Sweet indeed Comrades to see Australia’s own Holden (do people still believe that crap) lose the best selling car crown to the Mazda 3. According to motoring journalist Pedr Davis you probably have to go back to WW1 to a time when a fully imported car was the best seller, before Australian’s fell under Holden’s spell the Austin A40 was the best selling car post WW2 but it was made (read assembled) in Australia.
It is nice to see the Mazda 3 score this win, but the invective that it launched on the Drive website in comments to the article was interesting. Australians are a parochial lot and when poor old Holden lost that top spot well it was like we had lost the Ashes for a century for some. They predicted the death of Holden and pointed out how great the Commodore was.
The reality is the Australian car industry survives on Govt. handouts and has since successive governments removed tariff protection for the industry. The problem is product development cycles take years to get into place but the market can change rapidly. Cars like the Mazda 3 and the Toyota Corolla (yawn) are now much larger than they were years ago. They offer enough space for many people and now oiffer excellent and economical performance. As such the need for big sixes like the Commodore and the Falcon is on the decline.and while people worry about their carbon footprint these big cars look indulgent, whether they are or not perceptions count.
Holden will ride this out, fleet sales will carry the Commodore forward, but Holden know where the future lie, hence why they are now assembling the Daewoo Cruze here and badging it as a Holden. The Cruze, Corolla and 3 will count for a huge chunk of the market.
But what I couldn’t help notice was the almost racist vitriol for Mazda in some of the comments. The latent racism that lurks in some Australians is indeed disturbing. The fear of the others and the latent dislike for other races comes forward when a sacred cow is challenged. When the Nissan GTR beat the Ford of Dick Johnson at Bathurst the bogans booed and the officials penalised the GTR out in future races. And when the Mazda 3 beat the Commodore that sacred Australian car (spare me bogans) well there was more than enough nasty comments about Mazda, tinged with words that belie a darker view of cars from elsewhere.
The Australian automotive industry is important for manufacturing skills but let us never forget it isn’t ours, those plants are owned by three multi-national companies, two American and one Japanese. They aren’t Australia’s plants. And one day the bean counters at those companies will decide they have had enough and move manufacture to some cheap country. Then what will Australians do when they can no longer cling to Holden like some security blanket?
So the anger directed at Mazda isn’t fair they don’t pretend to be Australian, they are Japanese made and proud of it. We have less to worry about from them than the damage Holden, Ford and Toyota will reap when they pull up stumps and leave. And it won’t be Mazda’s fault cause they made a car people liked. It is the “Australian” trio for not really caring about Australian manufacturing.
To declare bias in this rant, yes I happily contributed to Mazda 3′s sales victory in 2011, twice.