Seventeen successive months in decline and no end in sight means more gloom for Australian car brands and their dealers
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Australians purchased on average 358 fewer new cars every selling day throughout the August just gone, compared to the same month in 2018.

VFACTS data compiled by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and released today showed August 2019 was the 17th successive month where sales fell relative to the corresponding month in the previous year.

Financial lending reforms making it harder to get a car loan, stemming from Banking Royal Commission, as well as the ongoing drought and a lack of consumer confidence, are all being blamed as factors. You can also throw into the mix more accurate sales reporting from several OEMs.

The tally showed 85,633 new cars, SUVs, light- and heavy-commercials were counted as sold during the month, down 10.1 per cent. That makes it the worst August result since 2010, when 82,122 units were counted sold.

Meanwhile the annual tally after eight months sits at 723,823 units, down eight per cent on 2018’s YTD figure. Every State and Territory with the sole exception of Tasmania has seen its sales go backwards all year.

Even SUV sales fell in August (by 5.4 per cent), however their decline was tempered. SUVs accounted for 45.6 per cent of all vehicles sold, ahead of 30.1 per cent for passenger cars and 20.5 per cent for light commercials (utes and vans). The small remainder were heavy trucks and buses.

The top selling vehicle for the month was again the Toyota HiLux (3674), followed by the Ford Ranger (3181), Toyota Corolla (2863), Hyundai i30 (2813) and the Toyota RAV4 (2006).

Brands

Market-leader Toyota fell by 11.3 per cent for the month to 16,700 sales, as the likes of Prado, Kluger and even HiLux floundered.

Despite this drop the company’s tally was still more than double its closest competitors Hyundai (7320, down 8.6 per cent) and Mazda (7291, down a whopping 32.1 per cent as its entire fleet went backwards compared to August 2018).

Next in line were Mitsubishi (6242, down 11.7 per cent), Ford (4916, down 17.5 per cent as Mustang, Ranger and Escape all battled), Kia (4662, up 0.9 per cent, on the back of strong growth throughout this challenging year), and Nissan (4538, up 2.2 per cent thanks to a big month for the Qashqai SUV).

Rounding out the top 10 were Volkswagen (4100, down 11.6 per cent due to waning Golf sales), Holden (3569, down an all-too-familiar 18.1 per cent) and Subaru (3553, down 7.6 per cent though over the worst of the supply issues it battled earlier in the year).

Next in line were Honda (3067, down 12 per cent as Civic and CR-V battled), Mercedes-Benz Cars (2380, down 8.3 per cent), Isuzu Ute (1914, down 11.7 per cent), BMW (1860, up 5.7 per cent) and Audi (1365, actually up 27.9 per cent despite having no new-generation Q3s on sale, since available stock of other core models such as the Q7 is finally improving after a WLTP-led nightmare for the brand).

Smaller-volume brands that saw sales declines included Suzuki (1309, down 0.8 per cent), Renault (740, down 8.6 per cent), Land Rover (657, down 8.6 per cent), Skoda (611, down 2.2 per cent), Mercedes-Benz Vans (525, down 22.4 per cent), Jeep (469, down 20.1 per cent) and Alfa Romeo (86, down 31.7 per cent).

Some smaller brands that bucked the trend and grew – alongside Kia, Audi and Nissan – included Lexus (817, up 32 per cent), MG (720, up 116.9 per cent), fellow Shanghai-based company LDV (564, up 9.9 per cent), Porsche (388, up 37.6 per cent), Peugeot (335, up 32.4 per cent), Ram (303, up a whopping four-fold), Mini (274, up 38.4 per cent) and Haval (168, up 211.1 per cent off a low base).

Models

The 10 most popular nameplates were the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, Toyota RAV4, Mazda 3, Toyota LandCruiser, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan X-Trail.

Below are the top three models per key vehicle segment in August. If you want more specifics, ask in the comments section and I'll answer:

  • Micro Cars (526, up 9.1 per cent): Kia Picanto (450), Fiat 500 (51) and Mitsubishi Mirage (25)
  • Light Cars (4774, down 25.4 per cent): Toyota Yaris (744), Hyundai Accent (725) and Mazda 2 (637)
  • Small Cars (13,830, down 15 per cent): Toyota Corolla (2863), Hyundai i30 (2813) and Mazda 3 (1999)
  • Medium Cars (3496, down 14.1 per cent): Toyota Camry (1290), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (423) and BMW 3 Series (232)
  • Large Cars (1057, down 4.1 per cent): Holden Commodore (509), Kia Stinger (172) and Skoda Superb (102)
  • People Movers (925, down 9.1 per cent): Kia Carnival (500), Honda Odyssey (132) and Hyundai iMax (83)
  • Sports Cars (1080, down 29.9 per cent): Ford Mustang (229), Mercedes-Benz C-Class two-doors (173) and Toyota 86 (63)
  • Small SUV mainstream (10,027, up 0.4 per cent): Mitsubishi ASX (1728), Nissan Qashqai (1206) and Mazda CX-3 (1097)
  • Small SUV premium (1192, down 6.6 per cent): Volvo XC40 (281), BMW X1 (249) and Audi Q2 (156)
  • Medium SUV mainstream (13,824, down 5.2 per cent): Toyota RAV4 (2006), Mazda CX-5 (1797) and Nissan X-Trail (1743)
  • Medium SUV premium (2694, up 12.7 per cent): Mercedes-Benz GLC (508), BMW X3/X4 (494), Lexus NX (368)
  • Large SUV mainstream (8111, down 21.2 per cent): Toyota Prado (1392), Toyota Kluger (792) and Isuzu MU-X (708)
  • Large SUV premium (1628, up 23.3 per cent): Mercedes-Benz GLE (322), BMW X5/X6 (292) and Audi Q7 (297)
  • Upper Large SUV (239, up 24.5 per cent): Toyota LandCruiser (1160), Nissan Patrol (165) and BMW X7 (75)
  • Small vans (196, down 24.3 per cent): Volkswagen Caddy (131), Renault Kangoo (48) and Citroen Berlingo (9)
  • Medium Vans (1477, down 6.8 per cent): Toyota HiAce (491), Hyundai iLoad (359) and Ford Transit Custom (207)
  • 4x2 Utes (2422, down 22.2 per cent): Toyota HiLux (803), Isuzu D-Max (365) and Ford Ranger (297)
  • 4x4 Utes (13,120, down 5.9 per cent): Ford Ranger (2884), Toyota HiLux (2871) and Mitsubishi Triton (1469)

Miscellaneous

Sales in Victoria fell in August by 3244 units compared to 2018's figure, greater than NSW (2824) and Queensland (1773).

The five most popular vehicle segments by market share were Medium SUVs (19.3 per cent), Small Cars (16.2), 4x4 Utes (15.3), Small SUVs (13.1) and Large SUVs (11.4).

The sub-totals by buyer type showed that private sales dipped 11.5 per cent (37,476 total), business purchases fell 8.7 per cent (35,179), rental sales dipped 6.8 per cent (6782), and government fleets bought 9.7 per cent fewer new cars (2899).

Sales of petrol-electric hybrid cars hit 2847 units (1798 passenger cars and 1049 SUVs), up 55 per cent thanks to models such as the new Toyota RAV4.

Sales of vehicles from China (LDV, MG, Haval and Great Wall) grew 62 per cent to 1571 units in August. YTD the tallies sit at 11,208 units, up 78.8 per cent. Australians now buy more cars made in China than those made in France, Sweden and Italy combined.

Quote from FCAI CEO Tony Weber

“There’s no doubt it is a very tough market at the moment. And despite the best efforts of the industry, the decline in sales continues.”

“It is well known that Australia is one of the most competitive markets in the world and with the current economic environment, it is also one of the most difficult markets in the world.

“This environment stems from a slow start to the year, with tight financial lending, State and Federal elections and a general lack of consumer confidence, both here in Australia and on an international basis.

“The question needs to be asked about whether the current regulatory approach to financing is appropriate, and if not, what harm it is doing to both the sector and the economy more broadly."

Full brand sales for August 2019

Brand Sales Change
Toyota16,700-11.3%
Hyundai7320-8.6%
Mazda7291-32.1%
Mitsubishi6242-11.7%
Ford4916-17.5%
Kia46620.9%
Nissan45382.2%
Volkswagen4100-11.6%
Holden3569-18.1%
Subaru3553-7.6%
Honda3067-12.0%
Mercedes-Benz Cars2380-8.3%
Isuzu Ute1914-11.7%
BMW18605.7%
Audi136527.9%
Suzuki1309-0.8%
Lexus81732.0%
Renault740-8.6%
MG720116.9%
Volvo Car6920.4%
Land Rover657-8.6%
Skoda611-2.2%
LDV5649.9%
Mercedes-Benz Vans535-22.4%
Jeep469-20.1%
Porsche38837.6%
Peugeot33532.4%
Ram303283.5%
Mini27438.4%
Ssangyong235-
Jaguar1981.0%
Haval168211.1%
Iveco151-20.9%
Fiat Professional12213.0%
Great Wall11866.2%
Alfa Romeo86-31.7%
Fiat76-13.6%
Citroen36-26.5%
Maserati36-28.0%
Ferrari3584.2%
Infiniti35-63.2%
Chrysler26160.0%
Genesis19-
Bentley1645.5%
Aston Martin10-16.7%
Lamborghini6-45.5%
Rolls-Royce6200.0%
McLaren4-42.9%
Lotus3-25.0%
Morgan10.0%

Any questions? Fire away in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer them.