The Mazda 3 is off to a flying start in 2014, posting a dominant January sales result to get the jump on its key Toyota challengers.
A mix of heavily discounted previous-generation cars and early deliveries of the all-new model catapulted the Mazda 3 to 4561 sales (up 36.4 per cent), leaving the Toyota Corolla (2941, down 1.6 per cent) and HiLux (2544, down 7.4 per cent) in its wake.
Mazda is hopeful the new 3 can reclaim the sales crown for the nameplate in 2014, after the ageing second-gen model was dethroned by the Corolla last year. Toyota should get a shot in the arm from this month when it introduces the new-generation Corolla sedan.
The 3’s stellar start bucked the trend of the industry as a whole, which declined 3.7 per cent compared with January 2013 to 82,285 sales, in what is historically a quiet month across the board for fleet, government and private sales.
Toyota started the year as it has finished the past 11, claiming top spot on the manufacturer’s list with 13,646 sales (up 2.0 per cent).
It led Mazda (9411, up 5.6 per cent) and Holden (8871, up 0.7 per cent), which held off Hyundai (7152, up 4.9 per cent) and Ford (6804, down 11.9 per cent) for the lower places on January’s podium.
Buoyed by a strong month from the Golf (1557, up 84.5 per cent), which ranked ninth overall, Volkswagen (4048, up 5.9 per cent) joined Nissan (4253, down 41.3 per cent) and Mitsubishi (4140, down 6.9 per cent) in a tight battle for sixth in the manufacturer stakes.
Kia (2484, up 7.6 per cent), pipped Honda (2471, down 35.2 per cent) to claim the final place in the top 10, while Mercedes-Benz (2029, up 15.3 per cent) and Jeep (2006, up 22.2 per cent) entered the race with 2000-plus results and strong growth. Audi notched a monthly sales record (1685, up 25.3 per cent), as did Fiat Chrysler (3113, up 45.5 per cent).
The Holden Commodore (2364, up 42.8 per cent) flew the Australian flag solo in January. The fleet favourite Toyota Camry recorded just 1007 sales for the month, while the Ford Falcon yet again limped to its lowest monthly sales result in history, managing just 461 (down 40.7 per cent).
Positives for the Blue Oval included the Focus (2074) and Ranger (1617), which claimed sixth and eighth positions overall respectively.
The Mazda CX-5 (1853) and the Hyundai ix35 (1496) made it two SUVs in the top 10, as the SUV segment increased its share of the market from 31.2 per cent to 31.4 per cent.
The light-commercial segment was the big loser in January, down from 17.5 per cent to 15.8 per cent. The share of passenger cars rose from 49.1 per cent to 50.6 per cent.
The Mitsubishi Mirage (805) dominated VFACTS’ new ‘micro’ segment, easily accounting for the Fiat 500 (290) and Suzuki Alto (133).
The ageing Mazda 2 (1184) continues to lead the Toyota Yaris (1103) in the light segment, with the Ford Fiesta (963) and Holden Barina (841) also posting competitive tallies.
The Holden Cruze (1395) was the best of the rest in the small class, finishing sixth behind the leading five that made the overall top 10.
The Mazda 6 (489) claimed second behind the Camry in the medium class, holding off the BMW 3 Series (300), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (290) and Hyundai i40 (242), while the Toyota Aurion limped to 175 sales to claim third place in the large category.
Significant among the sports car class were the Toyota 86 (448) and the Hyundai Veloster (315), while the BMW 4 Series (151), Kia Cerato Koup (106) and Subaru BRZ (101) also cracked triple figures.
The Subaru XV (913) and the Nissan Dualis (720) rounded out the small SUV podium behind the ix35, while the Toyota RAV4 (1404) and Subaru Forester (1029) did the same behind the CX-5 in the medium class.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee (1379) owned the large SUV segment, beating home the Toyota Prado (1024), Holden Captiva 7 (993), Toyota Kluger (868) and Ford Territory (681).
With the HiLux controlling both the 4×2 (793) and 4×4 (1751) ute segments, the Commodore Ute (436) and Ranger (1244) ranked next best respectively.
Top 10 Best-selling Vehicles – January 2014
Top 10 Best-selling Brands – January 2014