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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian automotive industry continued its strong start to the year in February with new vehicle sales up more than five per cent compared with the same period in 2011.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 85,723 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in February 2012, up 6.0 per cent (4827 vehicles) compared with February 2011.

In total, 162,506 vehicles have been sold this year, up 5.2 per cent over last year, leading to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.039 million vehicles for 2012.

The top nine manufacturers held their positions from January, with Mazda and Hyundai extending their lead over Ford. Honda returned to the top 10 in February despite a continued battle with supply from flood-ravaged Thailand. Honda’s Japanese-sourced Accord Euro and Odyssey performed particularly well, while the Jazz was also strong.

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Toyota – 14,849
  2. Holden – 9688
  3. Mazda – 8689
  4. Hyundai – 7412
  5. Ford – 6951
  6. Nissan – 6227
  7. Mitsubishi – 5166
  8. Volkswagen – 4132
  9. Subaru – 3225
  10. Honda – 2603

The Mazda3 blitzed the sales charts again, beating the Toyota Corolla and the Holden Commodore by 742 units, and stretching its overall lead for 2012 to 1404 units.

The Commodore bounced back to the top of the Holden stable in February after slipping behind the locally made small-sized Cruze for the first time in the previous month.

Top 10 sales by model:

1. Mazda3 – 3733
= 2. Holden Commodore – 2991
= 2. Toyota Corolla – 2991
4. Holden Cruze – 2880
5. Hyundai i30 – 2433
6. Toyota HiLux – 2272
7. Nissan Navara – 2017
8. Mazda2 – 1771
9. Toyota Camry – 1562
10. Ford Focus – 1524

The like its bigger brother in the small-car segment, the Mazda2 stretched its lead in the light category. Its 1771 sales gave it a 16.6 per cent share of the class, ahead of the Toyota Yaris (1366), the Hyundai i20 (1093) and the Holden Barina (1023).

Surprisingly, sales of light cars have fallen more than 10 per cent so far this year.

The popularity of small cars continues to build, however, with five cars filling the top 10 positions overall. The Mitsubishi Lancer (1449) and the Volkswagen Golf (1314) were other strong performers that just missed the top 10.

The medium segment had a massive February, up 26.5 per cent as consumers continue the steady exodus from large cars. The Camry led the segment, but the Accord Euro was the big winner with 1105 sales and second place overall as Honda Australia focused its attention on the mid-sized sedan, which is not affected by supply constraints.

Commodore sales jumped more than 500 units in February, although Australia’s favourite large car is still more than 20 per cent down for the year compared with 2011. While the Falcon picked up slightly from a hailstorm-affected January, its lowly 1192-unit result also leaves it 22.2 per cent behind last year.

The Toyota Aurion’s brief stint as the number two large car came crashing down, with just 313 sales in February as customers hold off for the new model.

The Subaru XV was a runaway success in its first full sales month. A total of 1005 units made it the most popular small SUV in the country, ahead of the Nissan Dualis (911) and the Hyundai ix35 (845).

The Nissan X-Trail (1349) led a strong medium SUV segment in February that included the Toyota RAV4 (1136), Subaru Forester (1030) and the Mazda CX-7 (1010).

The Ford Territory (1400) easily outsold its Falcon stable mate, but was 24 units short of the Toyota Prado at the top of the large SUV class. The Toyota Kluger (939) and the Holden Captiva 7 (859) were also popular in February.

The HiLux led the way in overall ute sales, although the Navara 4×4 was by far the most popular individual model with 1972 units delivered. The HiLux (803) finished ahead of the Commodore-based ute (601) in the 4×2 class.

The Mazda BT-50 outsold its mechanical twin, the Ford Ranger (1071 vs 796), while the Isuzu D-Max accounted for the Holden Colorado (640 vs 503).




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