Australia’s new vehicle market is now on track to grow over last year’s all-time annual record tally of 1,178,133 units.
The blistering June 2017 result of 134,171 units (up 4.4 per cent) propelled cumulative half-year (H1) sales to 599,552, a number that is 1412 units (or 0.2 per cent) higher than the market stood at the same time last year.
June 2017 was the biggest-single selling month ever, and puts the market in the black compared to 2016 — which itself broke the all-time record set in 2015 — for the first time, after we saw a few months of negative growth earlier.
VFACTS figures provided by the industry’s peak body show annual SUV sales growth of 5 per cent to 233,498 units — sufficient to eclipse combined sales of all conventional passenger car types including hatches, sedans, wagons, people-movers, coupes and convertibles (230,267).
Medium SUVs are the clear beacon for the industry. This segment led by the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail is up by more than 16 per cent this year, equating to gross numerical growth over six months of 13,763 units.
A corollary of the SUV boom is that passenger vehicles’ sales declined once again, this time by almost 7 per cent, and all core areas from micro cars through to upper-large cars, via small/medium/large cars, went backwards against 2016. Only sports cars are notably up, thanks to the massively popular Ford Mustang.
The strongest area of market-wide growth was in commercial vehicles, where light commercials — utes and most vans — grew in popularity by 5.4 per cent, taking their market share to about 20 per cent, equating to one-in-five of all vehicle sales.
Befitting this trend, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes are in fact the clubhouse sales sales leaders at the halfway mark, with 23,378 units and 21,638 units sold over H1 respectively, against 19,454 Toyota Corollas and 18,052 Mazda 3s.
On a market-share basis, the overall most popular vehicle segments were small cars (eg. Toyota Corolla) on 18.7 per cent, medium SUVs on 16.3 per cent, 4x4 utes (eg. Ford Ranger) on 13.9 per cent, and large SUVs (eg. Toyota Prado) on 12 per cent.
On a State-based basis, it’s Victoria that’s driving the market recovery — despite being number-two in sales to New South Wales — up by 4.4 per cent to 168,328 units (202,417 for NSW). Western Australia has declined 7 per cent to 48,224, while fellow resource-rich State Queensland is a little better off (120,154 units, down 1.5 per cent).
Buyer types are interesting, with figures showing that 51 per cent of all purchasers are classified as private buyers (including novated leasing), against 41 per cent for business fleets — though the gap has narrowed over 2016. Government and rental-company fleet purchases make up the remainder.
Our soon-to-die mainstream Australian series-car manufacturing industry has accounted for just 4.7 per cent of new vehicles sold. Our biggest trading partners have been Japan (29 per cent), Thailand (25 per cent), South Korea (15 per cent) and Germany (8 per cent).
Top 20 brands over H1, 2017
up 6.5 per cent
up 0.9 per cent
down 8.3 per cent
down 12.3 per cent
up 0.8 per cent
up 6.5 per cent
down 10.6 per cent
down 2.3 per cent
up 35 per cent
up 7.9 per cent
up 7.9 per cent
up 11.2 per cent
down 18.5 per cent
up 5.6 per cent
down 12 per cent
down 3.6 per cent
down 14.7 per cent
up 1.1 per cent
down 0.3 per cent
down 35 per cent
Top 20 models over H1, 2017
Toyota RAV 4