With car sales falling 19 months in succession and 2019 year-to-date (YTD) figures showing a market-wide drop of 8.0 per cent, there is no shortage of losers out there - the top 5 of which are all small cars.
To be specific, the YTD tally of 893,920 new cars, SUVs and commercials is 77,803 units short of the cumulative 2018 tally.
The drop in sales of small cars accounts for 30,187 of these, equating to a cut in market share from 17.5 to 15.7 per cent. These were once the dominant vehicle type, but have been eclipsed by the Medium SUV segment led by the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.
Here’s a quick list of the new still-on-sale vehicles that have taken the biggest sales hits in 2019 compared to the same period last year.
We haven’t included a few cars that are high on the list, but which have been discontinued during the course of the year, since we don’t want to distort the figures. Examples include the Holden Captiva, Mitsubishi Lancer, and Holden Barina.
Toyota Corolla - down 4888 units
When the new Corolla launched this year, it came with a higher base price, partially offset by a larger and more affordable Hybrid range. On the upside, it’s still the nation’s top-selling passenger car, and third overall behind the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes.
Volkswagen Golf - down 4318 units
Mazda 3 - down 4219 units
The new-generation Mazda 3 hatch arrived in March, and the sedan May. Before this the company was selling stock of the old model at discounts. The pricier new offering is our favourite small car, but the market response has been muted. Not that Mazda is shocked, having predicted this result.
Subaru Impreza - down 4166 units
Sales of the venerable AWD hatch have tanked this year, by more than 50 per cent. A factory shutdown over some defective parts hurt supply levels, and the perfect storm was completed by the softening market and the Subaru’s advancing age.
Holden Astra - down 3933 units
When GM Korea shuttered its plant this year, the Astra sedan tap was turned off, spelling its death in Australia. With Holden also axing the slow-selling wagon, the Euro hatch alone carries the can here. But for how long, given Opel is now owned by PSA (Peugeot/Citroen)?
Hyundai Accent - down 3791 units
Production of Hyundai’s top-selling light car has stopped with no replacement in sight, unless you include the more expensive Venue small crossover. But it’s still running out existing stock, ergo its inclusion here.
Toyota Kluger - down 3259 units
With a brand new version outed in the US but potentially not due to hit Australia until 2021, the drop in sales may be of some concern, though it’s still the biggest seller in its class, well ahead of the Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Subaru Outback - down 3049 units
Supply issues also hurt the venerable Subaru crossover earlier in the year. The fact local buyers must wait more than a year for the brand new one adds pressure, though we’d still expect some good deals on the outgoing car.
Holden Commodore - down 2850 units
Subaru XV - down 2825 units
Small SUV sales are hanging in there, down only 2.0 per cent this year (less than the market average). But the Subaru’s partially supply-affected tally on its XV has fallen about 25 per cent while rivals like the Hyundai Kona and Mitsubishi ASX have grown.