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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian automotive industry hit a high point in August, with sales of new vehicles eclipsing those of the same month in the previous year for the first time in 2011.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 88,082 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in August 2011, up 7.3 percent (5960 vehicles) compared with July 2010.

The last time monthly sales figures bettered the same month from the previous year was in November 2010, when sales were 1.8 per cent ahead of November 2009.

A massive month for Mazda has seen the Mazda3 streak ahead of the Holden Commodore to again take the lead as the country’s most popular new car. Mazda – spurred on by its ‘M Day’ sales promotion – sold 2154 more vehicles in August than in July, helping it overtake Ford into third position overall.

Toyota solidified its position as the top-selling brand, with vehicle supply normalising after the earthquake and tsunami disaster from earlier in the year.

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Toyota – 15,885
  2. Holden – 11,534
  3. Mazda – 9138
  4. Ford – 8341
  5. Hyundai – 7417
  6. Nissan – 5587
  7. Mitsubishi – 4851
  8. Volkswagen – 3813
  9. Subaru – 2704
  10. Kia – 2102

Kia also made a big move into the top 10, replacing Honda. The Japanese brand slipped to 11th overall and is under threat from Suzuki to hold that position (2035 vs 1966).

As mentioned earlier, the Mazda3 turned an 81-vehicle deficit into a 471-vehicle lead over the Commodore after eight months of the year. The Mazda3 outsold the Commodore by 552 units, and – like the smaller Mazda2 – achieved an all-time monthly sales record in the process.

Top 10 sales by model:

  1. Mazda3 – 4234
  2. Holden Commodore – 3682
  3. Holden Cruze – 3234
  4. Toyota Corolla – 3100
  5. Toyota HiLux – 2823
  6. Hyundai i30 – 2418
  7. Mazda2 – 1966
  8. Ford Falcon – 1665
  9. Ford Territory – 1625
  10. Toyota Camry – 1607

The Australian-made Cruze again finished just short of the larger Commodore, while the Corolla and Camry rebounded strongly and the Falcon and Territory again filled the lower rungs of the top 10.

The Mazda2 was the clear favourite in the light car class and stretched its lead over the second-ranked Toyota Yaris (1599 sales in August) to almost 1500 units for the year (12,102 vs 10,508).

The big mover in the segment was the Hyundai i20, which jumped to third position with 1163 sales and a 10.6 per cent share, picking up plenty of the market vacated by the discontinued Getz.

The usual suspects did the damage in the small segment, with Mazda3, Cruze, Corolla and i30 making up a whopping 61.5 per cent of the total small car market. The Mitsubishi Lancer (1486), Ford Focus (1177) and Volkswagen Golf (1082) were the best of the rest.

The Camry continued its dominance of the medium segment. The Ford Mondeo followed with 615 sales, meaning the mid-sized Ford is now up 42.9 per cent year-to-date. Also enjoying a strong month was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which finished third in the segment ahead of cheaper competitors like the Mazda6 and Honda Accord Euro.

The Toyota Aurion enjoyed one of its best months for the year (848 units in August, 5899 year-to-date).

The Ford Territory was again the top-selling SUV, dominating the medium segment ahead of the Toyota Prado (937) and the Holden Captiva 7 (901).

The Nissan X-Trail (1342) narrowly took the honours over the Subaru Forester (1289) in the compact SUV segment, while the Toyota RAV4 (1091) and the Mazda CX-7 (1089) also enjoyed strong months.

The Commodore-based Ute pipped the HiLux in the 4×2 pick-up segment (987 vs 943), while in the 4×4 segment, it was the HiLux that scored a strong win over the Nissan Navara (1880 vs 1445).




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