Market Place

Few winners amongst nervous grinners

Aston shuffle

Aston Martin has marked the opening of its AMR Performance Centre at the Nurburgring with its new DB11 AMR, which displaces the Ďregularí V12 as the DB11 flagship. Tweaks to the 5.2-litre V12 see peak power up 23kW to 470kW and torque stays at 700Nm; 0-100km/h drops 0.4sec to 3.5sec. Remapped adaptive dampers and a modified LSD join tweaks to suspension bushes and the front anti-roll bar to sharpen dynamics without trading ride. The $428K DB11 AMR is due in Oz in Q4.mm

HIGHLIGHTS: There were few winners in a new-car market that finished 0.2% behind 2017ís result Ė this is the third April running to peg a sales decline. Holden recovered from Marchís disastrous 10th place, buoyed slightly by the Barina (269 sales, up 39%) and its SUVs, including the Equinox (see below). Other upward movers included the Mitsubishi Lancer (374, up 49%), Toyota Fortuner (318, up 27%), Porsche 911 (57, up 27%) and Jeep Grand Cherokee (404, up 23%). Among mainstream brands, only Chinese upstart MG built on the previous monthís sales, rising 27% to 180 for the month.

LOWLIGHTS Nissan sales collapsed in April, falling 51% compared with March to post its worst sales performance since October 2005; its usual heavy lifters, the Qashqai (625 sales, down 58%) and X-Trail (1103, down 56%), both significantly weaker. Honda, meanwhile, fell 46% to post its lowest result since April 2016 as Civic (800, down 45%) and CR-V (930, also down 45%) languished. Hurting Suzukiís April tally was a 57% fall in Vitar sales to just 279 units.

WINNER 55% INCREASE INCREASE

HOLDEN EQUINOX The Generalís box-fresh Holden Captiva replacement managed to find 506 buyers in April. However, the Captiva (521 sales, up 15%) still managed to outperform it.

LOSER 48% DECREASE

MERCEDES-BENZ CLA-CLASS The booted version of the A-Class (206 sales) led a showroom-wide softening for the leading luxury brandís small passenger car and SUV range.

HIGHER STANDING

TOP 20

NISSAN X-TRAIL

It was a hard month of graft for Nissanís usually competitive X-Trail, coming in the wake of a strong March finish to the Japanese financial year for the midsize SUV. The only year the X-Trail hasnít experienced a sharp April sales slump in the last decade is 2014.

TOTAL SALES

KIA

That other Korean brandís rise up the charts in April was so rapid it probably suffered a nosebleed. Kia is already 10.5 percent ahead of where it was compared with the first four months of last year, and is now within a quiet cooee of hauling in, and overtaking, a nervous Holden.