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by Tim Beissmann

The Holden Commodore has fallen to its lowest ranking in recent history, slipping to fifth place for total Australian sales in October.

The official sales data compounds a tumultuous week for the Commodore, in which the local design and engineering future of the iconic Australian family car was thrust into doubt.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 85,196 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in October 2011, up 5.3 percent (4271 vehicles) compared with October 2010.

The strong October result represents the third consecutive month the industry has outperformed the same month in the previous year, and has Australia well on track to break the million mark for the fourth time.

Toyota sales have stabilised following the Japanese tsunami-related supply issues from earlier in the year.

Strong months from Hyundai and Mazda bumped Ford down to fifth place in the manufacturer stakes, while Volkswagen finally eclipsed Mitsubishi to rise to seventh. Honda also enjoyed a resurgence, reclaiming 10th place from Kia.

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Toyota – 17,239
  2. Holden – 10,209
  3. Hyundai – 7507
  4. Mazda – 6999
  5. Ford – 6921
  6. Nissan – 5448
  7. Volkswagen – 5150
  8. Mitsubishi – 5120
  9. Subaru – 2630
  10. Honda – 2392

Corolla and HiLux made it a one-two for Toyota in October, while a massive month from the Volkswagen Golf saw it leapfrog the Mazda3 and Commodore onto the podium.

Despite the slide down the sales ladder, the Commodore remains the most popular vehicle for the year, holding a 371-unit lead over the Mazda3 (34,995 vs 34,624).

Top 10 sales by model:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 3593
  2. Toyota HiLux – 3480
  3. Volkswagen Golf – 3337
  4. Mazda3 – 3185
  5. Holden Commodore – 3018
  6. Holden Cruze – 2805
  7. Hyundai i30 – 2798
  8. Toyota Camry – 2725
  9. Ford Falcon – 1591
  10. Mitsubishi Lancer – 1549

FCAI chief executive Ian Chalmers said there were signs the market was returning to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels.

“Manufacturers are reporting a steady increase in demand, placing the industry in a strong position to reach our target of one million sales for the calendar year,” Mr Chalmers said.

“So far this year 837,324 new vehicles have been sold. While this is 2.8 per cent fewer than for the same period in 2010, last month’s figures are the best October sales result since 2007 and suggest a return to pre-GFC sales volumes.”

The Holden Cruze is helping prop up the Australian industry, with sales of locally manufactured vehicles up 20.1 per cent compared with October 2010. For the year, sales of Australian-made cars have slipped 2.4 per cent (from 121,628 to 118,677).

After the first 10 months of 2010, Holden had sold 49,711 locally manufactured vehicles and Ford had sold 42,767 – a 6944-unit differential. After the same 10 months in 2011, Holden has sold 62,204 Australian-made cars compared with Ford’s 32,363 – now a whopping 29,841-unit difference.

The Mazda2 topped the light segment with 1315 sales and will be the most popular light car for the year. The Hyundai i20 (1116), Ford Fiesta (1034) and the Suzuki Swift (1020) followed close behind in October.

Six small cars filled the top 10 in October. Small cars made up 27.2 per cent of the total market last month, compared with 21.7 per cent in October 2010. The Subaru Impreza (1191) and Ford Focus (789) were the next best-selling small cars.

With the exception of the Camry, the medium segment was a non-event in October. The Mazda6 was second at 475, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (421), Ford Mondeo and Hyundai i45 (both 329) and the Honda Accord Euro (316).

Behind Commodore and Falcon, the Toyota Aurion was the only other main player in the large segment with 611 sales for the month.

The Toyota RAV4 (1221) clawed back to the top of the compact SUV segment, easily accounting for the Nissan X-Trail (939), Subaru Forester (937) and the Hyundai ix35 (811).

The Ford Territory was the top-selling SUV in the country with 1230 sales. It led the Toyota Kluger (1120) and the Holden Captiva 7 (923) in the medium SUV class.




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