Led by the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail

Mid-sized SUVs like the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail are poised to replace small cars as the nation’s most popular type new vehicles.

VFACTS data compiled by industry peak body, the FCAI, shows car companies sold 52,886 vehicles classified as Medium SUVs over the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, up 15 per cent over the same period last year.

This compares to 54,214 vehicles classified as Small Cars, growth of 1.5 per cent, well below the total market average. At these trajectories, Medium SUVs will supplant Small Cars soon — indeed, in March this very thing happened.

It’s one of the better statistics we can use to show the dominance of SUVs in the Australian new vehicle market. In 2018, SUVs own 42.6 per cent market share, miles ahead of other passenger cars on 33.8 per cent.

The other major component of the market are those vehicles classified as Light Commercials, colloquially known as utes and vans. The Ute market, led by the market’s two top-selling vehicles — Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger — as a whole comprised 51,217 sales over Q1, with market share of 18.2 per cent.

But we digress. Of the 52,886 Medium SUVs sold this year, 44,190 compete within a price band below $60k, led by the dominant CX-5 (6604), X-Trail (5794), Toyota RAV4 (5573), Hyundai Tucson (4625), revitalised Honda CR-V (4538), Mitsubishi Outlander (3995) and Kia Sportage (3439).

Lesser-lights are the Subaru Forester (2660), Volkswagen Tiguan (2507), Ford Escape (1382), Holden Equinox (1075), Renault Koleos (739) and Suzuki Grand Vitara (254).

The other 8696 Medium SUVs sold over Q1 compete at the premium end of the market, led by the BMW X3/X4 (1763), Mercedes-Benz GLC (1464), Audi Q5 (1173), Lexus NX (959), Land Rover Discovery Sport (865), Porsche Macan (700), Volvo XC60 (607) and Range Rover Velar (466).

All told there are 32 Medium SUVs on sale in Australia, made by 27 brands. Bizarrely, there are also 32 Small Car offerings, made by 21 brands.

Small Car sales are much more concentrated between a few big performers. Of the 54,214 segment total over Q1, 50,025 were sourced from the mainstream, somewhat falsely named as ‘below $40k’ despite many actually retailing above this point, eg. the Volkswagen Golf GTI/R.

The top performers remain massively successful, occupying positions 3-5 on the overall ladder behind the HiLux and Ranger. These are the Toyota Corolla (9264), Mazda 3 (8916) and Hyundai i30 (6751).

Other volume drivers include the Volkswagen Golf hatch and wagon (4885), Kia Cerato (4582), Honda Civic (4166), Subaru Impreza (2780, or 3417 if including the WRX) Holden Astra (2727), Mitsubishi Lancer (1893), Ford Focus (1414) and Hyundai Elantra (1066).

The upper echelons of the segment are led by the runout Mercedes-Benz A-Class (1547), Audi A3 (1160), BMW 1 Series (691), Volvo V40 (299), Mercedes-Benz B-Class (269) and Lexus CT200h (142).

Segment

Q1, 2018 sales

% change over ‘17

2018 market share

Micro Car eg. Kia Picanto

1951

up 0.9%

0.7

Light Car eg. Hyundai Accent

20,927

up 4%

7.2

Small Car eg. Toyota Corolla

54,214

up 1.5%

18.6

Medium Car eg. Toyota Camry

12,100

down 18.4%

4.2

Large Car eg. Holden Commodore

4285

down 45.5%

1.5

Upper Large car eg. Chrysler 300

375

up 1.6%

0.1

People Movers eg. Kia Carnival

3175

up 0.4%

1.1

Sports Car eg. Ford Mustang

5443

down 21.7%

1.9

Small SUV eg. Mitsubishi ASX

33,612

up 26.9%

11.5

Medium SUV eg. Mazda CX-5

52,886

up 15.1%

18.1

Large SUV eg. Toyota Prado

32,614

down 6.6%

11.2

Upper Large SUV eg. Toyota LandCruiser

4102

up 9.2%

1.4

Vans eg. Toyota HiAce

5289

down 5.6%

1.8

4x2 Utes eg. Toyota HiLux

9589

up 1.4%

3.3

4x4 Utes eg. Ford Ranger

41,628

up 14%

14.3

TOTAL MARKET

291,538

up 4.4%

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