We’ve crossed the three-quarter-way mark of 2015, so it seems a good time to look at those 10 brands that have grown their sales fastest.
Just to be on this list is an impressive achievement. Of the 51 car/SUV/light commercial brands that take part in the VFACTS industry database, most are up this year. The total market is on record pace, and is up 3.6 per cent over 2014 at the same point in time.
There’s an interesting through-line as well, given six of these brands are based in Europe. Australian buyers have increasingly premium tastes, after all. Naturally, most of the brands here also operate at smaller volumes, because it’s easier to grow from a low base.
The largest-scale brand to make the list, Honda, is the market’s number 10 overall. But it’s also coming off a dreadful few years and has been revitalised by the new Jazz and newer HR-V, both of which are kicking big goals.
We should note that we’ve excluded a few very small-volume brands from our calculations, such as Ferrari (up 75.3 per cent to 135 units), Lamborghini (up 361.1 per cent to 83) and McLaren (up 52.6 per cent to 29). But there’s a trend among this trio too...
French brand Renault has been growing at double digits for a few years now, on the back of improved aftersales, sharper pricing, more dealers and strengthened van sales. It’s also in the global top three for Renault Sport hot hatch sales.
This trend has continued this year, with the brand up 26.1 per cent to 8698 units — well ahead of fellow French brand Peugeot (3223) and 17th in market overall.
The brand’s top-seller is the Clio — we’ve reported on its strong campaign pricing before — given it makes up almost a quarter of Renault’s sales on 2099. The Captur (1266), Koleos (1204), Megane (1085) and Master (1061) are also strong sellers.
Czech brand Skoda appears to be finally getting some traction after almost a decade on sale in Australia — though it has been dealt a blow of late.
Sales are up 26.4 per cent this year to 3570 units, more than half of which are the Octavia (1571) or Octavia Scout (303) combined. Other models include the Yeti (728), Rapid (299) and Superb (220).
With the new Fabia now on sale as of last month (just 449 units this year, with lots of upside), expect this trend to continue.
The Japanese brand has bounced back after a few dark years (a lack of product and big stock restrictions will do that), experiencing growth of 28.9 per cent to 30,454 units.
This places the once-mightier brand 10th overall, and puts it well on track to meet its target of 40K annual sales for the year, on its march (or, more accurately, return) to 60K annual sales by 2018.
The biggest success story is the HR-V, which has managed 8158 sales in no time flat, and is now the brand’s top-seller. The Jazz, with 7488 units (up 62 per cent) is also doing well, ahead of the CR-V (6322) and Civic (3386, down a huge 46 per cent).
Ok, so the Japanese luxury brand is coming off a very low base, but its 413 sales YTD is 30.7 per cent higher than this time last year. That’s something, right?
Almost all of these are the Q50 (223) and QX70 (123). But with the new Q30 coming soon, this ratio is bound to change. With more dealers on the way, could the company finally be getting a fingerhold?
6. Isuzu Ute
This is a truly impressive little company. A quiet achiever that lives the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid) mantra, given it offers just two cars — the D-Max ute and MU-X SUV.
Both are way up this year, by 31.2 per cent to 15,352. That’s greater volume than Suzuki.
Leading is the D-Max 4x2, up 107.7 per cent, while the bigger volume 4x4 is up 15.4 per cent to 8272 (ahead of the Mazda BT-50). The MU-X has managed 4698, up 38.9 per cent. It has outsold better-known names such as the Pathfinder and Pajero on the way.
One of the major trends in Australia is the growth of luxury brands. Leading the charge are the Germans — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz (the latter the biggest) — but relative minnow Lexus is also on a march.
Sales are up 32.3 per cent this year to 6583 — admittedly less than a quarter of Benz, and about one-third of BMW and Audi — on the back of the new NX SUV, which is the top-seller with 2173 units.
This has neatly erased the 21.8 per cent fall in IS sales, and the 11.5 per cent contraction in RX sales — a figure to be redressed by the all-new one launching in December.
Like Infiniti, we’re talking low numbers here, though significant enough to be, well… significant. Up 36.4 per cent to 412 units, thanks to the Ghibli sedan (up 78 per cent to 272 units).
Despite their advancing years, the Gran Turismo and Cabrio are also up 14 per cent to 96 units. Only the Quattroporte is down, in its second year, by 32 per cent to 44 units. The Levante SUV can’t come soon enough…
The little British brand (by way of German parent BMW) that could, is up by 45.1 per cent to 2521 units, with the new hatch almost doubling its volume to 2017 on the back of better supply and the addition of a five-door body-style.
This offsets marked declines in the niche Coupe/Roadster and Paceman, and smaller declines in the Cabrio and Countryman — Mini’s only other volume-ish seller (405 units).
That’s what a new SUV will do for you… Porsche sales are up 65.5 per cent to 3345 this year — greater than Peugeot, on 3223. Almost half of these (1604) are the Macan, up 350 per cent.
Its Cayenne big brother is also up, by 8.1 percent to 1040. Making up the numbers are the 911 (up 17.2 per cent to 334), Cayman (down 9.3 per cent to 165), Boxster (down 5.5 per cent to 156) and Panamera (down 33.3 per cent to 46).
1. Foton Light
Chinese ute-maker Foton has a new Australian distributor — Ateco Automotive — that has grown its presence and improved the prices, and thereby driven sales up by 205.5 per cent to 834 units.
Foton’s only model remains the Cummins-powered Tunland ute, and while it’s a minnow in the segment, it’s taken over from Great Wall (now in limbo) as the main Chinese option.