We’ve reached the halfway point of the year and the battle for the title of Australia’s favourite car could barely be closer.
After flying out the gate and establishing a 5000-unit lead by February, the Mazda 3 has been reeled in by the Toyota Corolla over the past four months, cutting its margin to just 358 vehicles (22,524 v 22,166) and setting up an intriguing race in the back half of 2014.
Sales of both models are up this year – the Mazda by 12.2 per cent, the Toyota by 5.7 per cent – bucking the trend of the market overall, which is down 2.4 per cent compared with the first half of 2013 (559,951 v 573,711).
The Toyota HiLux (19,160) sits in third position. Sales of the 4×2 variant have increased 1.7 per cent (5417), though the more popular 4×4 is down 10.7 per cent to 13,743 in a segment that is down 7.2 per cent overall.
The fourth-placed Holden Commodore has been the big winner in the first half of 2014, with sales of the traditional Australian-made family car up 58.8 per cent to 16,355 compared to this time last year. Its share of the large car segment has increased from 52.1 per cent at the end of June 2013 to a commanding 72.6 per cent this year as rivals, the 47th-placed Ford Falcon (3562, down 29.7 per cent) and Toyota Aurion (2257, down 19.1 per cent), continue their downward spiral.
The Hyundai i30 (15,692, fifth overall) is the next best of the small cars, with sales up 4.7 per cent. Hyundai’s small-car family sits outright third ahead of the HiLux when sales of the i30 and Elantra sedan (4352) are combined (20,044).
The Ford Ranger (13,443) is now clearly the second-best-selling ute in the country, with both the 4×2 (up 39.2 per cent) and 4×4 (up 24.1 per cent) finding favour among buyers.
A monster June for the Mitsubishi Triton saw it climb to seventh overall (11,838), narrowly beating the top-selling SUV, the Mazda CX-5 (11,006, up 9.0 per cent), the Volkswagen Golf (10,736, up 46.6 per cent), and the Toyota Camry (10,118, down 0.2 per cent), which rounds out the top 10.
A sales dip of 4.7 per cent has done little to dent Toyota’s dominance at the top of the brand chart. Its 101,105 mid-year total is almost double that of any other manufacturer, though its share of the market has fallen from 18.5 per cent to 18.1.
Second-placed Holden is up 10.1 per cent so far this year (56,773), pulling clear of Mazda (51,910, down 0.7 per cent) and Hyundai (49,597, up 3.4 per cent), which are fighting a fierce battle for the final step on the podium.
Ford (42,242, down 5.1 per cent) sits alone in fifth, ahead of a three-way stoush between Nissan (33,155, down 24.8 per cent), Mitsubishi (32,676, down 12.5 per cent) and Volkswagen (28,571, up 3.3 per cent).
Subaru is down 3.3 per cent but holds on to ninth place (20,040), while rapidly sliding Honda (15,443, down 34.1 per cent) just clings to bottom rung of the top 10, holding off Kia (15,299, up 0.2 per cent) and the top-selling luxury brand Mercedes-Benz (15,006, up 14.3 per cent).
Fiat (2999, up 222.1 per cent), Isuzu (7846, up 57.8 per cent), Renault (4380, up 52.5 per cent), Jeep (14,207, up 43.2 per cent), Audi (9661, up 18.5 per cent) and Land Rover (5112, up 16.6 per cent) have all made strong starts to the 2014.
Suzuki has been a big loser, plummeting 24.4 per cent to 8883 sales and 16th position overall, while Great Wall has also disappointed, down 56.0 per cent to 1691.
Top 50 Best-selling Vehicles – January to June 2014
Top 25 Best-selling Brands – January to June 2014