Another grim month as economic headwinds bite, new vehicle sales decline by 7.4 per cent
Claimed new vehicle sales continued their downward trajectory in Australia over January, with the market down 7.4 per cent over the same month in 2018, to 88,851 units.
This follows the trend from last year, when new vehicle sales went backwards for the first time in a few years after a strong start, and in which 10 of 12 months showed negative growth.
Every State and Territory aside from the Northern Territory was in the negative, though the population centres of NSW and Victoria performed worse than the overall average, down 8.1 per cent each.
It sounds cliched at this point, but the struggling housing market is closely tied to car sales. As are factors like middling buyer confidence, the imminent federal election, financial sector reform and the continued issues with 'cyber' cars.
“The current economic environment is a challenging one, with an imminent federal election, a declining real estate market and tighter lending practices," said FCAI CEO Tony Weber.
Of course, not all car brands battled. Some, including market leader Toyota, plus Mitsubishi, Kia, Lexus, MG, Volvo and Skoda all moved in a positive direction. As has become de rigeur, the Toyota HiLux was the number-one model by sales.
According to the industry-provided VFACTS sales data, SUVs accounted for 43.8 per cent market share, ahead of passenger cars (34.2 per cent) and light commercials (19.3 per cent).
Interestingly, sales to government departments and rental companies shot up (the latter probably benefiting from keen MY18-plate deals), but sales to private buyers and business fleet buyers plummeted by 12 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
Take January with a grain of salt, since a number of brands are moving ‘demonstrator’ stock as part of industry-wide plate-clearance sales, and often they were originally included in December figures (or earlier). One month does not maketh a trend…
The five biggest vehicle segments by market share were Medium SUVs (18.8 per cent), Small Cars (18.1 per cent), 4x4 Utes (14.5 per cent), Small SUVs (12.7 per cent) and Large SUVs (11 per cent).
Toyota bucked the trend and grew 4.3 per cent, upping its market share to an impressive 19.5 per cent thanks in large part to good Camry growth. One-in-five of all vehicles sold last month had a Toyota badge.
Silver medallist Mazda dipped despite good months from the 3 and CX-5, albeit a smaller dip than the market average, while value-leader Mitsubishi finished third, selling 6669 units to private and fleet buyers and growing almost 27 per cent.
Ford and Holden finished sixth and seventh, but fell away by 21.7 and 27.1 per cent respectively. Ford's top-selling Ranger had a down month, while Holden lost ground on most key models aside from Astra and Colorado.
Volkswagen dipped 9.1 per cent, which is hardly surprising given its Golf and Tiguan staples went backwards, while Subaru dropped more than 19 per cent as both the Impreza and its XV spinoff struggled.
Luxury buyers are showing signs, like last year, they're either holding onto their old cars longer or buying mainstream products as their property portfolio declines. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi fell 27 per cent, 2.4 per cent and 18.7 per cent apiece.
Notably if you remove vans and utes from the equation, BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz. It's been a long time since that happened.
One of the market's great success stories for January was China's MG, up tenfold to 503 units and beating out a host of better-known brands, as the table below shows.
|Brand||Jan 2019 sales||Change over Jan 2018|
The top 10 contained four utes (Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton and Holden Colorado), three passenger cars (Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30) and three SUVs (Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi ASX and the runout Toyota RAV4).
Leaders by market share (in brackets) in the key vehicle segments look like this:
Top 5 passenger brands by share were Toyota (17 per cent), Mazda (14.3), Hyundai (12.2), Kia (11.3) and Volkswagen (7.1)
- Micro: Kia Picanto (80.6), Fiat 500 (14.2) and Mitsubishi Mirage (5.2)
- Light: Hyundai Accent (17.8), Toyota Yaris (15.6) and Mazda 2 (14.9)
- Small: Mazda 3 (20.5), Toyota Corolla (17.5) and Hyundai i30 (13.7)
- Premium Small: Mercedes A-Class (39.5), Audi A3 (32.7) and BMW 1 Series (18.8)
- Medium: Toyota Camry (60.9), Mazda 6 (13.4) and Subaru Liberty (5.5)
- Premium Medium: Mercedes C-Class (45.8), BMW 3 Series (12.4) and Mercedes CLA (104)
- Large: Holden Commodore (68.4), Kia Stinger (22.1) and Skoda Superb (9.5)
- Premium Large: BMW 5 Series (49), Mercedes E-Class (29.7) and Mercedes CLS (7.7)
- People movers: Kia Carnival (58.8), Honda Odyssey (14.1) and Toyota Tarago (6.1)
- Sports < $80k: Ford Mustang (49.5), BMW 2 Series (15.4) and Toyota 86 (8.8)
- Sports < $200k: Mercedes C-Class (32.4), BMW 4 Series (27.3) and Mercedes E-Class (12)
- Sports > $200k: Porsche 911 (33.9), Ferrari range (21.7) and Bentley Continental (8.7)
Top 5 SUV brands by share were Toyota (16.8 per cent), Mitsubishi (12.4), Mazda (12.3), Nissan (7.5) and Subaru (7.3)
- Small: Mitsubishi ASX (19.6), Mazda CX-3 (14.1) and Honda HR-V (11.3)
- Premium Small: BMW X1 (16.9), Volvo XC40 (15) and Mercedes GLA (13.9)
- Medium: Mazda CX-5 (17.4), Toyota RAV4 (13.4) and Nissan X-Trail (11.3)
- Premium Medium: BMW X3 (23.3), Audi Q5 (18.5) and Lexus NX (13.9)
- Large: Toyota Prado (16.9), Toyota Kluger (11.8) and Hyundai Santa Fe (7.2)
- Premium Large: BMW X5 (25), Lexus RX (14.8) and Range Rover Sport (14.5)
- Upper Large < $100k: Toyota LandCruiser (92.1) and Nissan Patrol (7.9)
- Upper Large > $100k: Mercedes GLS (31.6), Range Rover (25.3) and Lexus LX (18.4)
Top 5 LCV brands by share were Toyota (32.6 per cent), Ford (17), Mitsubishi (10.7), Holden (9.8) and Nissan (6.9)
- Small Vans: Volkswagen Caddy (62.4), Renault Kangoo (31.5) and Citroen Berlingo (4.7)
- Medium Vans: Toyota HiAce (34.5), Hyundai iLoad (25) and Renault Trafic (12.8)
- 4x2 Utes: Toyota HiLux (39.3), Mazda BT-50 (14.4) and Ford Ranger (13.2)
- 4x4 Utes: Toyota HiLux (25.3), Ford Ranger (18.9) and Mitsubishi Triton (13)
|Model||Jan 2019 sales||Change over Jan 2018|
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