Light commercial vehicles nailed it in May, recording 10.6 per cent growth year-on-year and managing overall market share of exactly 20 per cent. That means one in every five new vehicles purchases last month was a ute, van or light bus of some variety.
Just to put a point on the exclamation mark, the Toyota HiLux was the second top-selling vehicle again last month, and so far this year it’s the market’s number one new vehicle of any stripe, ahead of the Hyundai i30. The Ford Ranger ute sits fifth overall YTD.
Year to date (YTD) this figure is nearly as strong, with Australians buying 87,676 light commercials, up 11.1 per cent over the record-breaking 2015 calendar year’s equivalent cumulative total, and enough for YTD share of 18.7 per cent.
High time for a closer look, then.
This is the most significant and substantial area of the light commercial market. Sales were up 8 per cent to 12,635 in May. Annual sales are also up, by 10.8 per cent. The only more popular segments are Small Cars and Medium SUVs.
King of the hill is the Toyota HiLux with 2736 units in May, up 26 per cent, just ahead of the Ford Ranger with 2617, up 36.6 per cent. This battle of the heavyweights remains close, and entertaining.
Next were the Nissan Navara thanks to discount campaigns (1501, up a massive 90 per cent). Two discount kings, the Holden Colorado and Mitsubishi Triton, had poor May figures, with 1279 (down 4.2 per cent) and 1259 (down 44.3 per cent) respectively.
Next in line were the Isuzu D-Max (929, down 2.1 per cent), Mazda BT-50 (804, up 13.1 per cent), Volkswagen Amarok (751, up 0.9 per cent), Toyota LandCruiser (652, up 1.9 per cent), Foton Tunland (60), Nissan Patrol (25, down 34.2 per cent), Ram 2500 and 3500 (21) and the SsangYong Actyon Sports (just the one unit).
The year to date (YTD) champion is the HiLux, just ahead of the Ranger, then a bit further back to the Triton, Colorado, Navara, D-Max, BT-50, Amarok and LandCruiser, in that order.
Sales here are more limited, with 4208, up 19.6 per cent. YTD sales are up 13.7 per cent to 18,147.
The HiLux is king here as well, with 939 units in May despite a 5.7 per cent drop, ahead of the Triton (762, up a whopping 81 per cent), Ranger (498, up 0.6 per cent), Aussie-made Holden Ute (497, up 21.5 per cent), D-Max (422, up 86.7 per cent) and BT-50 (400, up 10.5 per cent).
Making up the numbers in May were the Navara (251, up six-fold), Falcon Ute (236, down 2.1 per cent), Colorado (135, down 44.9 per cent), Amarok (just 59, down 11.9 per cent) and the SsangYong, again with just one unit.
The YTD champion is the HiLux, ahead of the Ranger, Holden Ute, Triton, BT-50, D-Max, Navara, Falcon, Colorado, Amarok and SsangYong. There’s also been one old-stock Great Wall sold.
But it’s the battle of the Euros that’s entertaining. King in May was the Volkswagen Transporter (164, up 59 per cent), ahead of the Renault Trafic (146, up 23.7 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz Vito (95, up 9 per cent). The Ford Transit Custom grabbed 81, down 12.9 per cent.
Rounding out the numbers were the LDV G10 (53) and V80 (43), both from China, ahead of the Italian Fiat Scudo (16).
The YTD champion is the HiAce, ahead of the iLoad, Trafic, Transporter, Vito, Transit Custom, LDV V80, LDV G10 and Scudo.
Vans < 2.5t
The miniature van market is small and closely fought. Sales have cooled this year by 15 per cent after a big 2015.
Despite lacking diesel stock, the new-generation Volkswagen Caddy was the winner with 180 (down 21.7 per cent), ahead of the Renault Kangoo (91, down 18.8 per cent), Suzuki APV (37, down 11.9 per cent), Citroen Berlingo (31, up 19.2 per cent) and Fiat Doblo (6, down 33.3 per cent).
The YTD figures are in the same order.
Vans 3.5t - 8.0t
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (used for Ambulances) topped this part of the market with 232 sales (971 YTD), ahead of the Renault Master (164 in May, and 694 YTD) used by Australia Post.
Interestingly, 1148 buses with fewer than 20 seats have been sold so far in 2016, almost the same total as the light vans tally (1385).
Toyota won this market too, in May, with the HiAce bus (215, down 17 per cent), ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Bus (58, up a huge 240 per cent), the new Renault Master Bus (58), Ford Transit Bus (6) and LDV V80 (2).
YTD, the HiAce owns a massive 80 per cent market share. Thanks, taxi companies and airport shuttles…
Among the bigger buses (beyond the full-on coaches), it’s a battle of two: the Mitsubishi Rosa (31, up 19 per cent) and Toyota Coaster (16, down 11 per cent). The YTD tallies respectively it at 173 units and 83 units. Finally, Toyota loses something.