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The Mazda3 has retained its title as Australia’s most popular new car in 2012, claiming victory for the second consecutive year after a tight 12-month tussle with the Toyota HiLux.

The HiLux threatened to steal the crown earlier in the year after topping the sales charts in six of the first 10 months of the year, but a strong finish from Mazda’s small car saw it take the win 44,128 units to 40,646.

The Toyota Corolla completed a Japanese trifecta, climbing into third position overall with 38,799 sales. The Corolla looms as the most likely challenger to the Mazda3’s ambition of completing a three-peat in 2013, rolling into the New Year with plenty of momentum following the launch of the all-new model in October.

The Holden Commodore, Australia’s favourite car for 15 consecutive years between 1996 and 2010, slipped to fourth position – representing the first time a locally manufactured vehicle has missed the podium in decades. Its 30,532 sales (down 24.8 per cent compared with 2011) represented its worst performance in over 30 years.

The year was even grimmer for the Commodore’s traditional rival, the Ford Falcon. Ford sold just 14,036 Falcon sedans across the country this year, the worst result in the nameplate’s 53-year history. The Falcon ungracefully tumbled out of the top 20 models for the year (it finished 21st), and was relegated to fourth in the Blue Oval stable behind the compact Focus (18,586), Ranger (18,097) and Territory (14,646).

Despite declining sales of Australia’s historical favourites, 2012 was a new record for the industry, with 1,112,032 vehicles sold across the country. The figure represents a massive 10.3 per cent increase over 2011, and easily eclipses the previous record of 1,049,982 sales set in 2007.

The small and city car segments led the way with a combined 35.1 per cent share of the market, although the real growth came from SUVs and four-wheel-drive utes in 2012.

The compact SUV segment exploded 53.5 per cent last year on the back of the introduction the Subaru XV (9908), Jeep Compass (2898) and the Audi Q3 (1472), and double-digit growth by the Nissan Dualis (13,141) and the Volkswagen Tiguan (6871).

Overall SUV sales were up 25.3 per cent in 2012, with five models – Toyota Prado (17,045), Nissan X-Trail (16,066), Mazda CX-5 (15,861), Toyota RAV4 (14,651) and the Territory – filling places inside the overall top 20.

Australia’s love affair with 4×4 utes intensified, with sales up 24.7 per cent over 2011. Utes make up 15.6 per cent of the market, with the HiLux leading the charge ahead of the Nissan Navara (26,045), Mitsubishi Triton (18,502) and the Ranger.

Accounting for 35.9 per cent of total sales just 10 years ago, large cars now make up just 5.7 per cent of the market. The sub-$70K large segment shrunk 20.4 per cent in 2012 – the only shining lights being the Skoda Superb (up 280.7 per cent to 1085 sales) and the Australian-made Toyota Aurion, which climbed 1.8 per cent to 9074 and finished the year on a high by outselling the Falcon in December (1255 versus 1111).

The decline in large car sales was almost matched by the increase of the medium segment, which climbed 15.4 per cent. The Toyota Camry is the dominant player, with its 27,230 units accounting for almost one in three sales in the class. Surprisingly, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranked second in 2012 with 6676 sales, placing it ahead of the Mazda6 (6558), Honda Accord Euro (6155), BMW 3 Series (5493) and the Ford Mondeo (5203).

The Camry continued its recent form as the dominant locally manufactured vehicle in December, outselling the next-best Commodore 3586 units to 2198. In the final quarter of 2012, the Camry outsold the Commodore by 2804 units (10,110 versus 7306).

Affordable sports cars made a resurgence in 2012, too, with sales in the sub-$80K segment almost doubling to 15,830 vehicles. The Hyundai Veloster headed the pack with 4107 sales, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe (2336) and the Toyota 86 (2047).

Last year saw 13,919 new hybrids hit Australian roads, up 57.8 per cent over 2011, as well as 253 electric vehicles, up from 49 in 2011.


Top 20 best-selling vehicles – 2012

  1. Mazda3 – 44,128
  2. Toyota HiLux – 40,646
  3. Toyota Corolla – 38,799
  4. Holden Commodore – 30,532
  5. Holden Cruze – 29,161
  6. Hyundai i30 – 28,348
  7. Toyota Camry – 27,230
  8. Nissan Navara – 26,045
  9. Toyota Yaris – 18,808
  10. Ford Focus – 18,586
  11. Mitsubishi Triton – 18,502
  12. Ford Ranger – 18,097
  13. Mazda2 – 17,574
  14. Volkswagen Golf – 17,289
  15. Toyota Prado – 17,045
  16. Nissan X-Trail – 16,066
  17. Mazda CX-5 – 15,861
  18. Mitsubishi Lancer – 15,321
  19. Toyota RAV4 – 14,651
  20. Ford Territory – 14,646


Top 20 best-selling brands – 2012

  1. Toyota – 218,176 (+20.1 per cent)
  2. Holden – 114,665 (–9.1 per cent)
  3. Mazda – 103,886 (+17.6 per cent)
  4. Hyundai – 91,536 (+5.2 per cent)
  5. Ford – 90,408 (–0.9 per cent)
  6. Nissan – 79,747 (+17.4 per cent)
  7. Mitsubishi – 58,868 (–3.7 per cent)
  8. Volkswagen – 54,835 (+22.6 per cent)
  9. Subaru – 40,189 (+18.2 per cent)
  10. Honda – 35,812 (+18.9 per cent)
  11. Kia – 30,758 (+22.4 per cent)
  12. Suzuki – 24,057 (+1.2 per cent)
  13. Mercedes-Benz – 22,397 (+5.7 per cent)
  14. BMW – 18,413 (+5.2 per cent)
  15. Jeep – 18,014 (+108.3 per cent)
  16. Audi – 14,535 (+0.2 per cent)
  17. Great Wall – 11,006 (+27.0 per cent)
  18. Land Rover – 7929 (+36.0 per cent)
  19. Isuzu Ute – 7782 (+21.7 per cent)
  20. Lexus – 6839 (+36.0 per cent)

  • nugsdad

     What a shame europeans don’t price their cars reasonably in Australia

    • New World Order will not work

       The big trouble with the European vehicles is the Euro. Each economy in Europe in most cases is tied to the Euro, and has no room to move. The Euro to the AUD makes it hard for them to compete. This is why Greece is in the mess it is in now. The Euro is dragging it down as Greece relies on tourism for its income, and the Euro is to strong. Every country that produces vehicles in Europe whose base currency is the Euro has a fundamental problem.

  • TG

    Oh dear, 11006 people will be diagnosed with mesothelioma in the near future.

    • Dfadf

      Probably >50% of the homes and buildings have asbestos all over.

      • TG

        Is that you, Daniel Cotterill? :)

        • Dfadf

          Moi don’t work for GW nor in the car industry :)

      • Amlohac

        “Murders happen everywhere in the world everyday”

        That doesn’t make it ok though… does it?

        • Dfadf

          No one’s saying it’s ok. Neither is not weighing the risks against reality.

  • Pros

    Waht a shame, Holden Executives must stand front of the mirror and take a good look at themselfs. Loosing 9.1% market share is a joke. Sake to lot of them.

    • Dave S

      I think a large chunk of that loss is due to having no Colarado’s to sell for 3 or 4 months. I also think there may have been another imported model that was in short supply too for Holden.

      New Commodore, Colarado sales picking up, Colarado 7 and Malibo arriving this year. 2013 should be much better.

      • DoubleBlue

         Get over yourself  Dave S.  “S” must stand for “Stupid”
        Holden will slide further back in sales come this time next year.
        Sorry mate.! Wait-n-see.

  • Zaccy16

    Great year for mazda and deservedly so! the falcon is very sad though and in my opnion should sell much better the the crapadore and the boring camry/aurion

  • Hilux vehicles are not “cars”

    Here we go again. The Hilux is NOT a car. so again the myth is perpetuated by headlines saying how the Hilux came second in the “car” sales

  • Ace

    Good to see the Elantra, Veloster and I30 do well, Hyundai really deserves this success for their effort over the years. I have had an Elantra Premium for just over two months now and it is a fantastic car, I plan to get a Veloster Turbo next.

    The Cruze is going to plummet like a stone, with the new Pulsar just around the corner and Mazda 3 revision next year, it is going to be tough. Compared to the Elantra, it is overpriced and with a terrible transmission. Not good.

    • http://viddesign.com.au/ Vid_Ghost

       The new mazda 3 comes out THIS YEAR! .. 2013 :)

    • Tpp

      Yeah Hyundai deserve to sell more than what they’re currently selling

  • Luke Brinsmead

    I still don’t understand how Mazda can do so well from a car that uses so much fuel for it’s category.

    • Kyn15sss

      Its simple really, there cars are actually enjoyable to drive. I understand everyone has different needs. But for me the mazda 3 mps suits perfectly, plenty of grunt, comfortable and dare i say fuel efficient for what it is. I average 7.8 – 8l per 100. 550 – 600kms per 60ltr tank. People that buy a car based off its efficiency sticker are in for a rude shock. Load up these 1.4 turbo, 1.8 and 2.0 cars with 4 people and luggage then see how guttless and fuel guzzling they are. A bigger displacement engine wins everytime and im not talking races. Food for thought for anyone looking at following the popular trends of small engines wit or without turbo. They might feel great on boost on the test drive, but u live with one everyday, lag is still there

      • Luke Brinsmead

        MPS torque steering?

        • Kyn15sss

          People just cant get past the torque steer with the mps can they? A rear wheel drive will oversteer when coming out of a corner if booted in a lower gear. So tell me what makes a 190kw 380NM 2.3LTR any different?. That torque steer caused by incompetant drivers that have no idea, sure its there but only when driven like an idiot. Its the lsd doing its job with traction. If it wasnt it wouldnt pull on the wheel, there would just be wheelspin.

      • 2 litre TDI

         The only thing I do not agree with is the 2 litre part of your statement. I own a MY11 two litre Turbo Diesel Intercooled Passat wagon, and there is no noticeable turbo lag. The fuel economy does not suffer when loaded, nor do you notice the extra weight. 125kw and 340nm of torque  make sure of that. Fuel economy over 20000 km is 5.6 l/100k. 8.6 seconds 0 -100 k is not standing around either for any car, let alone a diesel, so it has plenty of pickup as well as economy.

        • Kyn15sss

          I should have worded that better turbo diesels are a totally different kettle of fish. But a 1.4 or 1.6 turbo petrol in a modern hatch/sedan that will weigh anywhere from 1300 to 1500kgs isnt going to be a fun drive loaded up and off boost. Diesels arnt as laggy within the transition between off and on boost. Like a turbo petrol can be. But they too are getting really good now, but it is still there.

    • Sydlocal

      The Commodore used a fair bit of fuel but that didn’t stop it from being Australia’s best selling car for such a long time.

      That may be so according ADR laboratory testing, but it is not quite that clear in the real world. Wheels did a mega-hatch shootout late last year and throughout the test involving 13 small cars, the Mazda3 Maxx sport came 6th when it came to fuel consumption driven under the same conditions. What was interesting though was two of the least economical hatches were using a ‘high tech’ small capcity DI turbo engine (Cruze and Astra). Hatches that had worse economy were the Astra, Cruze, i30, Impreza, Megane, SX4, and Kia Cerato with all of those but the Megane having lower ADR test figures than the Mazda. Other than the Cerato and SX4, all of these other cars had much more recent engines etc and should have been better than Mazda’s ancient 2L. The 3 also managed to be one of the quickest too, beating all of the turbos from 80-120 in third. Also not all 3s use so much fuel like the diesel and SO20.

      I am not saying it is the epitomy of fuel economy as it isn’t, but don’t forget that ADR figures are only a guide and sometimes the real world can be a bit different, the disclaimer at the bottom of the ADR quote even says this.

      I would have thought that its looks and the road noise it has (only
      the Lancer was louder) would be more of a factor!

      • Luke Brinsmead

        Interesting, where did you Golf come? And which model was tested?

        • Sydlocal

           The Golf 90 TSI was tested and came 3rd behind the Civic (1st) and Corolla WRT fuel economy. It ended up taking the overall win.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    I was going to say above average NHV and limited rear passenger space, but I was being polite for such a successful car (in Australia at least).

    • Sydlocal

      That it has! Although in that Wheels test they did say the Focus and Lancer weren’t any better with NVH and the Corolla and Civic had slightly less space up back, but still at the bottom of the class. It seems to be the only area where it is near the top of the class is in body control/steering/handling ie the chassis.