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by Tim Beissmann

Holden has overtaken Toyota into first position for new vehicle sales for the first time in more than six years.

Holden sold 11,115 new vehicles in May, just 71 units clear of Toyota on 11,044.

Toyota Australia has been crippled by low vehicle inventory following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disasters, which continue to affect suppliers and production facilities.

Toyota Australia’s Altona manufacturing plant – which produces the Camry, Hybrid Camry and Aurion models – has been operating at 50 percent capacity since May 9. Deliveries from Japan and Thailand have also been well below their usual levels.

In good news for the local manufacturer, full production at a rate of approximately 9000 vehicles per month will resume from next week, which is likely to help push Toyota back into top spot.

Overall, the Australian automotive industry had another lean month in May.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 77,406 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in May 2011, down a considerable 13.2 percent (11,812 vehicles) compared with May 2010.

Holden was the best selling manufacturer for the first time since March 2005. Hyundai continues to hold of Ford in third position, while Kia jumped ahead of Honda to round out the top 10.

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Holden – 11,115
  2. Toyota – 11,044
  3. Hyundai – 7444
  4. Ford – 6830
  5. Mazda – 5941
  6. Nissan – 5093
  7. Mitsubishi – 4691
  8. Volkswagen – 3625
  9. Subaru – 2454
  10. Kia – 2353

From an individual model perspective, the Holden Commodore was again the top-selling car, with its locally manufactured partner in crime, the Cruze, maintaining third place behind the Toyota HiLux.

Top 10 sales by model:

  1. Holden Commodore – 3504
  2. Toyota HiLux – 3187
  3. Holden Cruze – 2914
  4. Mazda3 – 2797
  5. Hyundai i30 – 2479
  6. Nissan Navara – 1983
  7. Volkswagen Golf – 1864
  8. Hyundai Getz – 1730
  9. Ford Ranger – 1520
  10. Toyota Camry – 1499

The Volkswagen Golf had its strongest sales month in modern history, while the Corolla just slipped out of the top 10 (11th overall) with 1454 sale.

The Ranger became Ford Australia’s top-selling model by displacing the Falcon, which tied for 13th with the Mitsubishi Lancer (1331). The Focus also continues to snap at the Falcon’s heals, with 1141 sales recorded in May.

The Hyundai Getz, which is due to be phased out in Australia in the coming months, will go out with a bang. It dominated the light segment in May with a 17.3 percent share of the market, and so far this year it leads its closest rival, the Mazda2, by 1725 units.

The Holden Cruze topped the small car segment for the first time. Holden sold more than twice as many Cruzes as Toyota sold Corollas in May. The Subaru Impreza was another big loser in May, down 909 units compared with the same month last year (688 vs 1597).

Despite the supply issues, the Toyota Camry still controlled the medium segment. Its next closest rivals were the Ford Mondeo (559), Hyundai i45 (522) and the Mazda6 (425). Sales of those three vehicles combined totalled 1506, just seven units better than the Camry on its own.

The Commodore continues to own the large car segment, claiming a 60.9 percent share of the market in May. Falcon sales were 1927 units below May 2010, which means Falcon sales year-to-date are 45.8 percent down on 2010 (7236 vs 13,349).

In the SUV market, the Hyundai ix35 just pipped the Subaru Forester to win the compact segment sales race (1035 vs 1004).

The Holden Captiva 7 leapfrogged the beleaguered Toyota Kluger and Prado into top spot in the medium SUV category. The Captiva’s 1010 sales put it ahead of the second-placed Mitsubishi Pajero (773), and well clear of the locally produced Ford Territory (480).

For a full data table of May sales, click here.




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