The Australian car market suffered its 18th consecutive month of sales decline, dropping 6.9 per cent in September.
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The Australian car market continued to decline in September 2019, with a 6.9 per cent drop in sales making it the 18th consecutive month of decline.

VFACTS data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reveal 88,181 vehicles were sold last month, compared to 94,711 during the same month in 2018.

It's the worst September result since 2011, when 86,819 sales were recorded.

Year-to-date, the market is sitting on 811,464 registrations, down 7.9 per cent compared to the same point in 2018. Every state and territory has seen its sales slide this year, by as little as 0.8 per cent in Tasmania and as much as 16 per cent in the Northern Territory.

Sales in two of three categories fell:

  • Passenger cars were down by 18.3 per cent
  • SUVs were up by 1.1 per cent
  • Light commercial vehicles dropped by 5.4 per cent

Brands

Toyota was once again the best-selling brand in Australia, but fell by 12.8 per cent to 15,166 sales in September. It was followed by Mitsubishi, which leapt 17.9 per cent to 8990 registrations on the back of a strong month from the Triton ute and ASX compact SUV.

Mazda followed in third with 8168 sales, up 15.5 per cent, followed by Hyundai (7245, down 10.7 per cent) and Kia (5128, up 2.5 per cent).

Mitsubishi, Mazda and Kia were the only three top-10 brands to grow in September.

Ford followed Kia (4783, down 5.9 per cent), narrowly ahead of Nissan (4651, down 10 per cent), Volkswagen (3816, down 18.7 per cent), Subaru (3502, down 26.4 per cent), and Honda (3404, down 24.8 per cent).

Holden fell out of the top 10 on the back of its worst sales month since 1948, recording 2863 sales and a 38.4 per cent drop compared to September 2018.

It was followed by Mercedes-Benz Cars (2682, down 9.7 per cent), BMW (2220, up 19.4 per cent), Isuzu Ute (2049, down 6.4 per cent), and Audi (1501, down 5.2 per cent).

Suzuki (1446, down 19.3 per cent), MG (835, up 118 per cent), Lexus (734, up 21.3 per cent), Volvo (707, up 3.7 per cent) and Land Rover (684, down 9.2 per cent).

Outside of the top 20, Alfa Romeo suffered a dramatic decline, recording just 59 sales for a 47.3 per cent drop. LDV narrowly missed out on a top 20 spot with 669 sales, a 23.4 per cent increase, while Mini's sales jumped from 183 to 260.

Models

Strong two-wheel drive sales saw the Toyota HiLux maintain its status as Australia's best-selling car, recording 3364 sales. However the Ford Ranger is nipping at its heels with 3116 sales, while the Mitsubishi Triton jumped into third with 3001 registrations,

Both the Ranger and the Triton outsold the HiLux in the hotly-contested 4x4 segment.

The best-selling passenger car, and fourth-placed vehicle overall, was the Hyundai i30 with 2447 sales. It was trailed by the Mitsubishi ASX (2419), Mazda CX-5 (2355), Toyota Corolla (2219), Kia Cerato (2022), Nissan X-Trail (1769), and Mitsubishi Outlander (1731) in the top 10.

Sales by category

Passenger cars

  • Micro cars: Kia Picanto (560), Mitsubishi Mirage (71), Fiat/Abarth 500 (39)
  • Light cars: Mazda 2 (781), Toyota Yaris (735), Hyundai Accent (609)
  • Small cars under $40k: Hyundai i30 (2447), Toyota Corolla (2219), Kia Cerato (2022)
  • Small cars over $40k: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (307), Audi A3 (297), BMW 1 Series (126)
  • Medium cars under $60k: Toyota Camry (1186), Mazda 6 (193), Skoda Octavia (171)
  • Medium cars over $60k: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (636), BMW 3 Series (294), Mercedes-Benz CLA (145)
  • Large cars under $70k: Holden Commodore (419), Kia Stinger (135), Skoda Superb (38)
  • Large cars over $70k: Mercedes E-Class (74), BMW 5 Series (64), Mercedes-Benz CLS (14)
  • Upper large cars: Mercedes-Benz S-Class (25), BMW 7 Series (21), Chrysler 300 (14)
  • People movers: Kia Carnival (507), Honda Odyssey (169), Hyundai iMax (68)
  • Sports under $80k: Ford Mustang (437), BMW 2 Series (85), Hyundai Veloster (70)
  • Sports over $80k: Mercedes-Benz C-Class two-door (248), Toyota Supra (232), Mercedes-Benz E-Class two-door (42)

SUVs

  • Small SUV under $40k: Mitsubishi ASX (2419), Nissan Qashqai (1350), Mazda CX-3 (1317)
  • Small SUV over $40k: Volvo XC40 (225), BMW X1 (191), Mercedes-Benz GLA (170)
  • Medium SUV under $60k: Mazda CX-5 (2355), Nissan X-Trail (1769), Mitsubishi Outlander (1731)
  • Medium SUV over $60k: BMW X3/4 (645), Mercedes-Benz GLC/coupe (523), Audi Q5 (402)
  • Large SUV under $70k: Toyota Prado (1338), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (780), Toyota Kluger (756)
  • Large SUV over $70k: BMW X5/6 (497), Audi Q7 (358), Mercedes-Benz GLE/Coupe (337)
  • Upper large SUV: Toyota LandCruiser (960), Nissan Patrol (102), BMW X7 (96)

Light commercial vehicles

  • Light buses: Toyota HiAce (253), Toyota Coaster (30), Volkswagen Crafter (2)
  • Vans under 2.5t: Volkswagen Caddy (127), Renault Kangoo (49), Citroen Berlingo (12)
  • Vans 2.5t - 3.5t: Toyota HiAce (536), Hyundai iLoad (274), LDV G10 (147)
  • Utes (4x2): Toyota HiLux (760), Isuzu D-Max (443), Ford Ranger (294)
  • Utes (4x4): Ford Ranger (2822), Mitsubishi Triton (2755), Toyota HiLux (2604)

Miscellaneous

New South Wales registered the most cars, with 27,682 sales representing a 10.6 per cent drop. It was followed by Victoria and its 24,686 sales (down 7.6 per cent) and Queensland's 17,535 sales (down 4.1 per cent).

Western Australia (7767, down 6.5 per cent), South Australia (6645, up 16.2 per cent), Tasmania (1927, down 21.6 per cent), the ACT (1337, down 10 per cent) and the NT (602, down 21.6 per cent) rounded things out.

Private buyers accounted for the majority of sales (37,797), followed by businesses (36,629), rental fleets (7658), and government buyers (2927).

Petrol was the most popular fuel type (55,346 sales), with diesel (27,314) in second place. There were 2046 hybrid vehicles sold, and 366 pure-electric/plug-in hybrids registered.

Quote from Tony Weber, FCAI CEO

“It is clear the slower sales rate the market is experiencing is in line with the broader economic environment in Australia.

“Of particular concern to the industry is the restrictive regulatory lending conditions currently facing consumers,” Weber said.

“The question has to be asked – are these results telling us we have made it too difficult for people to finance basic purchases in today’s Australia?”