Holden, Ford and Toyota dominate, with a late entry from Mazda
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Every month, the latest VFACTS report sends CarAdvice into meltdown. Last month, the HiLux and Ranger maintained their spots atop the sales charts, continuing Australia's love affair with the dual-cab ute. But it wasn't always this way.

Here's a look at VFACTS data from January 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 for a better understanding of how the average Australian buyer's preferences have changed.

January 2013

Goodbye Ford, hello Mazda. Toyota topped the charts with 13,375 sales, followed by Mazda with 8912 and Holden with 8811. Ford was left languishing in fourth, shifting just 7721 vehicles for the month.

The Commodore barely outsold the Cruze, with 1656 and 1638 sales respectively. As an aside, the company sold 14 Volts for the month.

Over at Toyota, the Corolla (2960) was comfortably top-seller, ahead of the HiLux (2747) and Prado (1048).

Mazda rode the 3 (3345 units) and 2 (1665) on its way to second place, while the CX-5 also sold well (1625).

January 2008

Toyota beat Holden to first place, shifting 17,852 vehicles for a 21.7 per cent market share.

Holden lagged well behind, selling just 10,253 vehicles, while Ford sold 7676 cars for the month. Mazda wasn't far behind Ford, moving 7103 cars in January '08.

The decline of the large sedan was clear to see by '08 – Holden only sold 3210 examples of the Commodore, down from 3474 the year before.

The Corolla was Toyota's best-seller (3843 units), while the Aurion (1266) came close to outselling the Camry (1385). Meanwhile, the company moved 3020 HiLuxes.

Ford was feeling the pinch by this point, selling just 1916 Falcons for the month. The Focus (1823) and Territory (1099) both came close to toppling the big sedan for sales supremacy.

January 2003

Surprise, surprise: Holden topped the charts with 12,316 sales, of which 9469 were passenger cars, 637 were SUVs, and 2210 were light trucks. The Commodore dominated the charts with 6261 sales (5337 sedan/wagon, 924 ute).

Toyota came in second with 11,998 vehicles – 6720 passenger cars, 2612 SUV sales and 2642 light trucks. The company shifted 2553 Corollas, 2281 Camrys and 1151 RAV4s.

Ford rounded out the podium, selling 7176 cars in January '03. With 5539 units moved, the Falcon was its best seller.

January 1998

Holden topped the sales charts in January '98, selling 7076 passenger cars and 1617 commercial vehicles, for a total of 8684 vehicles. Toyota came in second, tallying 8627 sales in total – 4595 of them passenger cars, and 3963 of them commercial – while Ford rounded out the podium with 7960 sales.

A whopping 5154 of Holden sales were Commodores (4017 sedans and 1137 wagons) for a 46.8 per cent share of the entire passenger car market. Oh, how times change. By way of comparison, Ford sold 3290 Falcons in the same period, giving the car a 29.9 per cent market share.

Toyota moved 1455 Corollas and 1505 Camrys for the month.