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Australia 1989: Holden Commodore back on top in ‘Falcadore’ era

1988 Holden Commodore VN

* See the Top 20 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title *

The Australian new car market continues its recovery in 1989: up 16% year-on-year to return above 600.000 annual registrations for the first time since 1985 at 607.499. Ford (+10%) remains the most popular brand in the country at 24.2% share above Toyota at 18.8% (+13%) and Holden at 17.5% (+16%) while other local manufacturers Mitsubishi (+15%) and Nissan (+19%) are catching up a 11.9% and 11.1% share respectively. Mazda (+34%) and Honda (+16%) are the only other brands above 2% share, Hyundai ranks 10th with 6.925 units.

1989 Ford EA Falcon

With the arrival of the VN Series of the Holden Commodore in late 1988, both the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore are now exactly head to head in price and size. This marks the start of over two decades of intense fight between the two models for the title of best-selling car in Australia, commonly known as the ‘Falcadore’ era… After 7 consecutive years of Falcon domination, the Holden Commodore reclaims a pole position it last held in 1981 thanks to 70.831 sales (+23%) vs. 64.281 (-7%) for the Falcon. The changeover happened in March when the Commodore took the monthly lead, and never looked back, edging past the Falcon in the May year-to-date sales charts.

Toyota Lexcen Australia 1989Holden Commodore? No, Toyota Lexcen.

The Mitsubishi Magna, Ford Laser, Toyota Camry and Corolla follow. 1989 is also the year of a new joint-venture between Toyota and Holden, producing odd rebadges such as the Toyota Lexcen (a rebadged Holden Commodore) #10 in December, Holden Apollo (a rebadged Toyota Camry) #12 in November-December, and Holden Nova (a rebadged Toyota Corolla) #16 in November.

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Full Year 1989 Top 20 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

Australia 1989 – brands:

PosBrand1989%/881988%Pos
1Ford147,07624.2%10%134,16025.7%1
2Toyota113,96718.8%13%100,83019.3%2
3Holden106,25217.5%16%91,81917.6%3
4Mitsubishi72,41411.9%15%62,79112.0%4
5Nissan67,43211.1%19%56,87010.9%5
6Mazda20,0473.3%34%14,9562.9%6
7Honda15,7952.6%16%13,6162.6%7
8Daihatsu9,4771.6%n/an/an/an/a
9Subaru9,2951.5%n/an/an/an/a
10Hyundai6,9251.1%n/an/an/an/a
11Suzuki6,3791.1%n/an/an/an/a
12BMW4,8600.8%n/an/an/an/a
13Volvo4,7990.8%n/an/an/an/a
14Mercedes3,9490.7%n/an/an/an/a
15JRA3,7660.6%n/an/an/an/a
16Lada3,0980.5%n/an/an/an/a
17Saab2,4910.4%n/an/an/an/a
18Alfa Romeo7900.1%n/an/an/an/a

Australia 1989 – models:

PosModel1989%/881988%Pos
1Holden Commodore70,83111.7%23%57,64811.0%2
2Ford Falcon64,28110.6%-7%69,38213.3%1
3Mitsubishi Magna36,4236.0%-10%40,5187.8%3
4Ford Laser32,3555.3%15%28,0315.4%5
5Toyota Camry32,3085.3%7%30,2735.8%4
6Toyota Corolla22,1303.6%-6%23,5864.5%6
7Nissan Pulsar17,6982.9%10%16,0393.1%7
8Ford Telstar12,1732.0%n/an/an/an/a
9Nissan Skyline12,0312.0%12%10,7782.1%10
10Nissan Pintara11,5041.9%-1%11,6152.2%9
11Holden Astra (e)9,5501.6%n/an/an/an/a
12Ford Fairlane8,3551.4%n/an/an/an/a
13Mazda 6267,0101.2%n/an/an/an/a
14Hyundai Excel6,8201.1%n/an/an/an/a
15Mitsubishi Colt (e)6,6221.1%n/an/an/a12
16Daihatsu Charade5,9591.0%n/an/an/an/a
17Subaru5,2900.9%n/an/an/an/a
18Honda Civic (e)5,1750.9%n/an/an/an/a
19Honda Prelude (e)4,5300.7%n/an/an/an/a
20Holden Barina4,4190.7%n/an/an/an/a
n/aMazda 3234,0430.7%n/an/an/an/a
n/aMitsubishi Lancer3,7470.6%n/an/an/an/a
n/aHolden Apollo3,2560.5%new00.0%
n/aToyota Lexcen2,9840.5%new00.0%
n/aToyota Seca2,1040.3%new00.0%
n/aFord Capri6430.1%new00.0%

Australia 6 months 1989 – models:

PosModel6m 1989Jun-89Pos
1Holden Commodore30,7506,7791
2Ford Falcon28,7935,6702
3Mitsubishi Magna18,2263,6513
4Ford Laser15,6203,0225
5Toyota Camry15,5113,0674
6Toyota Corolla9,1091,4266
7Nissan Pulsar7,4641,3317
8Nissan Skyline6,17197811
9Ford Telstar6,1191,1178
10Holden Astra5,7151,1109
11Nissan Pintara5,5411,02610
12Ford Fairlane4,06180712
13Mazda 6263,85369213
14Mitsubishi Colt3,67955914
15Hyundai Excel3,35943418
16Daihatsu Charade2,89242919
17Honda Civic2,87147215
18Honda Prelude2,51742920
19Subaru2,37144216
20Toyota Cressida2,33544017

Source: Car Australia, Paxus, VFACTS, Wikipedia, Wheels Magazine. Many thanks to Paul for sharing the 6m 1989 data.

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