– By Victoria Nelson –
Many years ago a senior executive working for a vehicle manufacturer confided in me that their sales aspirations that year weren’t high because they didn’t have the right product mix. And that until several new models arrived the following year, they wouldn’t be expecting much.
On the surface this position seems negative, though it’s unrealistic to expect to achieve things that are beyond your capabilities.
I remembered this conversation when I saw the VFACTS data for August 2020. The results weren’t fantastic. The market was 42.9% down on August 2019. So far this year, total sales are down 20.4%. The good news story was the success of the Toyota RAV4 hybrid which was the top selling car in August (Almost double its nearest rival). It was the second month in a row for the RAV4.
So the ‘Build it, and they will come theory’ seems to be working with hybrid vehicles. Almost 20 years since Toyota introduced the first Prius hybrid that was popular with Hollywood movie stars, hybrids have become cool to drive as a fleet vehicle or novated lease.
Earlier this year Toyota announced more supply was coming to meet the demand. Some reports said the wait times had blown out to nine months and many buyers were happy to wait after experiencing a test drive.
FAN got to review the hybrid RAV4 and we were so impressed we invented the word RAVtacular. It was truly stunning! The RAV has always been a great vehicle which created the SUV category (with the help of a few other solid performers) back in the 1990s. Though as popular as it was, no one predicted it would become the top selling car in Australia as a hybrid or petrol powered.
Some commentators might suggest COVID has changed the market. Other might highlight that the top dogs, HiLux and Ranger, were in the middle of a model changeover. Regardless of the reasons, the scoreboard will forever reflect the victory.