Predicting the end of the large passenger vehicle segment

The ending of the dominance of six cylinder large passenger vehicles was not anticipated by the Australian Automotive industry.

Sales peaked in 1998 and declined slowly until 2004.  The decline accelerated from 2005 and sales were down by 39% by 2008.  All four manufacturers had developed new models by this time but the steep decline continued.

Charlie Nelson predicted the ending of the segment’s dominance in Drive (25 January 2002) and the imminent demise of the segment in The Age (7 October 2005)

It was clear to Charlie by 2002 that demographic change was moving against large passenger cars (a large increase in empty nesters and a decrease in fertility).  Rapidly rising fuel prices in the early 2000’s sealed the segment’s fate.

Billions of dollars were invested in new models in the mid-2000’s, including by governments.  This money could have been invested more productively.  Manufacturing of the segment ended between 2008 and 2017. The market leader in this segment, GMH Holden, no longer operates in Australia.