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Which are Canberra’s most popular cars?

By Jane Speechley - 12 November 2016 33

Recently, and in the lead-up to the ACT election, I wrote about the cars that are driven by our current and aspiring political leaders.

This led me to wonder – what about the rest of us?

Before reading on, would you like to hazard a guess at the ACT’s most popular vehicles?

There have been a few articles in the past about the most popular cars in Canberra, but none recently. So I got in touch with the ACT Government team to get the latest stats.

As at 1 July 2016, there were 321,028 vehicles registered.

This includes a whopping 161,730 passenger sedans, 70,051 station wagons, and 25,866 light trucks.

Interestingly, we’re currently hauling 27,830 goods trailers around as well. So you should have no trouble finding someone to help you move after all.

As for our most popular vehicles, let’s count down the Top Ten*.

10. Holden Astra
image122765_b
The Holden team have been in Canberra this week for the national launch of the new Astra, so they’ll be pleased to know there are 3,815 of these handy little hatches already zipping their way around Canberra’s streets. And with the brand new model recently named 2016 European Car of the Year, this number is sure to increase.

9. Mitsubishi Lancer
image133226_b
Mitsubishi’s struggles over the past few years are well known, but it’s still a favourite in the ACT. With a history of more than 20 years in Australia, and pitched as ‘for the young and young at heart’, the territory is home to around 4,724 of these.

8. Subaru Forester
image134970_b
Reflecting Canberrans’ infamous love for the outdoors, the Subaru Forester is a popular choice with 4,889 on the road. Most of which are very likely carrying a mountain bike or two on the roof, a dog in the back, and a heap of well-used camping gear scattered throughout.

7. Toyota Hilux
15hilux_66lr
Across Australia, the ute is being tipped as the ‘new family car’, though this is the only one to crack the Top Ten in our region. Favoured by tradies and urban cowboys alike, the Toyota Hilux is on track to become Australia’s top selling car overall in 2016, and there are around 5,302 on our roads.

6. Volkswagon Golf
image142161_b
Take a look around any inner suburban carparks on a Saturday morning and this will come as no surprise to you. A great lifestyle car and widely recognised as a more prestigious option in the hatchback category, the Volkswagen Golf is the car of choice for our reigning Chief Minister, and his is one of 5,662 that are currently registered.

5. Toyota Camry
toy_camry_rz_160520b9101lr
At the end of 2017, Toyota will be the last manufacturing plant to close its doors in Australia and the Camry will be the last model off the line; literally, the last car ever to be made in Australia. Until then, it remains a solid choice for a mid-size family sedan, and with 8,437 on Canberra’s streets, it takes out fifth position.

4. Mazda3
image141909_b
My Dad – the very example of a motoring enthusiast – always said that Mazda never made a bad car, and it looks like a lot of Canberrans agree. We’re currently driving around 9,268 of these bad boys, so it powers into the top half of our Top Ten, ahead of many of its competitors.

3. Toyota Corolla
toy_corolla_zr_150520b3655lr
Taking out the third spot for Toyota, and previously reported as sitting right at the top of the list, Toyota’s versatile and resilient little hatch has slipped down. It still holds a strong position though, with 11,680 examples on the streets.

2. Ford Falcon
image120143_b
If you’re a Ford fan, this will bring a little tear to the eye, as the last ever Falcons rolled off the production line in October (and were subsequently sold to raise more than $300K for charity). Never fear though, because with 11,735 of these registered in Canberra, you’ll be spotting them for a while yet.

And – drum roll please – Canberra’s most popular car is …

1. Holden Commodore
image128215_b
Did you pick it? The popularity of the ubiquitous Commodore spans all demographics. The ACT is definitely the place to hear the lion roar, with 12,746 of these babies in all their forms growling through our suburbs.

What do you think? Do any of these results surprise you?

Note: I had to tweak the data provided by the ACT Government to fix some user-entry errors as well as group together different models of the same type. So the numbers are approximate and may be a little off if I missed a few, but shouldn’t be enough to affect the order.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Which are Canberra’s most popular cars?
1
Ezy 8:07 am
12 Nov 16
#

Besides the Hilux, which I can only guess is popular with the tradies, the two most popular cars are also the least fuel efficient.

2
justin heywood 4:30 pm
12 Nov 16
#

I found it surprising that Falcons and Commodores were top of the list until I realised that it was ALL registrations, not just new registrations. There are a heap of old Commodores and Falcons out there (a heap of heaps?)
I wonder about new purchases? Often seems to me that we have high per capita number of Golfs, Prius’s and Subarus compared to other cities.

3
dungfungus 8:15 am
13 Nov 16
#

justin heywood said :

I found it surprising that Falcons and Commodores were top of the list until I realised that it was ALL registrations, not just new registrations. There are a heap of old Commodores and Falcons out there (a heap of heaps?)
I wonder about new purchases? Often seems to me that we have high per capita number of Golfs, Prius’s and Subarus compared to other cities.

Australian cars like the Falcon and Commodore were made for Australians who are taller than the people that can fit in Golfs, Priuss and Subarus. Add to that list all Japanese cars and most European cars.

The only other recent Australian car that could accommodate a tall person as driver was the Holden Cruze , production of which stopped last month.

I have owned and driven a lot of Commodores and Falcons over 40 years and everyone of them has been 100% reliable (and comfortable).

4
Maya123 11:14 am
13 Nov 16
#

dungfungus said :

justin heywood said :

I found it surprising that Falcons and Commodores were top of the list until I realised that it was ALL registrations, not just new registrations. There are a heap of old Commodores and Falcons out there (a heap of heaps?)
I wonder about new purchases? Often seems to me that we have high per capita number of Golfs, Prius’s and Subarus compared to other cities.

Australian cars like the Falcon and Commodore were made for Australians who are taller than the people that can fit in Golfs, Priuss and Subarus. Add to that list all Japanese cars and most European cars.

The only other recent Australian car that could accommodate a tall person as driver was the Holden Cruze , production of which stopped last month.

I have owned and driven a lot of Commodores and Falcons over 40 years and everyone of them has been 100% reliable (and comfortable).

The average height for an Australian might not be as tall as you think. Many countries have taller populations than us. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average Australian woman is 161.8 cm tall, and the average Australian man is 175.6 cm tall. Add the two together, the average Australian height is about 168.7 cm tall, which is about my height, and as an Australia of about average height I have no problem fitting in Golfs, Priuss and Subarus. So, height alone does not explain why there are so many Falcons and Commodores. 🙂
http://abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4338.0main+features212011-13

5
justin heywood 12:06 pm
13 Nov 16
#

dungfungus said :

I have owned and driven a lot of Commodores and Falcons over 40 years and everyone of them has been 100% reliable (and comfortable).

I’ve owned both types too, and they were big, simple beasts which were relatively unsophisticated, which is a good thing in many parts of Australia. But in Canberra? There are better choices IMO.

dungfungus said :

… the Falcon and Commodore were made for Australians who are taller than the people that can fit in Golfs, Priuss and Subarus. Add to that list all Japanese cars and most European cars.

I don’t know about that Dungers. I have two family members – both 6 footers, who have Prius’s. Quite comfortable cars actually.
And we aren’t tall compared to many European nations. They seem to cope with VW Golfs.

6
Holden Caulfield 12:28 pm
13 Nov 16
#

Ezy said :

Besides the Hilux, which I can only guess is popular with the tradies, the two most popular cars are also the least fuel efficient.

The Hilux is consistently in the top five for best selling models nationwide, and last month was the highest selling model ahead of the Ford Ranger. I don’t get it, either, but it just is.
https://www.fcai.com.au/news/index/index/year/all/month/all/article/468

7
Holden Caulfield 12:32 pm
13 Nov 16
#

justin heywood said :

I found it surprising that Falcons and Commodores were top of the list until I realised that it was ALL registrations, not just new registrations. There are a heap of old Commodores and Falcons out there (a heap of heaps?)
I wonder about new purchases? Often seems to me that we have high per capita number of Golfs, Prius’s and Subarus compared to other cities.

Don’t forget there’d be a lot of middle-senior management getting around in Canberra on government-packages that allow cars where many would either be told to or would opt for Commodores or Falcons.

Fleet sales kept those two models around, and the pointless government marketing exercise of taxes to support them, for a hell of a longer than the market was demanding. They should have been phased out 10 years ago.

8
Holden Caulfield 12:36 pm
13 Nov 16
#

dungfungus said :

The only other recent Australian car that could accommodate a tall person as driver was the Holden Cruze , production of which stopped last month.

LOL. I’d like to hear your definition of Australian car. Because chopping the boot off a South Korean sedan, making a it a hatch and then building it locally, doesn’t really meet my definition. Especially when trying to say it was designed for our market.

It was another failed exercise in trying to keep local manufacturing alive. Points for trying, I guess, but best not to start by meddling with what was a relatively unpopular car to begin with.

9
Acton 1:18 pm
13 Nov 16
#

If Australian cars (smaller and larger) are getting bigger and we are not getting taller, probably it’s because we are getting fatter.

With the obesity epidemic soon all cars will need to have heavy duty shock absorbers and wider seats.

And why do we call it an obesity ‘epidemic’? An epidemic is the rapid spread of an infectious disease to a large number of people.

10
dungfungus 1:34 pm
13 Nov 16
#

Holden Caulfield said :

dungfungus said :

The only other recent Australian car that could accommodate a tall person as driver was the Holden Cruze , production of which stopped last month.

LOL. I’d like to hear your definition of Australian car. Because chopping the boot off a South Korean sedan, making a it a hatch and then building it locally, doesn’t really meet my definition. Especially when trying to say it was designed for our market.

It was another failed exercise in trying to keep local manufacturing alive. Points for trying, I guess, but best not to start by meddling with what was a relatively unpopular car to begin with.

I’m talking about the sedan version, not the hatch. The sedan version was built in both Korea and Australia – it was not a hatch “add-on” as you suggest.

The leg room must have been designed for Australia because few other would be able to reach the pedals with the driver’s seat in full back position.

By the way, I do not post comments for “points”.

11
dungfungus 1:39 pm
13 Nov 16
#

justin heywood said :

dungfungus said :

I have owned and driven a lot of Commodores and Falcons over 40 years and everyone of them has been 100% reliable (and comfortable).

I’ve owned both types too, and they were big, simple beasts which were relatively unsophisticated, which is a good thing in many parts of Australia. But in Canberra? There are better choices IMO.

dungfungus said :

… the Falcon and Commodore were made for Australians who are taller than the people that can fit in Golfs, Priuss and Subarus. Add to that list all Japanese cars and most European cars.

I don’t know about that Dungers. I have two family members – both 6 footers, who have Prius’s. Quite comfortable cars actually.
And we aren’t tall compared to many European nations. They seem to cope with VW Golfs.

It’s not only the “stretch” leg room, it’s also the side areas where knees are always rubbing against door grab handles on the right and useless consoles on the left.

Not everyone is built the same.

12
JC 1:56 pm
13 Nov 16
#

Holden Caulfield said :

justin heywood said :

I found it surprising that Falcons and Commodores were top of the list until I realised that it was ALL registrations, not just new registrations. There are a heap of old Commodores and Falcons out there (a heap of heaps?)
I wonder about new purchases? Often seems to me that we have high per capita number of Golfs, Prius’s and Subarus compared to other cities.

Don’t forget there’d be a lot of middle-senior management getting around in Canberra on government-packages that allow cars where many would either be told to or would opt for Commodores or Falcons.

Fleet sales kept those two models around, and the pointless government marketing exercise of taxes to support them, for a hell of a longer than the market was demanding. They should have been phased out 10 years ago.

Firstly think you will find the only government workers with cars (excluding novated leasing) will be all senior not middle/senior.

Secondly think you will find it has been a good 10+ years now since they were told/encouraged to buy falcons, commodes and camrys. In fact kind of correlates to when those locally made cars started tobooose market share.

These days the SES carparks are full of what you will find in any other carpark around town, including old bombs. The SES can cash out cars and get extra money instead of a vehicle so a lot opt for that rather than a car.

13
John Moulis 4:05 pm
13 Nov 16
#

There seem to be a disproportionate number of utes on the road in Canberra, both the traditional-style Holden type ute and the American pick-up truck style – HiLux, Ford Ranger and Colorado – as well as the flatbeds. Indeed when I went to Sydney recently the thing which struck me was the lack of utes on the road there. I even commented on that to the taxi driver on the way to Bondi Beach.

14
Felix the Cat 6:43 am
14 Nov 16
#

Surprised that except for the Subaru Forester that more SUV/soft-roader vehicles such as Ford territory or Rav4 don’t get a mention. Drive past any school at 9am and there are dozens of them, more than normal sedan type cars.

15
dungfungus 8:09 am
14 Nov 16
#

Felix the Cat said :

Surprised that except for the Subaru Forester that more SUV/soft-roader vehicles such as Ford territory or Rav4 don’t get a mention. Drive past any school at 9am and there are dozens of them, more than normal sedan type cars.

…..the same ones can be seen at kids soccer matches on Saturday mornings.

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