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Australia’s new vehicle sales in March hit a record high of 106,988 units, according to company-provided figures collated by industry peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

This increase of 4.4 per cent over March 2017 took quarter-one sales to 291,538, up 1.5 per cent over last year’s record. March is always a high-volume month on the calendar.

The push for ceaseless growth within Australia’s intensely crowded and fragmented market continues unabated. Consider this: nine of the past 11 months have produced all-time record tallies.

Five states and territories recorded gains during March. The Northern Territory led the way with 12.8 per cent growth, followed by the ACT with 7.9 per cent, then Victoria (6.3), Queensland (1.8), and Western Australia (1.3). South Australia, Tasmania and NSW all recorded falls.

SUVs dominated the market, recording a 42.6 per cent share compared to 33.8 per cent share for other passenger vehicles, and 20.5 per cent for light commercials — two of which, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, were once again the nation’s two most popular vehicles of any type.

 

Our infographic excludes heavy commercials and rounds out the data accordingly. HCVs managed 3.2 per cent share.

“To have the market at 4.4 per cent ahead of last year’s record total is a clear vote of consumer confidence in the economy’s stability and low interest rates, both key factors which encourage private buyers and businesses into new vehicles,” FCAI chief Tony Weber stated.


Brands

Toyota won out as per usual with 18,878 sales, a 4 per cent fall over last March, brought about principally by a 39 per cent fall in Camry sales as stocks of Australia made models vanish, and the smaller-volume imported model gets rolling in earnest.

Mazda fell 7 per cent but still secured second spot on the table with 9723 sales, led by the Mazda 3 and CX-5. Third was Mitsubishi, belying its ageing line-up thanks to a strong fleet presence and some remarkably sharp pricing coinciding with the end of Japanese financial year. Its 8810 sales was a March record.

Hyundai fell back 3 per cent to 8443, but has a clear gap to fifth-placed Ford on 6687 – 60 per cent of which were Ranger sales. Nissan performed well by growing around the market average to 6191 units thanks to bumper X-Trail and Qashqai sales.

The massive improver once again was Honda, with the new CR-V, plus the Civic and HR-V, driving it to 80 per cent growth in March, recording 5586 sales. Its Q1 tally of 15,129 is up 55 per cent, and almost level with Holden’s.

Subaru recorded its 39th successive growth month with 5195 sales, and remarkably beat a decimated Holden, which fell 29 per cent to 5116 units as Astra and Equinox failed to fire. Commodore managed a solid enough 990 units, though this is half what the VFII achieved in March ’17.

Volkswagen slotted in above Holden in ninth on a fairly steady 5137, ahead of Kia, which has seen its growth rate slow after a booming 2017, but which is still going upwards Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu Ute, BMW and Suzuki all recorded strong months as well.

Smaller scale brands that grew included Audi (after a long stagnation, it shot up 23 per cent to 1860), Alfa Romeo (up 45 per cent top 133), Mini (373, up 13 per cent), Skoda (426, up 10 per cent), Renault (1007, up 6 per cent) and Volvo Car (500, up 35.5 per cent thanks to XC60).

Big things are also happening at a few of the market’s Chinese brands. Light commercial and SUV maker LDV was up an amazing 243 per cent to 521 (yes, ahead of Skoda), while MG managed 142, up 168 per cent. Haval fell 23 per cent to just 53.

Struggling marques beyond those mentioned included Citroen (36, down 48 per cent), Fiat (93, down 49.5 per cent), Infiniti (43, down 62 per cent), Jaguar (234, down 22 per cent), Jeep (633, down 26 per cent), Land Rover (1093, down 31 per cent), Lexus (863, down 7 per cent), Maserati (54, down 13 per cent), Peugeot (Sime Darby honeymoon over? 163, down 24 per cent) and Porsche (333, down 10 per cent).


Cars

Three of the top four vehicles were utes, with the Toyota HiLux #1 ahead of the Ford Ranger at #2 (though top dog in the profitable 4×4 race) and the Mitsubishi Triton #4.

In third, fifth and sixth were small cars, in order: Toyota Corolla , Mazda 3 and Hyundai i30. The next four top-sellers are SUVS, the Nissan X-Trail has a smashing month ahead of the Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.

This means that of the top 10, three are utes, four are SUVs and three are passenger cars.

Top three models per segment:

Light cars 7289 Hyundai Accent 1551 Mazda 2 947 Honda Jazz 907
Small cars 18,580 Toyota Corolla 3218 Mazda 3 2780 Hyundai i30 2719
Medium cars 4645 Toyota Camry 1416 Mercedes C-Class 610 Mercedes CLA 399
Large cars 1586 Holden Commodore 990 Kia Stinger 184 BMW 5 Series 115
People movers 1176 Kia Carnival 506 Honda Odyssey 230 VW Multivan 101
Sports cars 2063 Ford Mustang 705 Mercedes C-Class 185 BMW 2 Series 159
SUV small 12,975 Mitsubishi ASX 2337 Nissan Qashqai 1497 Subaru XV 1416
SUV medium 19,116 Nissan X-Trail 2504 Mazda CX-5 2261 Toyota RAV4 1952
SUV large 11,884 Toyota Prado 1677 Toyota Kluger 1144 Subaru Outback 1107
SUV upper large 1590 Toyota LandCruiser 1276 Nissan Patrol 163 Mercedes GLS 85
Vans < 3.5t 1968 Toyota HiAce 571 Hyundai iLoad 392 Renault Trafic 201
Utes 4×2 Toyota HiLux 1124 Ford Ranger 597 Isuzu D-Max 514
Utes 4×4 Ford Ranger 3467 Toyota HiLux 3224 Mitsubishi Triton 2788

 


Miscellaneous

  • States/territories: NSW 35,754, Vic 31,105, Qld 21,591, WA 8821, SA 6332, ACT 1816, Tas 1502, NT 1067.
  • Top five segments by share: Medium SUVs 17.9; Small cars 17.4, 4×4 Utes 14.9, Small SUVs 12.1, Large SUVs 11.1.
  • Overall buyer-type split: Private 47,996, business 44,690, government 3470, rental 7386
  • Fuel-type split: Petrol 67,761, diesel 37,859, hybrid 1202, EV/PHEV 166 (excluding Tesla, which refuses to disclose figures)
  • Top-five origin countries: Japan 33,539, Thailand 28,589, Korea 15,021, Germany 8461, USA 3787 (Australian-made 709, runout stock)

Tables

Brand March ‘18 sales March ‘17 sales
Toyota 18,878 19,652
Mazda 9723 10,472
Mitsubishi 8810 7619
Hyundai 8443 8700
Ford 6687 6852
Nissan 6191 5620
Honda 5586 3106
Subaru 5195 5006
Holden 5116 7211
Volkswagen 5137 5122
Kia 5084 4684
Mercedes-Benz 3786 3945
Isuzu Ute 2580 2074
BMW 2229 2220
Suzuki 1913 1792

 

Model March ‘18 sales March ‘17 sales
Toyota HiLux 4348 4242
Ford Ranger 4064 3845
Toyota Corolla 3218 3574
Mitsubishi Triton 3109 2670
Mazda 3 2780 3039
Hyundai i30 2719 2383
Nissan X-Trail 2504 1780
Mitsubishi ASX 2337 1384
Mazda CX-5 2261 2116
Toyota RAV4 1952 1865
Isuzu D-Max 1747 1424
Volkswagen Golf 1713 1504
Honda CR-V 1683 493
Toyota Prado 1677 1383
Kia Cerato 1659 1769
Hyundai Tucson 1601 2156
Hyundai Accent 1551 1529
Nissan Navara 1536 1784
Nissan Qashqai 1497 1927
Holden Colorado 1487 1927

 

MORE: New car sales news coverage

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