We’ve seen declines in passenger cars, SUVs and light commercials alike, suggesting this year might see the market cool off ever-so-slightly.
Key players such as Mazda, Hyundai, Holden, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi and Jeep are all down, while market leader Toyota’s growth is pegged at less than 1 per cent — a good effort considering the circumstances.
But there are some brands swimming well against the proverbial tide and actually out of the block strongly. This is a list of the standouts.
Kia — 8189 (up 32.4 per cent or 2006 units)
After a monster 2016, the Korean brand is only getting stronger in 2017. Kia is now ninth in the sales charts ahead of Subaru and Honda, and nipping at Volkswagen’s heels.
Subaru — 7755 (up 11.7 per cent or 812 units)
The Pleiades brand just keep building on success, up double digits over its record 2016, with sales so far of 7755 units.
Honda — 6666 (up 7.9 per cent or 489 units)
The new-generation Civic sedan is carrying the can for Honda, compiling 1703 sales this year, up five-fold.
With a new-generation CR-V (pictured above) due in August and the new Civic hatch imminent, there’s no reason to suspect Honda can’t have a positive year again.
Renault — 1668 (up 21.6 per cent or 296 units)
After a lacklustre 2016, French brand Renault is bouncing back, up almost 22 per cent this year to a respectable 1668 units (more than Jeep and Lexus).
Contradicting a drop in light car sales, the Clio has grown 37 per cent to 316 units thanks to sharp deals. The new Koleos is also doing well, with 366 sales up more than 500 per cent. The Master range is also well up (436 total).
The new Megane has perhaps failed to fire (173, up 9 per cent), while the Trafic (233) is steady. Finally, the Captur has capitulated, down 90 per cent, though it appears stock is limited. Perhaps Renault has been clearing out demonstrators.
Jaguar — 519 (up 27.5 per cent or 112 units)
The new F-Pace crossover is off to a strong start, with 276 sales to the end of February.
There are also a few smaller-volume brands who are performing well, proportionally, including:
Infiniti on 171 (up 94.3 per cent or 83 units); Maserati on 154 (up 94.9 per cent or 76 units); LDV on 308 (up 28.9 per cent or 69 units); and McLaren on 19 (up 216.7 per cent or 13 units), more than tripling in sales.