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Toyota Land Cruiser, Mazda CX-3, Kia Stinger and other cars that avoided the pitfalls of 2020

Toyota managed to sell even more LandCruisers last year than in 2019, despite the overall new-car market dropping.

It’s been well-documented that 2020 was a tough year for the Australian car industry, with sales dropping by 13.7 per cent amid the Coronavirus-induced restrictions around the country. All makes and models were hit by the same circumstances, but not all fared equally.

While some cars felt the impact of last year acutely, others managed to emerge unscathed – or even ahead of their 2019 performance.

For the most part, the models that performed well were new, enjoying the initial boost that fresh design brings to any showroom. But it wasn’t just new cars that did well.

We’ve scoured the 2020 sales results and found five examples of cars that weren’t new in 2020 but still managed to enjoy a year with almost unchanged sales performance. It seems for some cars their appeal doesn’t change regardless of circumstances.

Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series

2019 sales: 13,802

2020 sales: 15,078

Not only did the 200 Series enjoy no major upgrades for 2020, but as we’ve reported many times, the new 300 Series is looming sometime in 2021. Typically, a model’s popularity wanes in its final year on sale, but not the LandCruiser.

Remarkably it actually outperformed its 2019 sales numbers, despite the restrictions in sales brought on by the various COVID-19 lockdowns around the country.

The LandCruiser sales jumped 9.2 per cent in 2020, which would be good any year but is especially noteworthy in an annus horribilis.

Ford Ranger 4x4

2019 sales: 37,004

2020 sales: 37,889

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the steady performance of the Ford Ranger 4x4. The Blue Oval’s leader once again accounted for the lion’s share of its sales, but it proved remarkably consistent in 2020.

Despite all the challenges of last year, the company and its dealers sold 885 more Ranger 4x4 (a 2.4 per cent increase) units to prove that no matter what happens in the world, Ford can rely on its ute to find an audience.

However, as mentioned earlier, models tend to suffer a decline in their final year on sale so, with a new Ranger reportedly due in 2022, it will be interesting to see how it fares this year.

Mazda CX-3

2019 sales: 14,813

2020 sales: 13,953

Amid all of the talk around the decline of the Mazda3, the Japanese brand has been successfully adding compact SUV sales to help make up the difference. The biggest winner of 2020 was the CX-30, which added nearly 9000 sales to the brand’s tally… but it was a new model.

Which makes the performance of the smaller CX-3 just as impressive. Now in its sixth year on sale, the CX-3 continues to perform strongly for Mazda.

Yes, it suffered a 5.8 per cent drop in 2020, but when you factor in the overall market decline, the age of the little machine and the fact it dominates the light SUV segment, it demonstrates the popularity of the CX-3 is no fluke.

Kia Stinger

2019 sales: 1773

2020 sales: 1778

Kia had high hopes for the Stinger when it first arrived, theoretically primed to cash in on the demise of the locally-made Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. It even went so far as to compare it with European models, including the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, but it never found a big audience.

What it did find, however, was a loyal following, as demonstrated by its almost identical number of sales in 2019 and 2020. Kia even managed to sell five additional Stingers last year, which is impressive not only because of the Coronavirus issues, but the announcement that a new model is arriving in early 2021.

Kia’s situation has undoubtedly been helped by several police forces around the country opting for the rear-wheel-drive sedan as their new pursuit vehicle - which will have helped secure steady fleet orders.

Porsche Macan

2019 sales: 2009

2020 sales: 2158

The German sports SUV is the newest arrival on our list, having hit Australia at the start of 2019. It’s performance in 2020, where it managed to add 7.4 per cent sales in the face of the year’s challenges, is not quite as impressive as the older models listed here. But it’s still a great result for the brand showing the loyal market it has attracted for its luxurious but high-performance high-riders.

In fact, 2020 was a good year for Porsche overall in the local market, increasing sales by 2.0 per cent and also managing to sell more 718 Cayman models too. Trends that went against the luxury market in general.

Stephen Ottley
Contributing Journalist
Steve has been obsessed with all things automotive for as long as he can remember. Literally, his earliest memory is of a car. Having amassed an enviable Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection as a kid he moved into the world of real cars with an Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Despite that questionable history he carved a successful career for himself, firstly covering motorsport for Auto Action magazine before eventually moving into the automotive publishing world with CarsGuide in 2008. Since then he's worked for every major outlet, having work published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age,, Street Machine, V8X and F1 Racing. These days he still loves cars as much as he did as a kid and has an Alfa Romeo Alfasud in the garage (but not the same one as before... that's a long story).
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