New vehicle sales got off to neither a bang nor a whimper in 2015, with January deliveries holding steady compared with the same month in 2014 thanks to continued gains among SUVs and some bounce-back for the struggling light car segment.
VFACTS figures released this morning show that 82,116 passenger cars, SUV and commercials were delivered last month, down 0.2 per cent on January last year, which itself was down 4 per cent over the heady days of 2013.
Passenger cars sales were largely down, though the light and medium segments (thanks to the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class) bounced back from dismal 2014s with growth of 14.9 per cent and 12.9 per cent apiece.
SUV sales across all segments grew in both volume and share, and light commercials slipped marginally though light and medium vans were strong.
As ever, Toyota was easily the top-selling marque with 13,661 sales (up 0.1 per cent). Incumbent top full-line importer Mazda had a good start, finishing second with 9006 sales (still down 4.3 per cent) ahead of 2014’s runner-up Holden on 8401 (down 5.3 per cent).
Hyundai finished fourth on 6901, with its 3.5 per cent drop contrasting to the big gains it made last year. Ford continued to struggle, down 21.3 per cent to 5357 units, but edged out Nissan (4537, up 6.7 per cent), Volkswagen (4397, up 8.6 per cent) and Mitsubishi (4080, down 1.4 per cent).
Rounding out the top 10 were Subaru on 3104, up 1.7 per cent, and Honda on 2703, showing some welcome growth by climbing 9.4 per cent. Knocking at the door were Mercedes-Benz (2594, up 27.8 per cent), Kia (2416, down 2.7 per cent) and Jeep (2283, up 13.8 per cent).
Notable growth was also experienced by premium brands Audi and BMW, up 14.2 per cent and 12.2 per cent respectively, though Mercedes continues to kick clear. Isuzu Ute powered to 1141 sales, up 57.4 per cent, and Suzuki climbed 40 per cent to 1609 units.
Smaller brands that performed well included Citroen (110 units, up 22.2 per cent), Ferrari (16 units, up 60 per cent), Maserati (36 units, up a huge 227.3 per cent), Mini (253 units, up 37.5 per cent), Porsche (373 units, up 65.8 per cent), Renault (546 units, up 32.2 per cent) and Skoda (309 units, up 40.5 per cent).
Strugglers included Alfa Romeo (78 units, down 70 per cent), Chery (24 units, down 48.7 per cent), Chrysler (44 units, down 69 per cent), Dodge (106 units, down 26.4 per cent), Great Wall (just 34 units, down a staggering 90 per cent), Proton (22 units, down 54.2 per cent), Ssangyong (81 units, down 43.8 per cent) and Volvo (330 units, down 22.4 per cent).
The top-selling car was last year’s runner-up, the Mazda 3, with 3903 sales (down 14.4 per cent), ahead of the Toyota Corolla on 3472 units (up 19.1 per cent). The Toyota HiLux managed 2331 units, ahead of the Hyundai i30 (2092) and Holden Cruze (1870, up 34.1 per cent).
Four of the top five cars were members of the small car segment, though the segment as a whole dropped 8.8 per cent.
The Ford Ranger ute continued its impressive form of last year with 1784 units, the exact same figure achieved by the Holden Commodore sedan/wagon (down 24.5 per cent). Next was the number one SUV, the Mazda CX-5 on 1699 units, ahead of the Hyundai ix35 on 1636 units and the Holden Colorado on 1543 units.
Winners by segment were the all-new Mazda 2 with 1391 sales, up 17.5 per cent in a segment that grew 14 per cent. The Toyota Yaris (1130) and Suzuki Swift (940) were on the podium. At the micro end, sales plummeted 33 per cent, with the Mitsubishi Mirage hatch and sedan (350, down 56.5 per cent) and Fiat 500 (262, down 9.7 per cent) making up almost 75 per cent of the market.
As mentioned, the small car segment was down about 8 per cent and as always was dominated by the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla, with good months from i30, Cruze and Golf. At the premium end, the Audi A3 sedan and hatch did well with 576 units (up 41.2 per cent) — more than the Mitsubishi Lancer — with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class next on 356 units. That said, include the CLA and the total becomes 610.
The mainstream mid-sized market held steady, with the Toyota Camry leading on 1133 sales (up 12.5 per cent), then daylight to the runout Mazda 6 on 450 units, down 8 per cent. At the premium end it was different, with the new C-Class recording mammoth 184 per cent growth to 823 units and smashing the BMW 3 Series (327) and Audi A4 (128) to smithereens.
Large car sales fell 20 per cent, with the new FG X Falcon sedan failing to fire with just 381 sales, down 17.4 per cent. The Toyota Aurion grew almost 40 per cent to 241 units, while at the high-rolling end the BMW 5 Series won by a straight with 102 units. Going larger again, the Maserati range (25) and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (20) owned 75 per cent of their segment.
The sharpened Honda Odyssey was again the number one people-mover with 223 units as Kia ran out of old Carnival stock ahead of the new model launching within weeks. The Toyota 86 (223, down 48 per cent) and Hyundai Veloster (222, down 29.5 per cent) owned the shrinking sports car market (down 22.6 per cent), alongside the BMW 4 Series on 150 units.
SUV sales were once again strong, with the small segment growing 18 per cent and medium SUVs up 9.5 per cent, though the large SUV market shrunk by 1.2 per cent. The upper-large market made up that ground by growing 13 per cent.
As ever the Hyundai ix35 owned the small segment with 1626 units, ahead of the Mitsubishi ASX (869, up 81 per cent), Nissan Qashqai (784) and Subaru XV (668 down 24.6 per cent). At the higher end, the Audi Q3 (283) and Mercedes-Benz GLA (265) dominated the BMW X1 (103) and Lexus NX (67).
Further up the size chain, the just-updated CX-5 won with 1699 units, down 8.3 per cent. Next was the Toyota RAV4 on 1401 units (steady) and Nissan X-Trail (1171, up 106.5 per cent as the new-generation kicks into gear). The Audi Q5 (479, up 46 per cent) flew the premium flag and doubled the number two, Range Rover’s Evoque (230).
The Jeep Grand Cherokee topped the large SUV segment with 1008 units (down 26.9 per cent), ahead of the Holden Captiva 7 (893, down 10.1 per cent), and Toyota twins the Prado (888, down 13.3 per cent) and Kluger (801, down 7.7 per cent).
At the luxury end the BMW X5 won with 273 units, up 34 per cent, though a pair of British-made challengers finished close. The Land Rover Discovery (226, down 8.5 per cent) edged out the Range Rover Sport (214, up 30 per cent).
At the big end of town the Toyota LandCruiser netted 530 sales, down 17 per cent, but ahead of the Nissan Patrol, up 24 per cent to 200 units. Interestingly, the Mercedes-Benz GL (34) outsold the Range Rover (32).
Light van sales grew 49.3 per cent to 303 units, with the Volkswagen Caddy on 174 units the clear winner. Larger mid-sized vans also grew 15.4 per cent, with the trusty Toyota HiAce (521) and Hyundai iLoad (299) the clear top-two and a combined 71 per cent market share.
As mentioned, the HiLux (2331, down from 2554) had stiff competition from the Ranger (1784, up from 1617) and Colorado (1543, up from 1443). Overall, 4×2 utes dropped 15.3 per cent, though the bigger-selling 4×4 segment grew 0.9 per cent.
Rivals the Mazda BT-50 (1193, up from 976), runout Nissan Navara (1040, down from 1258), Mitsubishi Triton (1034, down from 1288), Isuzu D-Max (694, up from 535) and Volkswagen Amarok (512, down from 530) made up the bulk of the remaining numbers.
Other tidbits from the figures include the geographical make-up of Australia’s vehicle sales. Japan remained our number one source with 24,315 imports (down 9.2 per cent) ahead of Thailand (17,185, up 11.5 per cent). Korea (9245) and Germany (6798) were larger sources for new vehicles than Australia (6574).
Top 10 Best-selling Brands — January 2015
Top 10 Best-selling Vehicles — January 2015