

That same segment also brings up the South Korean trio – Hyundai i40, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.

All three are brilliant cars, again, they just can’t seem to get a look in against the all powerful Toyota and are all lucky to crack 100 sales per month.

Speaking of Toyota, they make the underachievers list for the Fortuner.

In a market that is buying seven-seat SUVs at break-neck speed, 229 sales last month for a HiLux based SUV with genuine off-road ability and plenty of versatility seems rather small.

While the Ford Everest, albeit dragged down by a hefty price tag, is also below where you might think a Ranger based seven-seater might be positioned.

Ford’s seven-seat 4×4 managed to win over just 188 buyers in October.

Oh, you could also throw the Toyota Prius into the underachievers list too – although low fuel prices are mostly to blame for the hybrid model struggling to average a little more than one sale a day.

The Holden Spark? A Behind the Wheel Car of the Year finalist, the little Holden is a brilliant offering with great tech inside.

Yet the Spark languishes behind the Mitsubishi Mirage and Kia Picanto in the micro-car category.

Another seven-seat option that is flat-lining, but is well worth looking at if you don’t need a huge amount of space, is the Kia Rondo.

Lastly, despite plenty of wraps and new engine options, Suzuki’s Vitara is also running below where we might expect it to be.

Suzuki sold 415 Vitara’s last month, well behind rivals like the Mitsubishi ASX (1,650), Mazda CX-3 (1,176) and Honda HR-V (1,026).

Agree, disagree? Did we leave any cars/manufacturers off the list? We’d love to get your comments below…

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About Joel Helmes 3676 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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