Much of the talk around Australia’s 2018 new vehicle sales results centred around the 3 per cent decline in volume over 2017’s record tally.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom out there despite regulations in the financial sector, the ongoing drought, and reduced house prices in major population centres.
Indeed, there were a few brands that posted sales records in Australia – either all-time or merely the best performance in ages – though there’s no doubt their respective sales teams had to work extra hard to make it happen.
Humble Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL) continues to kick huge goals, setting an annual record last year by claiming 84,944 sales, up 5.3 per cent. Its previous record came in 1998 when it was still building Magnas in Adelaide.
It finished fourth in-market overall behind only Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai, and ahead of Ford and Holden, with overall market share of 7.4 per cent. MMAL was also the number three SUV brand, only behind Mazda and Toyota.
The Triton was Mitsubishi’s best-selling model with 24,896 units sold, while the ASX and Outlander contributed 19,034 and 15,573 sales respectively. The Eclipse Cross managed 7521, the axed Lancer 7043 and the Pajero Sport 6566.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia CEO John Signoriello said the market last year was much more challenging than anticipated but the investment in our SUV and LCV model range had delivered a good outcome for the brand.
“This year we predict the new car market to be subdued but we are looking forward to the new Triton sales commencing this month and we will have a number of special editions which we will be bringing to the market in the first quarter."
“We will also have updates to the ASX, Outlander PHEV and Pajero Sport later this year to further strengthen our position in the key market growth segments.”
Kia’s growth in 2018 was not as spectacular as 2017, but it still grew 7.5 per cent and therefore eclipsed its record, selling 58,815 units and finishing seventh – ahead of Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda and Subaru, and almost knocking off Holden.
Its most-popular car was the sharply-priced Cerato with nearly 19,000 sales, with its other strong player being the Sportage SUV with about 14,000 units.
Next were the Carnival on 6610 (miles ahead of any other people-mover rival), the Rio on 6595, Picanto on 5394 and Sorento on 4385. The Stinger netted 1957.
Honda Australia had its best new car sales result in a decade with 51,525 new vehicles sold in 2018. The company also finished fourth in private sales for the year (the private sector makes up 46 per cent of the market total) and tenth overall.
The biggest seller was the CR-V with 16,107 units, ahead of the smaller HR-V with 12,148. The Civic managed combined sales of 13,470 across the sedan, hatch and Type R variants.
Honda’s next target is to get back to the 60,000 unit high-water mark it managed a little over a decade ago, in 2007.
Always one to punch above its weight division, IUA had another year of growth in 2018 – the tenth in succession.
It sold 27,640 units, up 7.1 per cent, despite only having two models: the D-Max ute and the MU-X SUV spun off the same chassis. It finished 13th overall, ahead of Suzuki and Jeep.
The D-Max managed 18,550 sales, giving it the edge over the Holden Colorado, Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok. The MU-X grew 12 per cent to 9090 sales, well ahead of its main rivals the Ford Everest, Holden Trailblazer, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner.
“The Australian market is unique, with over seventy automotive brands bidding for a spot in customers’ garages nationwide,” IUA managing director Hiro Kuramoto said.
“However, the sentiment towards utes and SUVs has never been stronger and are the leading segments within the market — the exact segments the D-MAX and MU-X sit — and in 2018 we witnessed our strongest result in 10 years.”
The Chinese-Swedish luxury player had its best year in a very, very long time in 2017, up 43 per cent to 6693 units thanks to its strong SUV range that delivered 11 successive months of growth.
The new XC60 led the charge with 2827 units (up 49.5 per cent) ahead of the XC40 (1588) and XC90 (1170, up 7.7 per cent). The just-axed V40 managed 866 units.
“This growth reflects the very strong appeal of our multi-award-winning product range, our world class reputation for safety, design and technology, and the great care that Volvo dealers take of our customers”, said Volvo Australia’s managing director Nick Connor.
“We look forward to continuing our growth during 2019,” he added. New arrivals will include the S60 sedan and V60 wagon, which should add significant volume.
The Czech brand managed 5807 units last year, up 8.5 per cent, topping the 5000-unit barrier for the second time in its short-ish Australian history.
The Octavia hatch and wagon remains its sop seller, despite sales falling about 5 per cent, but the new Kodiaq SUV grew 114 per cent to 1346 units. The smaller Karoq managed 486 units, while the existing Fabia and Superb managed 883 and 837 respectively.
This is despite Skoda battling severe supply restrictions, which we’ve been hearing about from the dealer network.
The company’s local chief Michael Irmer said recently that after 11 years in the market, Skoda had "emerged from its niche and was becoming an increasingly mainstream choice".
Reposted 2018 sales results table:
|Brand||Sales||Change over 2017|