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Forget the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux: These are Australia's least-favourite cars

The Discovery Sport experienced stock issues in 2023, resulting in very low sales.

Ford celebrated the Ranger becoming the best-selling vehicle in Australia in 2023 and the Toyota HiLux raced up behind it - but what happened at the other end of the sales charts? What were our least-favourite models last year?

Well, we’ve scoured the sales data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and found the cars that struggled to attract attention. We set ourselves a few criteria, mainly that the car must still be on sale, not discontinued like the Mitsubishi Pajero that still managed two sales despite officially appearing years ago. We also discounted the exotic end of the market, cars priced above $200,000 and low-volume sports cars that are typically in limited supply. Instead, we looked at the key volume segments of the market and found the cars that had struggled to find a buying audience. 

It’s also important to note that this isn’t a list of the ‘worst’ cars in Australia, in fact the list consists largely of impressive offerings, but rather a simple reflection on their sales performance.

Citroen C5 Aircross - 41 sales

The C5 Aircross sales accounr for just a 0.02 per cent share of the ‘Medium SUV sales under $60,000’ segment. The C5 Aircross sales accounr for just a 0.02 per cent share of the ‘Medium SUV sales under $60,000’ segment.

It’s fair to say Australians haven’t been won over by the latest generation of Citroen models, with the French brand only finding 228 buyers in 2023 and actually being outsold by both Lamborghini (241) and Bentley (229).

The C5 Aircross is the brand’s entrant into the biggest segment of the market - medium-sized SUVs - which explains its struggles. Up against the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander and Mazda CX-5 it was always facing an uphill battle. 

Still, just 41 sales is incredibly low, so low that it accounts for just a 0.02 per cent share of the ‘Medium SUV sales under $60,000’ segment, meaning it officially didn’t register as having any market share in the sale data, as it’s rounded to a single decimal point.

Citroen C3 - 69 sales 

The C3's 69 sales represented just a 2.3 per cent share of the light cars over $30,000 segment. The C3's 69 sales represented just a 2.3 per cent share of the light cars over $30,000 segment.

Not to pick on Citroen, but the numbers don’t lie. At least in the case of the C3 it’s competing in a very small sector of the market - light cars over $30,000. Still, its 69 sales represented just a 2.3 per cent share of the segment.

But the little Frenchie just couldn’t compete with the more popular Mini (2011 sales), Audi A1 (462) and Skoda Fabia (433), leaving it at the bottom of the sales tally. 

LDV eT60 - 79 sales

LDV’s ground-breaking eT60 costs more than $90,000. (Image: Tom White) LDV’s ground-breaking eT60 costs more than $90,000. (Image: Tom White)

Who wants an electric ute? Not many Australians, according to the sales figures. At least not LDV’s ground-breaking eT60 4x2, which found just 79 buyers last year. Which isn’t entirely surprising when you consider it costs more than $90,000 and comes with a limited driving range, limited payload and towing capacity and isn’t available with four-wheel drive.

In LDV’s defence, they never expected it to sell in big numbers given those limitations, so this is more about making a statement and laying the groundwork for the future, rather than a serious bid to make a mark on the sales charts.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio - 167 sales

The Stelvio SUV sales claim just 0.3 per cent share of the premium mid-size SUV market. The Stelvio SUV sales claim just 0.3 per cent share of the premium mid-size SUV market.

Alfa Romeo’s planned renaissance hasn’t quite gone to plan. Instead of returning to be a thorn in the side of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, it’s instead going largely overlooked. The Stelvio SUV found only 167 new buyers in 2023, claiming just 0.3 per cent share of the premium mid-size SUV market.

In contrast, the Stelvio’s German rivals managed to do comparatively huge volumes; Audi sold 4210 Q5s, BMW moved 4002 X3s and Mercedes sold 3631 GLC-Class SUVs. And if you’re thinking - ‘well it’s hard for brand’s to beat the established German trio’ - Tesla sold more than 28,000 Model Ys and Lexus was the next best-selling medium premium SUV, selling 6875 examples of its NX.

The Stelvio’s sedan sibling, the Giulia, also struggled as both now age, managing only 184 sales. Fortunately the newer Tonale compact SUV propped up the brand, selling 365 examples, but Alfa's bid to reinvent itself as an all-electric car maker has a lot of pressure riding on it.

Land Rover Discovery Sport - 176 sales

Due to constraints in the supply chain, Land Rover Australia managed to deliver only 176 units of the mid-size luxury SUV. Due to constraints in the supply chain, Land Rover Australia managed to deliver only 176 units of the mid-size luxury SUV.

Perhaps the first surprise on this list, Land Rover’s once-popular Discovery Sport suffered a tough year in 2023. Hurt by supply limitations, Land Rover Australia only delivered 176 examples of the mid-size luxury SUV, allowing it to squeak in ahead of the Stelvio.

It’s believed supply was constrained because the Disco Sport is built in the same factory as the Range Rover Evoque, which received a major facelift and therefore was likely prioritised over the ageing Land Rover.

Peugeot 5008 - 184 sales

The Peugeot 5008 experienced limited sales, likely attributed to its pricing, with only 184 units sold. The Peugeot 5008 experienced limited sales, likely attributed to its pricing, with only 184 units sold.

Our list ends with another French car, but one that really deserves more love. This mid-size SUV has seating for seven, drives nicely and has a unique style and quality presentation; enough to have earned praise from our reviewers.

The problem is arguably the price, with the 5008 priced from more than $65k, putting it into something of an awkward middle ground between the mainstream and premium competition. It’s priced well above its Asian alternatives, such as the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander, as well as its European rivals like the Volkswagen Tiguan.