Sales of new vehicles in Australia fell for the 16th successive month in July, relative to the same month in the preceding year.
Self-reported VFACTS figures provided by the industry’s peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), showed 83,184 sales, down 2.8 per cent.
This takes the running annual tally to 637,750 units, 7.7 per cent below where the market sat at this point in 2018. The cumulative total is the lowest it has been in seven years, given the YTD tally at the end of July 2012 read 634,495 units.
One thing did go upwards though: SUV sales. These high-riding wagons managed 45.6 per cent market share (equal to 37,894 sales), nearly as much as utes and vans (20.1 per cent share), and conventional passenger cars (30.5 per cent share), combined.
As the FCAI summed up, the present market situation is bad news for car brands and their franchisee dealers, but good news for prospective car buyers.
“The consumer… is spoiled for choice with attractive new car offers as automotive brands provide excellent deals to stimulate sales growth,” said CEO Tony Weber.
Toyota wasn’t just the market leader overall, but three of the top 5 selling vehicles were from its stable: the HiLux (3359) and Corolla (3244) were one-two, and the RAV4 (2419) took fourth spot.
Toyota topped the charts, increasing its market share to 21.5 per cent.
Its best performers were the aforementioned trio inside the top 5, followed by the top-selling large SUV Prado (1620), top-selling mid-size sedan Camry (1598) and top-selling upper large SUV LandCruiser (1163).
Mazda retained second place (8227, down 7.8 per cent) though it’s worth noting that the more expensive new-generation Mazda 3 small car dipped 22.5 per cent.
Note: the table below stripped 'heavy commercial vehicle' sales data (trucks and big buses), meaning the figures are slightly different to those in the copy.
Mitsubishi lost a little steam, dipping 11.2 per cent to 5247 in July, and now sitting behind its 2018 YTD tally by 1 per cent. Most of this drop came from the Lancer, which is now out of production. Just 10 units sold, meaning final stock of this warhorse seems to be about exhausted.
Ford in fifth saw sales decline 10.6 per cent to 4900, and once again more than half of its sales (3168) were Ranger pickups. The Blue Oval saw declines in sales of the aged Escape and EcoSport SUVs, plus the new Focus and Mustang (the latter by 52 per cent).
Kia continues to buck the trend, actually growing 2.3 per cent for the month and YTD alike. Its YTD market share is an impressive 5.7 per cent. Most of its growth is coming from the well-priced new Cerato, up nearly 21 per cent to 1723 units in July.
Volkswagen in eighth spot lost 9.3 per cent in managing 3609 sales, 2851 of which were passenger cars and SUVs (barely more than Mercedes’ haul). As the Mk7.5 Golf nears the end of its running life, sales fell 38.1 per cent to 1008, while the Amarok also fell by 41 per cent. However the Polo and Tiguan Allspace grew with strength.
Subaru ended July ninth, impressively upping sales by 4.4 per cent now that its plant-related stock woes are improving. The new Forester returned 1461 sales, up 150 per cent, offsetting dips to the ageing Outback, WRX and Impreza.
Holden hung onto 10th despite dropping by 16.8 per cent (and 24 per cent YTD). The new Acadia helped through adding 261 incremental sales to offset the loss of the Captiva, while Equinox grew 56 per cent to 423. However, the Astra plummeted 73 per cent to 157 units, and the Commodore (MY18 stock being sold still) fell 17.4 per cent to 460.
Other brands that showed growth included premium players Mercedes-Benz Cars (up 25.7 per cent to 2792 thanks to the new A-Class, and updated C-Class and related GLC), BMW (up 4.5 per cent thanks to its X1 and X7 SUV bookends), Lexus (up 16.7 per cent to 748 thanks to the new UX) and Volvo Car (562, up 6.4 per cent thanks to its SUV range).
Chinese players MG and LDV from the SAIC conglomerate of Shanghai skyrocketed by 150 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively as buyers sought bargains, while its rivals from the city of Baoding, Haval SUVs and Great Wall utes, grew 164 per cent and 118 per cent respectively.
Skoda shot up by 13.8 per cent and finished 19th overall, Porsche grew 47.5 per cent thanks to the updated Macan and new Cayenne, while Ram’s locally-converted 1500 and 2500 pickups grew an astonishing 600 per cent 261 units, justifying the huge investment in a new Melbourne production line by Walkinshaw, and marketing/network partner Ateco.
The most popular vehicles on the market were the Toyota HiLux, Toyota Corolla, Ford Ranger, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai i30, Mazda CX-5, Mazda 3, Toyota LandCruiser (70- and 200-Series combined, which I’m aware is problematic), Kia Cerato, Toyota Prado, Toyota Camry, Mitsubishi ASX, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Tucson.
That means that inside the top 15 were six Toyotas, two Mazdas, two Hyundais, two Mitsubishis, and one from each of Ford, Kia and Nissan.
Top 3 models per segment
Micro (451 units, down 25.5 per cent):
Kia Picanto (358), Fiat 500 (50) and Mitsubishi Mirage (43)
Light (5092, down 1.8 per cent):
Toyota Yaris (888), Hyundai Accent (848) and Mazda 2 (765)
Small under $40k (12,181, down 16.7 per cent):
Toyota Corolla (3244), Hyundai i30 (2252) and Mazda 3 (1894)
Small over $40k (1067, up 15 per cent):
Mercedes A-Class (374), BMW 1 Series (234) and Audi A3 (193)
Medium under $60k (2353, down 2.0 per cent):
Toyota Camry (1598), Mazda 6 (253) and Skoda Octavia (170)
Medium over $60k (1481, up 14 per cent):
Mercedes C-Class (576), BMW 3 Series (253) and Mercedes-Benz CLA (246)
Large under $70k (669, down 17.8 per cent):
Holden Commodore (460), Kia Stinger (124) and Skoda Superb (78)
Large over $70k (182, down 21.9 per cent):
Mercedes E-Class (82), BMW 5 Series (59) and Mercedes-Benz CLS (19)
Upper Large (71, down 6.6 per cent):
Mercedes S-Class (23), Chrysler 300 (18) and BMW 7 Series (10)
People Movers (836, down 18 per cent):
Kia Carnival (432), Honda Odyssey (127) and LDV G10 (76)
Sports under $80k (510, down 45.6 per cent):
Ford Mustang (262), BMW 2 Series (76) and Toyota 86/Mazda MX-5 (38)
Sports over $80k (375, up 12.6 per cent):
Mercedes C-Class (167), Mercedes E-Class (55) and BMW 4 Series (51)
Sports over $200k (118, up 24.2 per cent):
Ferrari range (26), Porsche 911 (23) and Aston Martin range (15)
SUV Small under $40k (9372, up 6.8 per cent):
Mitsubishi ASX (1589), Mazda CX-3 (1285) and Hyundai Kona (1230)
SUV Small over $40k (1141, up 2.6 per cent):
Volvo XC40 (241), BMW X1 (233), and Lexus UX (186)
SUV Medium under $60k (14,026, up 9.6 per cent):
Toyota RAV4 (2419), Mazda CX-5 (2160) and Nissan X-Trail (1516)
SUV Medium over $60k (2379, up 4.4 per cent):
Mercedes GLC (663), BMW X3/4 (440) and Audi Q5 (269)
SUV Large under $70k (8331, down 7.6 per cent):
Toyota Prado (1620), Toyota Kluger (816) and Mazda CX-9 (681)
SUV Large over $70k (1127, down 13.0 per cent):
Mercedes-Benz GLE (246), BMW X5/6 (204) and Lexus RX (144)
SUV Upper Large under $100k (1312, up 14 per cent):
Toyota LandCruiser wagon (1163) and Nissan Patrol (149)
SUV Upper Large over $100k (206, even):
BMW X7 (50), Audi Q8 (38) and Lexus LX/Mercedes-Benz GLS (35)
Vans under 2.5t (223, up 1.8 per cent):
Volkswagen Caddy (153), Renault Kangoo (55) and Citroen Berlingo (10)
Vans 2.5-3.5t (1605, up 1.2 per cent):
Toyota HiAce (646), Hyundai iLoad (371) and Ford Transit Custom (156)
4x2 utes (2691, down 9.6 per cent):
Toyota HiLux (842), Isuzu D-Max (413) and Ford Ranger (318)
4x4 utes (11,998, down 1.1 per cent):
Ford Ranger (2850), Toyota HiLux (2517) and Mitsubishi Triton (1246)
Sales in New South Wales fell 4.7 per cent, equal to 1296 fewer vehicles sold there in July this year than last. Sales in Tasmania and Western Australia jumped 15 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
The top five segments by market share were Medium SUVs (19.7 per cent), Small Cars (15.9 per cent), 4x4 Utes (14.4 per cent), Small SUVs (12.6 per cent) and Large SUVs (11.4 per cent). Large Cars, once a staple part of Australia’s vehicle diet, accounted for a measly 1 per cent of all sales.
Private vehicle sales fell only 1 per cent to 37,066, government sales by 1.9 per cent (2873), and rental fleets purchases went up 1.1 per cent to 6505 units. It was lagging business fleet sales (down 5.2 per cent, 33,546) that hurt.
There were 3094 hybrids sold, and 293 EVs and PHEVs (excluding Tesla, which refuses to disclose data). That’s market penetration of 4 per cent. Hybrid sales in the passenger car space were 1915 units, well ahead of diesel (595), thanks solely to Toyota.
Sales of vehicles from China were 1552 in July, up 72.4 per cent. YTD the tally is 9637, up 81.9 per cent.
“The July sales figures continue to illustrate the tough market conditions facing the Australian automotive industry, and the sensitive nature of the economy over the past twelve months," said FCAI CEO Tony Weber.
“Tight financial lending, drought, increasing Luxury Car Tax imposts and the Federal election have all contributed to make the Australian car market one of the toughest in the world.
“But it is great news for the consumer who is spoiled for choice with attractive new car offers as automotive brands provide excellent deals to stimulate sales growth.”
Complete brand sales list
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