The Australian automotive industry has continued its quiet start to the year, with February’s new vehicle sales figures largely mirroring the trends of January.
Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 80,896 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in February 2011, down 1.6 percent (1323 vehicles) compared with February 2010.
The Holden Commodore took back top spot after finishing third behind the Toyota Corolla and the Mazda3 in January. The Falcon also climbed back into the top 10 after plummeting to 13th position in January in its worst monthly sales result in recent history.
The Corolla came back to Earth after Toyota’s cut-price financing offer dried up on January 31.
Top 10 sales by model:
Toyota maintained its lead at the top of the sales charts, but Holden was the biggest mover compared with January. It climbed just shy of 2000 units for the month, clearly establishing it as the second-most-popular brand in the country.
No brands changed position in the top 10 in February, with Mazda continuing to hold off Ford in third place overall.
Top 10 sales by marque:
Dodge (up 85.6 percent), Great Wall (33.0 percent), Land Rover (22.1 percent), Mazda (8.7 percent), Mitsubishi (6.5 percent), Nissan (19.8 percent), Subaru (17.3 percent) and Volvo (16.2 percent) are among the major manufacturer to be well ahead of last year.
The start of 2011 has been harder on BMW (down 21.8 percent), Holden (-13.8 percent), Honda (-21.2 percent), Lexus (-8.9 percent), Mercedes-Benz (-18.4 percent), MINI (-18.1 percent) and Toyota (-6.2 percent), with all of those brand slipping off their 2010 pace.
Ford (1.0 percent), Hyundai (-3.0 percent), Kia (1.4 percent), Subaru (4.5 percent) and Volkswagen (3.7 percent) have been largely stable.
Although cumulative 2011 figures are 1.7 percent (or 2603 vehicles) below the first two months of 2010, FCAI chief executive, Andrew McKellar, was upbeat about the strength of the private vehicle sector.
“Sales to private customers increased 4.1 percent during February to total 39,776 units – outselling business and fleet purchases,” Mr McKellar said.
“This is an encouraging indicator of the market and reflects a strong level of economic confidence.”
Sales in Queensland increased in February as the state continued to pick itself up after the floods, and were just 2.8 percent off the same month in 2010.
“We expect further growth in that state in the coming months as people replace their damaged vehicles,” Mr McKellar said.
Tasmania has been the worst performing state so far this year. Sales have decreased 12.8 percent in the Apple Isle, followed by Queensland (-7.5 percent), South Australia (-4.6 percent) and Western Australia (-3.4 percent).
New South Wales and the Northern Territory have been steady, while Victoria (2.6 percent) and the ACT (3.4 percent) have been the biggest risers.
Diversity was the flavour of February, with the top 20 models all selling more than 1000 units.
Five light cars and seven small cars made it into the top 20. The light car segment is up 5.3 percent compared with 2010, and the small car segment is up 6.7 seconds. The two segments now account for 39.9 percent of the total new vehicle market.
The compact SUV segment is the third-highest-selling segment in the country, with 11.6 percent of all vehicles sold belonging to this category. The Subaru Forester (1221) and the Toyota RAV4 (1402) led the way in February, and another six vehicles sold more than 500 units for the month.
The Commodore surged back into top spot with 3829 sales. The big Holden commands the large car segment, with a 57.1 percent share. Holden also sold 814 Commodore-based Utes and 168 Caprice models.
Falcon sales increased significantly from the 1157 January low, adding 415 units in February to finish on 1572. After two months in 2010, Ford had delivered 4832 Falcons, 43.5 percent more than the 2729 registered so far this year.
Falcon sales will have to average 1721 for the next 10 months if the Blue Oval’s large car is to break the 20,000 mark for the year, and 2679 per month if it wants to meet last year’s figure of 29,516.
While large cars are down 22.8 percent this year, medium cars are also slipping out of favour, with sales down 13.4 percent.
The Toyota Camry is the only model holding the segment up, accounting for 39.9 percent of the category. The Ford Mondeo (735) and the Mazda6 (519) were the only other strong performers for the month.
Year-to-date, 17,270 locally manufactured vehicles have been sold in 2011, down from 21,971 in 2010.
Of the 154,480 total vehicles sold so far, 55,310 have come from Japan (up 0.2 percent), 25,866 from Thailand (up 14.2 percent) and 24,544 from Korea (down 9.6 percent).