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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian automotive industry has started 2010 on a positive note with a significant increase in the number of new vehicles sold during January.

Official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 74,864 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in January, up 11.6 percent (7785 vehicles) on the same month in 2009.

The Holden Commodore was the highest selling new vehicle, increasing 5.9 percent year-on-year to post 3241 sales.

The Mazda3 ran a close second ahead of Toyota’s Hilux and Corolla and Ford’s Falcon in fifth.

Top 10 sales by model:

  1. Holden Commodore – 3241
  2. Mazda3 – 3223
  3. Toyota Hilux – 2997
  4. Toyota Corolla – 2711
  5. Ford Falcon – 2318
  6. Holden Cruze – 2218
  7. Hyundai i30 – 2116
  8. Hyundai Getz – 1717
  9. Mitsubishi Lancer – 1588
  10. Toyota Yaris – 1562

Toyota retained the top selling position with a market share of 19.5 percent followed by Holden with 14 percent and Ford with nine percent.

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Toyota – 14,564
  2. Holden – 10,468
  3. Ford – 6730
  4. Mazda – 6658
  5. Hyundai – 6208
  6. Nissan – 4144
  7. Mitsubishi – 4040
  8. Subaru – 3260
  9. Honda – 3006
  10. Volkswagen – 2337

FCAI Chief Executive, Andrew McKellar, said an industry-wide increase of around 12 percent was a strong result that would provide the market with a confidence boost heading into 2010.

“Business purchases remained strong in January with some buyers taking delivery of vehicles ordered last year under the Federal Government’s business tax break,” Mr McKellar said.

He said new car affordability was better than ever and had been further enhanced by the tariff cut on many imported vehicles.

“New car buyers have effectively been handed a ‘tax cut’ and many brands have moved quickly to reduce prices or increase vehicle specifications.

“As a result, it is expected that this will encourage private buyers to return to the marketplace in greater numbers throughout the year,” he said.

The industry experienced a significant shift towards larger vehicles compared to 2009.

The SUV Luxury segment increased by 51.4 percent to 1812 vehicles led by the BMW X5 (286 sales, 16 percent share) and the Audi Q5 (242, 13 percent).

People movers also soared 49.5 percent on the back of 274 Kia Carnival sales (up from 138 in 2009) which had a 30 percent share of the market.

SUV compact (up 23.1 percent), medium (up 26.6 percent) and large (up 17.2 percent) were all strong in January, as was the Sports segment (up 29.6 percent) and large cars (up 16.9 percent).

Surprisingly, light and small cars increased by the smallest margins (1.9 percent and 2.6 percent respectively). Their sales were still extremely strong, however, cumulatively accounting for 18,035 units which made up 29.8 percent of all non-commercial new vehicles sold.

The medium segment was the only one to lose ground, sliding 2.2 percent to 5449 sales.

The market-leading Toyota Camry had a solid month with 1201 sales as did the second-place Subaru Liberty (up 37 percent to 654), but the Mazda6 and Honda Accord Euro both went backwards.

Locally manufactured vehicles accounted for 9741 of the 74,864 sales (13 percent), trailing 26,311 from Japan, 13,130 from Korea and 10,777 from Thailand.




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