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The customer is king at the show

"Private buyers are confident and they are spending on the second-biggest purchase after their house."

Despite tasty hero cars led by the F-Type Jaguar and Aston Martin One-77, it's the real world cars that are of most interest.

The return of the Nissan Pulsar, the unveiling of the Toyota Corolla and the first Sydney appearance of the Mazda6 and Mitsubishi Mirage are all proof that ordinary customers now rule the roost. As car sales track strongly towards an all-time record, it's real people spending their own money who are the real target for carmakers.

"If you get the product right, everything else follows," the top Aussie at Toyota Australia, Dave Buttner, tells Carsguide. "All the growth in sales this year is with private buyers, as government departments have been winding back and fleet sales are also down. Private buyers are confident and they are spending on the second-biggest purchase after their house."

Nissan confirmed its commitment to the new-age PUlsar with a $19,990 starting price and a SSS under lights. "Pulsar is back and we have big plans," Bill Peffer, managing director of Nissan Australia, tells Carsguide.

For Mazda, the new 6 is its first all-new arrival since the GFC and a pointer to the replacement for the top selling Mazda3. "You can see now where we're going," Doug Dickson, MD of Mazda Australia, says. And the baby Mirage? "It's something new for us, and it's going to bring a lot of people to the brand. I reckon we'll sell heaps," Mitsubishi marketing chief Paul Unerkov laughs.