The Toyota Corolla has finished 2011 on a high note, claiming the title of Australia’s highest-selling vehicle for the fourth consecutive month in December.
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The continued popularity of the ageing Corolla – set to be replaced by a new model around October – could give the long-running nameplate the momentum to challenge the newly crowned Mazda3 for the title of Australia’s favourite car in 2012.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 82,459 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in December 2011, down 4.8 per cent (4128 vehicles) compared with December 2010.

Toyota ended a turbulent year on top of the charts, with three models joining the Corolla in the top 10 in December. Holden retained second place, while Mazda hit the podium for the fifth time for 2011. Ford slipped to fifth in a month that the Focus outsold the Falcon by 163 vehicles (1539 vs 1376).

Mercedes-Benz also hit a new high in December, making the top 10 for the first time for the year, holding off challenges from Suzuki (2050), Honda (1992) and Kia (1956).

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Toyota – 15,578
  2. Holden – 10,193
  3. Mazda – 7348
  4. Hyundai – 6858
  5. Ford – 6724
  6. Nissan – 5985
  7. Mitsubishi – 4760
  8. Volkswagen – 3614
  9. Subaru – 2103
  10. Mercedes-Benz – 2053

Second place overall in December helped the Mazda3 extend its margin over the Holden Commodore, securing an 812-unit victory over the Australian-made large car overall for 2011.

The Holden Cruze fell just short of its big brother again in December, although it appears just a matter of time before the locally made small car becomes Holden’s top-selling model.

The Toyota HiLux was crippled by supply shortages stemming from the Thailand floods, with December registrations more than halved compared with November.

Top 10 sales by model:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 3619
  2. Mazda3 – 3325
  3. Holden Commodore – 2814
  4. Holden Cruze – 2783
  5. Hyundai i30 – 1849
  6. Toyota Yaris – 1635
  7. Toyota HiLux – 1623
  8. Nissan Navara – 1546
  9. Ford Focus – 1539
  10. Toyota Camry – 1532

The new Toyota Yaris was the only light car in the top 10, outperforming 2011’s overall light segment winner, the Mazda2 (1401), and the Holden Barina (1343).

Along with the five small cars in the top 10, the Mitsubishi Lancer (1409) and Volkswagen Golf (1013) also enjoyed strong sales to end the year. Supply of the third-generation Subaru Impreza has all but dried up, with just 194 vehicles delivered in December, well down on its 2011 average of around 1000 units per month. The all-new model will not provide Subaru Australia any respite until March, when the first vehicles are scheduled to hit showrooms.

The Toyota Camry rebounded after a tough run-out month in November, easily accounting for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (739), Honda Accord Euro (638) and the Mazda6 (596) in the final month of the year.

Despite its sales falling more than 5000 units and 11.6 per cent compared with the previous year, the Commodore remained the dominant large car in the country. The Falcon endured its worst year on record, with sales plummeting by more than 10,000 units and 36.5 per cent compared with 2010. After four consistent years of approximately 30,000 sales between 2007 and 2010, last year’s figure fell to just 18,741, casting serious question marks over the continued viability of production of the model in Australia.

The Toyota RAV4 (1510) was the most popular SUV in the country in December. It led the competitive compact SUV segment, in which the Subaru Forester (1261), Nissan X-Trail (1168) and the Nissan Dualis (1024) all exceeded 1000 sales.

The Toyota Kluger (1401) passed the Ford Territory (1349) to claim top spot in the medium SUV segment, while the Holden Captiva 7 (992) also finished the year on a positive note.

The HiLux (674) just held off the Commodore-based Holden Utility (600) in the 4x2 pick-up segment, while the Nissan Navara (1510) enjoyed a rare win in the 4x4 pick-up segment over the HiLux (949) and the Mitsubishi Triton (755).