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Old 03-06-2003, 10:30   #1 (permalink)
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Ford closing the gap on Holden

The Courier- Mail
By Mike Duffy
06mar03

HOLDEN Commodore's seven year reign as Australia's best-selling car is under seige from Ford's new BA Falcon.

Falcon got within 336 units of its old foe during February - after being outsold convincingly every year since 1995.

Holden recorded 6338 Commodore sales to Ford's 6002 Falcon deliveries in February.

And if utilities are included, Falcon actually won the month by 65 cars.

It was the narrowest gap between the two big cars in a single month since June, 1999 - reflecting the popularity of the new Falcon.

The last time Falcon beat Commodore in a full year was in 1995.

Falcon's last monthly success over Commodore was in October 1996.

The release of the official registrations was a cause for celebration at Ford Australia's Broadmeadows headquarters.

Marketing and sales vice president Bruce McDonald said: "Customers are liking what they see and are flocking to dealerships around the country.

"Our February sales figure was up 1813 units on last year, which represents a 43 per cent increase on February 2002.

"It was also another record month for XR sales. With XR8 now in the mix, sales jumped up to 1173 units for the month, up a staggering 132 per cent on last year ... We are looking forward to an exciting 2003."

Toyota edged out Holden by 524 sales during February to take a year-to-date lead of 206 vehicles - setting up a battle royal for the remainder of the year for the title of No.1 car supplier.

Sales of cars and commercials rose to an all-time high in February - following a record January.

The continuing boom in vehicle sales has prompted the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to forecast a record 825,000 sales this year - 691 more than the record set last year.

Official VFACTS figures released yesterday by the FCAI showed 66,735 new vehicles were delivered in February - three per cent more than the record established in February last year.

Year-to-date sales for January and February also hit an all-time high of 127,905.

FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock said the unprecedented demand for key models had spurred the strong retail activity.

"Despite recently negative business confidence data, the economic environment and the mood of consumers were right in February," he said.

Toyota was the top selling brand in February with 13,275 sales for 19.9 per cent of the total market.

Holden was second on 12,751 for 19.1 per cent followed by Ford on 10,165 (15.2 per cent) and Mitsubishi on 5,173 (7.8 per cent).

Mazda is Australia's top-selling sole importer, posting its best-ever sales result last month.
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