The Ford Ranger four-wheel drive ute has outsold the Toyota HiLux four-wheel drive for the seventh month in a row – the longest winning streak to date for the Blue Oval brand.
However, the Toyota HiLux remains on track to become the best-selling vehicle outright for the fourth year in a row when all variants are included – counted by nameplate according to standard industry practice – as it now has an unassailable lead.
Preliminary figures for October show new-car sales slowed for the 19th month in a row – the longest downturn since the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago – as consumer confidence wanes and tighter credit requirements mean more deals are falling over after customers have already signed on the dotted line.
Eight of the Top 10 brands posted sales declines – including market leader Toyota.
Holden backed up its worst monthly result since 1948 with its second weakest tally of all time, though it managed to scrape inside the Top 10.
Hyundai ranked second outright behind Toyota and ahead of Mazda. However, the big performer was Hyundai’s sister brand Kia, which rocketed to fourth place outright for the first time ever in November, although year-to-date it ranks sixth outright.
Subaru had a tough month but it was impacted by further interruptions to supply, this time by a typhoon in Japan.
Other brands to post big sales declines included Mitsubishi and Mazda, both of whom had abnormally huge months this time last year due to special promotions.
One car dealership insider said “the level of enquiry coming in the front door is the weakest in memory, people just aren’t looking at new cars”.
“They’re either holding onto what they’ve got for a little bit longer or there’s less incentive to update because they are already on a low finance rate,” said the industry veteran who asked to remain anonymous because dealer staff are requested by car manufacturers to not talk to the media.
“Then you’ve got a lot of deals falling over on finance, so it’s a bit of a disaster really.”
The good news for buyers is that dealers are more desperate to win business. However, prices on most “price leader” models are already at historical lows.
And former market leader the Mazda 3 has slipped outside the Top 10 for the first time in memory (it ranked 11th) as buyers continue to shift from small cars to SUVs.
Top 10 brands in October 2019
- Toyota: 16,985 (down 4.6 per cent)
- Hyundai: 7460 (up 0.4 per cent)
- Mazda: 6370 (down 22.1 per cent)
- Kia: 5060 (up 10.5 per cent)
- Ford: 4890 (down 8.8 per cent)
- Mitsubishi: 4695 (down 24.5 per cent)
- Volkswagen: 4220 (down 12.7 per cent)
- Nissan: 4010 (down 5.4 per cent)
- Subaru: 3300 (down 24.4 per cent)
- Holden: 3085 (down 41.3 per cent)
Top 10 cars in October 2019
- Toyota HiLux: 3515 (down 7.2 per cent)
- Ford Ranger: 3160 (down 3.4 per cent)
- Hyundai i30: 2215 (up 8.1 per cent)
- Toyota RAV4: 2130 (up 34.7 per cent)
- Toyota Corolla: 2115 (down 20.5 per cent)
- Kia Cerato: 1825 (up 36.5 per cent)
- Mazda CX-5: 1705 (down 17.3 per cent)
- Nissan X-Trail: 1590 (down 3.2 per cent)
- Toyota Prado: 1510 (up 8.8 per cent)
- Mitsubishi ASX: 1490 (down 14.3 per cent)
*Preliminary results, rounded. Official VFACTS figures released Wednesday.
The Mazda 3 (above) ended the Holden Commodore’s 15-year winning streak in 2011, and backed it up with another market win in 2012.
The Toyota Corolla led the Australian new-car market for three years in a row, from 2013 to 2015.
The Toyota HiLux became the first ute to ever lead the annual sales tally in Australia, in 2016. It would eventually notch up three annual wins in a row and is now on track to win a fourth sales title.
While some brands like to split variants to claim a victory (such as distinguishing 4x4 or 4x2 utes) all vehicles are calculated by nameplate and have been for decades.
Utes have been the top two-selling vehicles outright in Australia for the past two years in a row (Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger) and are on track for a third.
Holden’s worst monthly result since 1948 was in September 2019, and the first time it had dipped below 3000 (2863). Holden’s October result of 3086 sales was the second-lowest on record. Other previous lows include 3266 (July 2019), 3483 (April 2019) and 3825 (February 2019).