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by Tim Beissmann

Australia’s seemingly insatiable appetite for SUVs has seen the new vehicle market continue its positive trend in April, with sales increasing 1.2 per cent over the same month last year.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reveals 81,656 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold across the country last month, taking 2015’s tally to 359,250 – up 3.5 per cent on the first four months of 2014.

Crossovers, SUVs and 4WDs accounted for 36.3 per cent of the market in April, narrowing the gap considerably to traditional passenger cars, which, at 42.9 per cent, claimed one of its slimmest slices of the market on record.

toyota-rav4

Each of the four SUV segments (small, medium, large, and upper large) grew more than 10 per cent last month, with the bourgeoning small SUV leading the way with growth of 31.2 per cent.

In contrast, passenger car sales are down more than 10 per cent overall, with buyers leaving the upper large (-30.1 per cent), micro (-27.5 per cent), large (-17.3 per cent) and small (-13.8 per cent) segments at the greatest rate.

Only two SUVs cracked the April top 10 – the seventh-placed Mazda CX-5 (1868) and the 10th-placed Toyota RAV4 (1399) – though falling just shy were three more: the Mazda CX-3 (1396) and the Hyundai ix35 and Toyota Prado (both 1389).

2014 Toyota Corolla ZR sedan and hatch

A dominant month for the Toyota Corolla saw it outsell the Mazda 3 by almost 900 units (3238 vs 2365) and extend its lead in 2015 to almost 1500 sales (14,910 vs 13,424).

Indeed, one of the quietest months in recent years for the Mazda 3 (it was down 22.6 per cent in April, and is down 11.5 per cent so far this year) left it trailing the second-placed Toyota HiLux (2789) by more than 400 units, giving Toyota an easy quinella.

The Hyundai i30 (2298) was also snapping at the 2012 sales champion’s heels, while the Ford Ranger (2200) easily accounted for the Holden Commodore (2043) to claim a spot in April’s top five.

Lower down, the Volkswagen Golf beat the Mitsubishi Triton by 190 units (1728 vs 1538) to claim eighth position, in a result that was symbolic of the brands’ overall performances.

volkswagen-polo

Benefitting from the run-outs of both the Triton and the Nissan Navara and end of Japanese financial year savings in March, Volkswagen (4572) outsold both Japanese rivals (Nissan: 4188; Mitsubishi: 4077) in April to rise to sixth position overall. Indeed, the German manufacturer trailed Ford (5163) by fewer than 600 sales last month.

Strong performers for Volkswagen included the Polo (829 sales, up 85.5 per cent), Amarok 4×4 (538 sales, up 13.0 per cent) and the Jetta (213 sales, up 28.3 per cent).

In another case of Europe triumphing over Japan, Mercedes-Benz stole 10th place off Honda, selling 2654 vehicles to its rival’s 2559. The C-Class (681 sales, up 144.1 per cent) continued to dominate its class, and was well supported by the A-Class (374 sales), CLA-Class (304 sales, up 90.0 per cent), and the Sprinter van (260 sales, up 46.1 per cent).

mercedes-benz-cla-class

Toyota (15,299) outsold the cumulative efforts of second- and third-placed Mazda (8068) and Hyundai (7210), while Holden (7072) was forced to make do with a place off the April podium.

Holden, which is still clinging to its ambition of becoming the top-selling brand in Australia by the end of the decade, remains in threat of slipping out of the top three for 2015, with a 10.1 per cent sales decline leaving it little more than 1000 units ahead of Hyundai (31,853 vs 30,823).

Other sliders this year include Alfa Romeo (-34.5 per cent), Dodge (-20.3 per cent), Fiat (-17.6 per cent), Ford (-18.9 per cent), Jaguar (-10.3 per cent), Ssangyong (-22.2 per cent) and Volvo (-24.1 per cent).

Returning much happier numbers were Audi (+14.7 per cent), BMW (+8.8 per cent), Citroen (+20.3 per cent), Honda (+24.7 per cent), Isuzu (+40.6 per cent), Jeep (+10.4 per cent), Lexus (+10.8 per cent), Mercedes-Benz (+22.7 per cent), Mini (+67.4 per cent), Mitsubishi (+11.2 per cent), Nissan (+15.7 per cent), Peugeot (+16.3 per cent), Porsche (+62.0 per cent), Renault (+31.2 per cent), Skoda (+47.2 per cent), Suzuki (+28.1 per cent) and Volkswagen (+13.6 per cent).

Notable segments and April performances were as follows:

Micro: Fiat 500/Abarth (187), Mitsubishi Mirage (186), Suzuki Celerio (157)

Light: Toyota Yaris (966), Mazda 2 (926), Volkswagen Polo (829)

Small under $40,000: Toyota Corolla (3238), Mazda 3 (2365), Hyundai i30 (2298)

Small over $40,000: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (374), Audi A3 (362), Mercedes-Benz B-Class (156)

Medium under $60,000: Toyota Camry (1141), Mazda 6 (415), Hyundai i40 (154)

Medium over $60,000: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (681), BMW 3 Series (322, includes Gran Coupe), Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (304)

Large under $70,000: Holden Commodore (2043), Ford Falcon (446), Toyota Aurion (241)

People-movers: Kia Carnival (191), Honda Odyssey (189), Hyundai iMax (159)

Sports under $60,000: Hyundai Veloster (322), Toyota 86 (272), BMW 2 Series (176)

Small SUV under $40,000: Mazda CX-3 (1396), Hyundai ix35 (1389), Honda HR-V (859)

Small SUV over $40,000: Lexus NX (235), Audi Q3 (221), Mercedes-Benz GLA (193)

Medium SUV under $60,000: Mazda CX-5 (1868), Toyota RAV4 (1399), Nissan X-Trail (1171)

Medium SUV over $60,000: Audi Q5 (363), Porsche Macan (195), Range Rover Evoque (182)

Large SUV under $70,000: Toyota Prado (1389), Toyota Kluger (1262), Jeep Grand Cherokee (989)

Large SUV over $70,000: Range Rover Sport (304), Volkswagen Touareg (178), BMW X5 (174)

Utes 4×2: Toyota HiLux (851), Ford Ranger (490), Holden Commodore Ute (362)

Utes 4×4: Toyota HiLux (1938), Ford Ranger (1710), Mitsubishi Triton (1279)

 

Top 10 vehicles in April 2015:
Toyota Corolla – 3238
Toyota HiLux – 2789
Mazda 3 – 2365
Hyundai i30 – 2298
Ford Ranger – 2200
Holden Commodore – 2043
Mazda CX-5 – 1868
Volkswagen Golf – 1728
Mitsubishi Triton – 1538
Toyota RAV4 – 1399

Top 10 vehicles in 2015:
Toyota Corolla – 14,910
Mazda 3 – 13,424
Toyota HiLux – 11,327
Holden Commodore – 8780
Hyundai i30 – 8614
Ford Ranger – 8361
Mazda CX-5 – 7996
Mitsubishi Triton – 7500
Volkswagen Golf – 7168
Toyota Camry – 6360

Top 10 brands in April 2015:
Toyota – 15,299
Mazda – 8068
Hyundai – 7210
Holden – 7072
Ford – 5163
Volkswagen – 4572
Nissan – 4188
Mitsubishi – 4077
Subaru – 3052
Mercedes-Benz – 2654

Top 10 brands in 2015:
Toyota – 64,285
Mazda – 36,348
Holden – 31,853
Hyundai – 30,823
Ford – 21,565
Nissan – 21,847
Mitsubishi – 20,706
Volkswagen – 19,383
Subaru – 13,381
Honda – 12,205




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