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1990 - 2000

Ford Sedan
SE Wagon

At the start of the 1990’s the 3 top car manufacturers in Australia remained the same as the 80’s; Holden, Ford and Toyota. Holden was still in procession of the best selling Australian car, the Commodore. They released several more models in the first few years of the 90’s including the VG Holden Ute, The VN Commodore S wagon and the VP Commodore. The overall Australian market leader by 1991 was surprisingly Toyota with Holden only having a 21 percent share in the market.  Ford however, was trying to capture the sports model market by releasing a GT version of the EB Series Falcon. This was the first time the GT option was offered since 1976. The 1992 special edition was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original 1967 Ford Falcon GT.

The Luxury Market

The 90’s saw the start of the Range Rover, adding comfort to the 4 wheel drive range; surprisingly it was a popular model leading to other manufacturers trying to match the Range Rover. The early years of the 90’s were steal reeling from the falling price of the Aussie dollar and saw many European car manufacturers withdraw car sales. Asian car companies took advantage of this and began to set up sales in Australia. These included Daewoo, Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki and Proton. However, luxury cars were in demand, which led to Holden releasing a new model of the Statesman, the VQ and luxury Caprice. Ford had the Fairlane and manufacturers were shipping from abroad to reach the luxury car market including Jaguar.   

Fords answer to the Commodore was again re-releasing an improved version of the Falcon, the Ford ED Falcon released in 1993. Holden was focusing on safety with the VR Commodore with a drivers airbag supplementary restraint system. The Commodore was yet again setting the benchmark in the ongoing battle with Ford. However Ford released the new EF Falcon in 1994, not only did this version have cup holders but it also had airbags as standard, a first for Australian built cars.  In 1995 the EF had a passenger airbag, capable of protecting the rear middle seat passenger for the first time. Not only were the cars advancing in speed and style, safety was, for the first time, car manufacturers top priorities.

Technology Advances

The technological advancements made in the 90’s paved the way for future car ideas and eventually models being released. The major advancements were mainly in online computers and safety, with ABS and airbags being fitted as standards. Holden improved the safety of their commodore releasing the all new improved VT Commodore in 1997 which was a first for an Australian built car with a stronger body, passing several crash tests. The VT Commodore was not only safe, it was the best selling Commodore to date. On board computers meant that air conditioning, automatic windows and sunroofs were being fitted in both luxury and small cars.  

The Bathurst 1000 was a mixed bag for Holden and Ford in the 1990’s, seeing Holden victorious in the 90’ championships. However in 1991, Nissan entered the Skyline GTR, it dominated for 2 years winning consecutively in 91’ and 92’. However, in 1993 Australian touring cars decided to bring in a new regulation called the V8 Supercars and banning turbocharged 4 wheel drive cars, this ended the Nissan Skylines chance of winning again. 1993 was eventually won by the Holden Commodore, with a further 4 wins, the Commodore won half of the races held that decade. The Ford Falcon won in 94’ (however, won the 98’ V8 super car race against Holden that year). The other races were won by BMW and Volvo.