The Australian new vehicle market scaled new heights in 2017, growing 0.9 per cent to 1,189,116 self-reported ‘sales’ for the year.
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According to VFACTS data supplied by the industry’s lobby group, called the FCAI, 42 car and commercial brands out of a field of 73 paid-up members (a notable absentee includes Tesla) recorded positive growth.

But some grew more than others. This story tracks the brands that recorded the most sales growth by raw numbers, and also those which grew the most proportionally.

The former measure favours big-volume companies with high profiles, the latter favours smaller operators where low number increases can represent big percentage growth.

Top 5 growers by sales

Kia - up 12,069 units

The Korean sister company to bigger Hyundai had a scorcher, growing from 42,668 sales in 2016 to 54,737 last year - climbing to ninth overall between Nissan and Subaru.

MVPs were the Cerato and Sportage, up 43 per cent and 23 per cent apiece, accounting for about 32,000 sales between them. Every car played its role though, except the Optima - down 46.5 per cent in a tough segment.

Mitsubishi - up 7286 units

The Japanese staple doesn’t have a lot of sex appeal about its models, but sharp-as-hell pricing, a happiness to sell to big fleet operators, and famous reliability, all helped it grow from 73,368 in 2016 to 80,654 units last year.

This made it the fifth biggest-selling brand here, ahead of Ford. The Outlander SUV grew 34 per cent to 16,632 units, while the big-selling Triton 4x4, ASX (now the #1 small SUV by sales) and the Pajero Sport all helped make big impacts.

Toyota - up 6956 units

The overall market leader sold 216,566 vehicles last year, a pretty remarkable achievement. Its growth rate was only 3.3 per cent, but at this scale that equates to an extra 6956 units over 2016’s tally.

Big volume additions from the brand new C-HR, the HiLux (Australia’s #1 vehicle), plus the RAV4, Prado and LandCruiser families, all offset declining Yaris, Corolla, Camry, Aurion and Fortuner deliveries.

Honda - up 5945 units

It’s been a tough decade for the brand once known as ‘Japan’s BMW’. And while it’s not yet back to the 60k volume it managed at its height, a return of 46,783 units last year made for a big step up over the 40,838 it sold in 2016.

The addition of a hatchback option saw Civic sales more than double, with the small car becoming Honda’s overall #1. The brand new CR-V also chipped in, helping offset declines from the also-popular Jazz, HR-V and Odyssey.

Subaru - up 5493 units

Fellow Japanese brand Subaru topped 50,000 claimed sales last year, growing nearly 12 per cent to a YTD tally of 52,511 units.

It was the new Impreza and its XV spin-off that dominated, the former managing 7000 more deliveries than it did over the previous year and the latter about 1900. Liberty, Outback and Forester fell slightly, but not enough to take away lustre.

Top 5 growers by percentage

Haval - up 148.3 per cent

Chinese SUV maker Haval managed to record 710 ‘sales’ last year, which is way below the sort of ludicrously bold targets it set itself early on, but still similar to Citroen’s haul and nearly triple Chrysler’s.

The H6 managed 308 units, the H2 did 297, the H9 did 59 and the H8 grabbed 46. With the new H7 coming this year, and an upgraded H9 also, there’s some scope for positivity.

Lotus - up 100 per cent

The iconic British brand has a new importer, and doubled its sales to 62 units. Yeah, okay, that’s pretty tiny.

LDV - up 67.3 per cent

Australia’s biggest-selling brand from China (unless you count Geely-owned Volvo) sold 2580 units last year, most being the G10 van and people-mover, plus the aged V80 van.

Yet, with the new T60 ute (which we frustratingly are struggling to source for review, prompting us to ask more than a few questions of LDV’s importer, Ateco) and D90 SUV rolling out, there’s a good chance it’ll about double again this year.

Maserati - up 53.2 per cent

Turns out adding an SUV to the ranks helps! The Levante added more than 400 sales to the brand’s haul over the previous year, offsetting a 34 per cent decline in Ghibli sedan sales.

Alfa Romeo - up 48.7 per cent

Fellow Italian FCA subsidiary Alfa grabbed 1057 sales last year, with 639 of these being the new Giulia sedan. With the Stelvio crossover near, the only way is further up.

Top brands of 2017 by sales

Toyota216,566Up 3.3%
Mazda116,349Down 1.6%
Hyundai97,013Down 4.5%
Holden 90,306Down 4.2%
Mitsubishi80,654Up 9.9%
Ford78,161Down 3.8%
Volkswagen58,004Up 2.5%
Nissan56,594Down 15.3%
Kia54,737Up 28.3%
Subaru 52,511Up 11.7%
Honda46,783Up 14.6%
Mercedes-Benz42,489Up 4.3%
Isuzu Ute25,804Up 10.4%
BMW23,619Down 15.7%
Audi22,011Down 9.3%
Suzuki19,256Down 1.2%
Land Rover13,112Down 3.6%
Renault10,812Down 2.7%
Lexus 8800Down 2.5%
Jeep8270Down 34.5%