The Toyota Corolla has officially become Australia’s most popular vehicle in 2013, a significant milestone for the Japanese brand that despite dominating the manufacturer's charts since 2003 has never scored the title of this country's top-selling nameplate.

2012 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

In a record year for new car sales that totalled 1.136 million overall, up 2.2 per cent on 2012, Toyota sold 43,498 Corollas in 2013, up 12.1 per cent, dethroning small car rival and 2011 and 2012 sales leader, the Mazda 3, which totalled 42,082 units, down 4.6 per cent.

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While 2013 will be remembered as a dark year for the Australian automotive industry – with announcements from Ford in May and Holden in December that each would cease local production in 2016 and 2017 respectively – it will go down in history as the most successful for the industry as a whole, with sales reaching a new record high.

A total of 1,136,227 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in Australia in 2013, eclipsing the old record set the previous year by 24,195 vehicles or 2.2 per cent.

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Fourth place overall switched back to the small car segment, with the Hyundai i30 (30,582 – up 7.9 per cent) just edging out two perennial locally-made models, the fifth-placed Holden Commodore (27,766 – down 9.1 per cent) and sixth-placed Toyota Camry (24,860 – down 8.7 per cent).

With Triton in seventh, eighth place belonged to another Australian built car, the Holden Cruze, which despite the launch of a Series II overhaul earlier in the year fell by a hefty 16.3 per cent to 24,421 units.

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Passenger cars represented half of all sales in 2013, securing 566,454 sales, down 1.6 per cent on 2012. The SUV segment grew at almost four times the rate of the whole market (8.5 per cent versus 2.2 per cent), with three SUVs in the top 15 in 2013 compared with just one in 2012, and 333,511 high-riders sold.

Light commercial vehicles split the difference, up 3.5 per cent on last year to round out the total market with 204,566 sales.

Toyota and Holden again kept Mazda (103,144 sales, down 0.7 per cent) to third position overall, ahead of Hyundai (97,006, up 6.0 per cent) and Ford (87,236, down 3.5 per cent).

Mitsubishi-Triton

Sixth-placed Nissan (76,733, down 3.8 per cent) kept itself just ahead of an big-improving Mitsubishi (71,528, up 21.5 per cent) while heavily publicised transmission reliability issues no doubt contributed to next-best Volkswagen being more than 15,000 units behind, its 54,892 total rising by just 0.1 per cent.

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Top 20 Best-selling Vehicles – 2013

  1. Toyota Corolla – 43,498
  2. Mazda 3 – 42,082
  3. Toyota HiLux – 39,931
  4. Hyundai i30 – 30,582
  5. Holden Commodore – 27,766
  6. Toyota Camry – 24,860
  7. Mitsubishi Triton – 24,512
  8. Holden Cruze – 24,421
  9. Nissan Navara – 24,108
  10. Ford Ranger – 21,752
  11. Mazda CX-5 – 20,129
  12. Ford Focus – 19,180
  13. Hyundai ix35 – 19,086
  14. Volkswagen Golf – 17,342
  15. Holden Colorado – 17,203
  16. Toyota RAV4 – 16,983
  17. Mazda 2 – 15,167
  18. Toyota Prado – 14,568
  19. Ford Territory and Honda Civic – 14,261

Top 20 Best-selling Brands – 2013

  1. Toyota – 214,630
  2. Holden – 112,059
  3. Mazda – 103,144
  4. Hyundai – 97,006
  5. Ford – 87,236
  6. Nissan – 76,733
  7. Mitsubishi – 71,528
  8. Volkswagen – 54,892
  9. Subaru – 40,200
  10. Honda – 39,258
  11. Kia – 29,778
  12. Mercedes-Benz – 27,547
  13. Jeep – 22,170
  14. Suzuki – 22,075
  15. BMW – 20,522
  16. Audi – 16,009
  17. Isuzu Ute – 10,209
  18. Land Rover – 8350
  19. Renault – 7016
  20. Lexus – 6920