The Australian-built large car couldn't quite clamber above fourth place overall, however, beaten soundly by the new Mazda 3 (3969), Toyota HiLux (3348) and Toyota Corolla (3332) - though the latter, last year's number one, already sits about 2300 units behind its Mazda small car rival just two months into the new year.
In fifth place was another small car, the Hyundai i30 (2372), while the Ford Ranger (1901), Toyota Camry (1891), Volkswagen Golf (1780), Mazda CX-5 (1752) and a resurgent Toyota RAV4 (1614) rounded out the Top 10 in a February market that saw 86,818 new cars pass through showrooms - 3400 sales or 3.8 per cent down on February 2013.
February's figure has placed the year-to-date Australian market total at 169,103 - or 6545 and 3.7 per cent behind last year's record year - although the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) continues to forecast a 1.112 million market for 2014.
While the passenger car market remained steady, the SUV class has dropped 1722 vehicles or 3.2 per cent year-to-date. On the rise are small cars (up 8.7 per cent), large cars (on the back of Commodore, up 11 per cent) and small SUVs (up 7.8 per cent), but falling are upper large SUVs (down 18.8 per cent), light cars (down 17.2 per cent), large SUVs (down 6.0 per cent) and medium SUVs (down 4.8 per cent).
Toyota led the top-brands charts with 16,200 sales in February for a 18.7 per cent share of the market, while Mazda again beat Holden - 9171 versus 8697 - for second. Hyundai also stayed well ahead of Ford - 7802 plays 6287 - while the bottom half of the top 10 consisted of Mitsubishi (4683), which overtook Nissan (4458), which in turn had its heels nipped at by Volkswagen (4376), while Subaru (3121) was in ninth and Honda (2662) edged out Kia for tenth spot.
Although light cars are down so far this year, the Mazda 2 (1242), Hyundai i20 (1165) and Toyota Yaris (954) comfortably led the class, posting almost double the figures of the next-best Kia Rio (599), Volkswagen Polo (565) and Suzuki Swift (558).
Beyond the top three of the booming small car class were the Volkswagen Golf (1780) in fourth, followed by the Holden Cruze (1433) and Ford Focus (1355) that are both down 16.0 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively year to date.
It remains a three-fold drop from Camry to second-placed Mazda 6 (616) in the stagnant medium class, with third place halving the figure again, the Ford Mondeo notching up 307 sales. In fact, even in its twilight years, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (512) almost doubled the sales figure of the BMW 3 Series (260) in the premium medium category.
Sad news continues for Ford Falcon fans with another pitiful 549-unit total for February only a slight improvement on last month, but still leaving the nameplate down 38.6 per cent, and one-fifth of arch-rival Commodore's total.
Looking at the sports below $80K class, the Toyota 86 (453) soundly beat its Hyundai Veloster (273) rival.
In SUV land, the small segment was headed by the Nissan Dualis (727), followed by the Subaru XV (678) and Mitsubishi ASX (571).
Beyond the CX-5 and RAV4 in the medium SUV class was the Hyundai ix35 (the FCAI incorrectly calls it a small SUV, but it's not, so it places third with 1491 sales), followed by the Subaru Forester (1165) and Honda CR-V (810).
The Jeep Grand Cherokee (1370) continues to dominate the large SUV category, with the Toyota Prado (1275) close behind, but closer rivals the Holden Captiva 7 (801), Ford Territory (789) and Toyota Kluger (589, although it is about to be replaced) paling alongside the US-built brute.
Most 4x2 ute buyers are heading straight for the HiLux, with 974 sales almost double that of the Holden Ute (459), Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton (436 each). It gives the Toyota a healthy leg-up once 4x4 ute sales are added, and its 2374 total remains comfortably ahead of Ranger (1465), Holden Colorado (1177) and Nissan Navara (1126).
Top 10 Best-selling Vehicles – February 2014
- Mazda 3 – 3969
- Toyota HiLux – 3348
- Toyota Corolla – 3332
- Holden Commodore – 2777
- Hyundai i30 – 2372
- Ford Ranger – 1901
- Toyota Camry – 1891
- Volkswagen Golf – 1780
- Mazda CX-5 – 1752
- Toyota RAV4 – 1614
Top 10 Best-selling Brands – February 2014
- Toyota – 16,200
- Mazda – 9172
- Holden – 8697
- Hyundai – 7802
- Ford – 6287
- Mitsubishi – 4683
- Nissan – 4458
- Volkswagen – 4376
- Subaru – 3121
- Honda – 2662