The overall Aussie car market was up 8.3% in the first three quarters of 2007, but some more exotic (read expensive) brands are doing a lot better than that. Figures from the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries show that in the nine months to the end of September some tasty but expensive marques were in high demand.

For example, sales of Aston Martins (James Packer fav) were up 37.5%. Admittedly the actual numbers are not huge; we’re talking about a rise from 96 units in the first six months of 2006 to 132 this year, but it’s a juicy business for the importer.

Bentleys, a better class of Roller for some even if there’s a more Germanic touch these days, is another super luxury brand in great demand. Sales were up 34.5% (84 units to 113). Solly Lew loves the turbo model and could buy a gross or two with his profits from Coles, courtesy of Wesfarmers.

Rolls Royce sales also rose 37.5% (from 8 to 11) but the star seems to have been the Lotus, its sales jumped 109% (31 units to 65). And Ferraris, the traditional mark of the newly made rich male, saw sales rise 36% to 110 units (up from 81).

Its Italian rival, Maserati, is lagging with sales only up 8% (93 units to 101), while Lamborghini is doing well: sales are up from 29 to 35, a modest rise of 20%.

It seems Jags don’t cut the mustard any more, with sales down 18%, but Porsche sales are up 13% (982 units to 1,118). Nice going for the entry level marque for investment bankers and brokers.

Audi sales were up 39%, compared to just an 8.3% rise for BMW and Mercedes, which has had a bad year with sales up just 4.8%. Mercs still outsell both Beemers and Audis, but the growth is with the upmarket VW.

And sales of Veedub’s downmarket models continue to boom here: up more than 30%, with diesel model Golfs a big seller. And for those with a green conscience, sales of hybrid (mainly the Toyota model) are up 76% for private passenger vehicles and 100% for non-private passenger vehicles.

Now the latter would be pollies, many of whom chose to drive green in this election year, but Sydney’s Energy Australia, the biggest electricity distributor in NSW, is also equipping its fleet with hybrids.

Peter Fray

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