Growth brands of 2015 so far

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New vehicle sales in Australia have returned to a positive position this year, with registrations over the first two months of the year growing by 2 per cent over a flat 2014.

But some brands are punching well above this figure, recording double-digit growth levels that must surely be putting a smile on their collective dials.

Here is a break down of those brands that are performing best. We’re only listing brands with sufficient numbers to record substantive growths in both volume and percentage alike.


Mainstream brands

A handful of bread-and-butter brands are off to strong starts this year.

Honda has had a small resurgence so far, up 9.2 per cent to 5604 units thanks to the growing Jazz and City, as well as a powerful start for the new HR-V with 825 registrations in February. Fellow Japanese brand Suzuki is up 30 per cent to 3099, a result of significantly better supply lines in place this year than this time in 2014.

Bigger-volume Japanese brands Nissan (up 21 per cent to 10,521) and Mitsubishi (up 17 per cent to 10,322 units) have also started well. The former is leaning on the new X-Trail, though the Qashqai is better placed than the Dualis was this time last year. The latter has more than doubled ASX registrations.

Of note is the fact that is numerical terms, Nissan and Mitsubishi (up 1810 units and 1499 units apiece) have experienced the market's biggest increase in those terms, if not the biggest on a percentage basis.

Volkswagen is also up, about 10 per cent to 9286 units. The biggest growth cars in terms of gross volume are — in descending order — the Polo, Tiguan, Jetta and Passat.

In the SUV space, Jeep has grown a further 12 per cent on the back of the new Cherokee, with an excellent 1469 units countering double-digit declines in its other models.


The three premium Germans

Once again, the trio of big German luxury brands are luring more buyers into their increasingly affordable offerings. Registrations continue at record levels, with Mercedes-Benz (up 21 per cent to 5338), beating Audi (up 12 per cent to 3624) and nudging out BMW (up 13.5 per cent to 3544).

The biggest growth models for each brand respectively were the C-Class and CLA, the A3 and Q5, and the X5. But each has added incremental numbers via new models sans predecessor, such as the GLA, A3 convertible and X4.

Just for those interested, rival Lexus is up 0.8 per cent to 1139, despite a strong start for the all-new NX which has added 275 incremental sales.


Niche marques

Citroen has grown 18 per cent over the first two months of the year to 190 units, thanks to the C4 tripling in volume, while fellow PSA brand Peugeot has grown an even better 25.5 per cent to 811. The new 308 is up more than 200 per cent.

Fellow French marque Renault is spanking them both though, up 30 per cent to 1295 units, thanks to the Kangoo, Clio and incremental sales from the Captur, with 176 registrations over its first month.

Other European niche brands to grow are Mini (up 29 per cent thanks to better supply of the new-generation hatch), Skoda (up 52 per cent to 678 on the back of the new Octavia ) and Porsche (up 42 per cent with with 257 incremental Macan registrations). Maserati also grew almost 200 per cent thanks to the Ghibli.

Finally, Infiniti is up 44 per cent, though off a low base and up to 85 units, as its Q50 slowly gains traction. The mid-sized sedan accounts for half its total volume.


Commercial brands

The big mover in the commercial space is Isuzu Ute, which is up 55.5 per cent over its record 2014 figure, to 2631 sales — more than double Lexus and within cooee of Suzuki on 3099 units. The MU-X has boomed by 160 per cent to 928 units.

Also showing good growth for new importer Ateco is Chinese brand Foton and its Tunland Ute. The brand has recorded 209 registrations this year compared to 2014, when it was so minor its distributor then didn’t even enter it into VFACTS. Fellow Ateco acquisition LDV vans also has 68 new sales YTD.

These figures makeup somewhat for Ateco’s older — and likely doomed — Chinese entrant Great Wall, which has plummeted to new lows in 2015, down 91 per cent to 55 units. The clock appears to be ticking there.

Note: A follow-up on the biggest losers of January-February will come soon.