Australians have been facing the tyranny of distance for as long as we’ve been around—geographically separated from the large majority of the world and spread thin across the sunburnt continent, there are certain things we’ve come to understand are simply beyond our reach.
With the (relatively) small size of the automotive market here in Australia and the high costs associated with breaking into it, certain car manufacturers have clearly decided that the lucky country isn’t a viable option for particular vehicles. But that doesn’t stop us from dreaming about what vehicles we’d love to see making their way to the land girt by sea.
For this exercise, we’re overlooking the fact that there will, by virtue of personal imports, be a few examples of these vehicles on Australian roads already. We’re mostly looking at which vehicles we’d love to see in higher quantities having had a dedicated distribution network.
1. A new Australian-made car
Call us old-fashioned, but there’s nothing quite like Australian-made. Sure, you can still find Australian-made cars all around in older models of Ford, Holden and Toyota cars that were manufactured locally. With the much-publicised end of car manufacturing in Australia, gone are the days where you’d be able to purchase a vehicle that had been made right here on Australian shores.
A revival of domestic production, particularly of a new generation of Commodores or Mondeos, would be a welcome breath of fresh air for a market that shows such pride for locally-made cars. Unfortunately, outside of custom builds, it’s unlikely you’ll find anything produced locally for the foreseeable future.
2. Nissan Cube
Covered recently, the Nissan Cube is one of the more unique vehicles you’ll come across (and if you live in a major city there’s a good chance you’ve seen one or two of them already). Its presence on Australian roads is mostly down to its popularity as a grey import, and is in spite of Nissan’s stated unwillingness to bring the cult-hit car to Australia citing a lack of potential for cost recovery.
Despite the clear market interest, the iconic boxy wonder will remain an import-only vehicle, which is a shame, because it means the frequency with which we can make ‘Cubic hair’ jokes is severely diminished. A dark day for all Australians.
3. Crown Vic
You may not be familiar with the name but if you’ve ever watched a car chase scene in an American movie, you’re likely to recognise the shape. Gaining prominence as the iconic American police cruiser and taxi cab during the ‘90s and ‘00s mainly due to its body-on-frame construction—a fact which made it a difficult car to fully write off.
Since being discontinued and leaving active service in both those roles, the Crown Vic has found a new life in the low rider scene. Its long body and wide availability have meant that it’s been perfectly suited to a whole host of modifications, and would have seen some interesting iterations here in Australia.
4. Dodge Challenger
It’s a muscle car that rivals the great Ford Mustang for recognition and does more than rival it in power. Unfortunately, we only have access to the one, as the Challenger comes in left-hand drive only and the costs associated to produce a dedicated right-hand drive version haven’t been justified (as yet) for Australia.
Conversions still happen, but widescale production is still some ways off. Dodge hasn’t had a presence in the Australian market since back in 2012, and even then it wasn’t pushing this icon of muscle. In a comment earlier this year, head of Fiat Chrysler Steve Zanglunghi has said not to rule out a return, so watch this space for updates.
5. Corvette Stingray
We should all be able to agree on one thing: the Vette is one vehicle we’ve sorely missed in Australia. The idea of cruising down the Great Ocean Road in one of these precision sports cars, windows rolled down with the fresh sea breeze flowing through the cockpit is one that’s a little too enticing to push completely from your mind.
While a car of this calibre is typically out of reach for the average driver, the Corvette Stingray is on the lower end of the price scale when it comes to luxury sports cars and so is dream car that’s more or less attainable. Or, it would be if Chevrolet thought there was a market for it here.
What cars out there would you love to see make their way to Australian shores?