‘Sports’ car sales plummet in October
Sales of dedicated sports cars fell off a cliff last month, with industry database VFACTS recording a 23.6 per cent drop over the same month in 2014.
This statistic is a significant outlier, given sports car sales as a whole are down by a comparatively modest 3.8 per cent for the year so far.
Naturally, the concept of a ‘sports car’ is a slippery one. But for the sake of categorisation, VFACTS limits the segment to hardtops and convertibles with two doors with a performance/aesthetic bent or both.
The biggest area to fall was also the highest-volume one — the sub-$80K segment. Sales here fell 26.2 per cent to 1050 units, led by precipitous falls in the car’s two volume stars.
The top-selling Toyota 86 fell from 330 units last October to 231 this time around, while the Hyundai Veloster dropped by two-third, from 466 to 155 despite a relatively recent update.
Few cars here were up, with other segment staples such as the BMW 2 Series (140 to 109); Audi A3 convertible (116 to 76); Subaru BRZ (75 to 34) and Kia Pro_Cee’d (34 to 28) all dropping compared to the same month last year.
Bucking the trend were the all-new ‘ND’ Mazda MX-5, going from 13 to 90 as a reflection of its much sharper new pricing, while the Nissan 370Z (26 to 31) and Volkswagen Scirocco (19 to 25) showed small growth. Incremental sales came from new-to-segment entrants the Holden Astra Sport (64) and Cascada (71).
Meanwhile, the ritzier Sports > $80K segment also fell, by 22.5 per cent to 430 units.
The drops among the segment luminaries were almost unanimous, led by the top-selling BMW 4 Series (from 186 in October last year to 124 this time); Mercedes-Benz E-Class (125 to 65); and Audi A5 (52 to 36).
Going against the grain was the still brand-new Audi TT which bounced as expected, from 4 to 64 units. The new Lexus RC added 46 units to the segment incrementally, given it wasn’t available this time last year.
It wasn’t all grim news across all segments, either. The high-rollers among us kept on keeping on, given the Sports > $200K segment grew 8.1 per cent in October over the same month in 2014 to 107 sales.
The BMW 6 Series grew from 15 to 21, Aston Martin more than doubled from 7 to 15, as did Maserati from 4 to 10, while the Mercedes-AMG GT (7) and S-Class Coupe (6) added volume alongside the new and incremental BMW i8 (9).
All of this was enough to offset a fall in sales of the annual leader, the Porsche 911, from 23 to 16, a drop in Ferrari sales from 11 to 9 and Lamborghini’s fall from 6 sales in October 2014 to just 1 last month.
As a car enthusiast, does the fall in sports car sales annoy you? Or does the growth in performance-focused but more practical four-door offerings make sense?