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Some sentences say little, while some speak volumes. ‘Mercedes-Benz outsold Honda in July’ fits within the latter category.

The latest VFACTS industry sales figures released this morning reveal that the German luxury car and commercial brand managed 3052 registrations in July, up 21.1 per cent against the same month in 2014.

By comparison, Honda — considered a more ‘mainstream’ brand almost everywhere else — managed 3047 units for July, five fewer than Mercedes-Benz, which subsequently leapt into tenth place on the sales charts for the month, relegating Honda to 11th place.

We’ve written at length about the growing proliferation of luxury brands, and even fielded debate from one of Mercedes-Benz’s most senior global figures on where the line that defines ‘premium’ ends.

Honda-HR-V

Suffice to say, the sentence in the headline encapsulates a lot about the state-of-play in Australia’s car industry.

But here’s where it gets more interesting: Mercedes’ victory over Honda is not down to Honda in any way falling off the radar — quite the contrary. Honda’s July figures were actually 12.5 per cent higher than July in 2014, so the Japanese brand is undergoing growth of its own.

Year-to-date (YTD), Honda retains a lead over Benz, with 23,649 units (up a hugely impressive 30.3 per cent) compared to Mercedes-Benz (20,941 units, up 19.5 per cent). Both brands are easily outstripping the total YTD market growth of 3.2 per cent.

Mercedes’ strong form for the month — and the year — comes largely off the back of the C-Class sedan and wagon (a massive 853 sales in July, double the Mazda 6), CLA (439, more than the BMW 3 Series and the Mazda 6), and A-Class.

CLA 250-08

In fact, Mercedes-Benz had the sixth best-selling range of passenger cars — meaning SUVs and commercials are excluded — for July, ahead of Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki and Kia.

Honda’s growth came from the HR-V, which wasn’t on sale last year and thereby brought entirely incremental registrations to the table. Its 1069 monthly sales represent yet another impressive performance from what is now easily Honda’s top-seller TYD, and offset monthly drops in most other key model lines with the sole exception of the Odyssey people-mover.




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