Official industry figures released today for the month of April reveal that SUVs again more than compensated for a drop in passenger car sales.
Passenger car sales fell by 2.5 per cent compared with April 2011, though a 28 per cent increase in SUV sales helped the total market grow by 6.6 per cent compared with this time last year.
Small SUVs jumped 70.5 per cent, followed by 23 per cent increases for large and upper-large SUVs, and a 16 per cent rise in sales of mid-sized SUVs. Comparisons to April 2011 figures are not quite direct after the SUV segment was divided into four rather than three separate categories earlier this year.
The Toyota Prado was the most popular 4WD/SUV in April, with 1790 sales, with the Mazda CX-5 making it a second consecutive month of impressive sales since launching, with 1413 units shifted from showrooms.
Other 4WDs/SUVs to break the 1000-unit barrier included the Ford Territory(1076) and Toyota Kluger (1047). The Hyundai ix35 (971), Subaru Forester (989), Nissan X-Trail (957) and Toyota RAV4 (945) all came close.
A light-commercial vehicle, however, was the best-selling model in April 2012, with the Toyota HiLux pushing the usual incumbent, the Mazda3, into second. The Holden Commodore slipped to fifth place, outsold again by the smaller Holden Cruze. Sandwiched in between was the Toyota Corolla, with 2573 sales.
A year-on-year increase of 7.4 per cent for light commercial vehicles was aided by two other utes featuring in the Top 10 list of best-selling vehicles for April, the Nissan Navara (1590) and Mitsubishi Triton (1482).
Ford was again a notable absentee from the Top 10, with its highest-volume model the Focus small car outselling the Falcon - 1105 versus 1009 units.
Ford’s market decline has seen it slip to fifth place in the ranking of most popular brands in Australia, though a year on year deficit of 2.5 per cent for April is relatively stable compared to some other brands, including Holden.
Mazda beat Holden into second place, as reported by CarAdvice earlier this week, as the local car maker’s struggles for April included a depleted stock of Colorado ute models as it awaits the all-new model arriving mid-year.
A 17 per cent decrease in sales left Holden in 10th place in the list of the worst-performing brands in April.
Chrysler’s woes continued, with the largest decline for the month – 90 per cent.
Mitsubishi had a poor month with sales down 29 per cent, while Ferrari (-43%) and Jaguar (-27%) were also notable brands in the bottom 10.
The Chrysler Group at least continues to revel in the success of Jeep, which grew sales by a staggering 237 per cent in April.
A number of brands saw a dramatic resurgence in sales for April compared to this period in 2011, including Skoda (+69%), Lexus (+60%), Ssangyong (+60%) and Mini (+32%).
Top 10 Best-selling Vehicles – April 2012
Toyota HiLux 3565
Toyota Corolla 2573
Holden Cruze 2315
Holden Commodore 2248
Hyundai i30 2147
Toyota Prado 1725
Toyota Camry 1602
Nissan Navara 1590
Mitsubishi Triton 1482
Top 10 Car Brands for Growth – April 2012
Land Rover +28%
Bottom 10 Car Brands for Growth – April 2012
Aston Martin -27%
Top 10 Best-selling Brands – April 2012
Top 10 Best-selling Brands – 2012 to date