A few months back, if someone asked me what the top ten sellers' list will look like, I might have said that it was going to be pretty similar to the last year's one, some Toyotas, Hondas, plus a Merc or two and some Koreans..
Well since then, the VES now looms, and the models available have also changed. But more importantly, the prices of newly introduced ones threaten to shake up the establishment. Well one big one anyway: The Toyota Harrier.
The mid range SUV choices were going to be either Conti ones from VW, Jap and Thai ones, plus some Koreans, and if you like the Marque, the smaller GLA too.
If you like the Harrier, you had to bring it in yourself, or choose another model. And you only get the 2l NA version, which is by no means fast. Economical perhaps, but it won't give you that spirited drive. For that, you needed to go for the VFM FXT from Subaru. That is one reliable, albeit utilitarian SUV, with a true AWD, and a FC to match. But it was truly cheap, for what it offered, and you will need to be careful of your speed for it can really go.
Now with one fell swop, at 150k or so, the Harrier will make the incoming CRV and CX5 look expensive, and may even be worth a look for those who don't want a Chinese or Malaysian made Volvo XC60. It is also a close relation of the Lexus models, so it does carry some snob appeal and will take sales from the GLA or even X3.
I can't imagine a happier Borneo manager. It now has two sedans: the Corolla and Camry which can take the top ten ranks, And a SUV. Add on sales for the still popular Wish, this is a good year for Toyota.
Just months back, it was retrenching and despite the good sales volumes, people wondered if the ultra conservative designs and the more wild but expensive CHR could sell. Now you have the answer. People who want conservative cars which are simple to run, even if they do not have all the latest gadgets can buy two sedans. The Camry actually looks decent, in an American kind of way. It won't appeal to me with the long nose and low slung body, but it may persuade the non-towkays to give it a shot.
For the family man, the Corolla still reigns supreme and as the sole sedan with no tax burden after the introduction of the VES, it may be Hobson's choice for many, especially since it will now feature more airbags and safety features.
If you have a bit more cash and aspire to a non-sedan form factor, the Harrier is a sweet ride. It won't make the true petrol heads happy perhaps, but it has that bit of dash, panache and feature set to make you part with your money.
If that still doesn't work, there's always Lexus or the electric car options.
What about the rest?
Well with the VES tax looming, there are stocks to be cleared, new models to come in, and the menu of choices will be dramatically different in the coming year. Some models will exit and yet perhaps, some companies with no cars that fit the new emission standards will also fall by the wayside.
But I for one, and betting on a top five finish for Toyota cars, and the top volume retailer for 2017.
All in all, the latter half of 2017 is looking pretty fine for Toyota and Borneo.
I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.