As you can read in much more detail here, overall new vehicle sales fell nearly 8 per cent in Australia year to their lowest level since 2011.
Just one of the top 10 car makers managed to grow its sales - that would be Kia - and some fell away by double digits. Moreover, almost every segment (passenger, SUV and commercial) went backwards.
But there were still some bright spots. Some brands organically grew off a low base, but most from an influx of new or upgraded models. Here are the notables.
The factory distributor for China’s reborn SUV-focused brand grew its sales by a ridiculous 176.9 per cent, from 3007 across 2018 to 8326 last year.
Its Mazda CX-3-rivalling ZS managed 3729 sales, and now comes as an electric car too. The MG3 city car managed 4017 sales and nabbed an impressive 6.6 per cent market share despite lacking an ANCAP crash rating.
In 2020, expect its CX-5-rivalling MG HS to conquest a few thousand more buyers, because it follows the ZS’s winning formula. The products are actually decent, and the badge is well-known.
Sharp drive-away pricing, a benchmark warranty, and excellent products propelled Korea’s number-two to 61,503 sales last year, up 4.6 per cent. In such a down market that modest growth is quite the outlier.
The market’s number six brand finished third in passenger car sales, and almost pipped Hyundai into second. This was driven by the new Cerato, up 16.8 per cent to 21,757, making it fourth in segment behind the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and Hyundai i30.
With a full year of sales for the new Seltos small SUV in 2020, expect the records to keep tumbling.
An undeniably good news story for Australian manufacturing, led by Sydney's Ateco Group which has "invested over $100m in tools, equipment, inventory, and stock to enable product development, quality and conformity with the overseas requirements of RAM Trucks International, ADR regulations, and high consumer expectations".
The distributor licenses Walkinshaw’s swish new Melbourne production line to do the factory-spec RHD conversions of the 1500 and 2500 pickups direct from the US, and using its scale and knowhow has dragged prices down to much more tempting levels.
As such, its sales of 2868 units in 2019 represented 296.7 per cent growth over the course of the year. 2600 of these sales were of the 1500 which, kicking off at $80,000, is a legitimate V8 competitor to less powerful diesels such as the Ford Ranger Raptor.
Note: this story previously failed to mention Ateco's role and management of the Ram business in Australia.
The Czech arm of the Volkswagen Group gets more attention from our readers and viewers than its small sales would suggest, and it seems this growing interest is contagious. A broadened SUV range helped the company to 7001 sales last year, up 20.6 per cent.
Unsurprisingly it was the Kodiaq (up 60.7 per cent) and Karoq (up 127.4 per cent) that did the heavy lifting, though the Octavia remains the brand’s top seller (1814). With the new Scala hatch and Kamiq small crossover coming this year, it’s not out of the question for 10,000 sales to be a goal.
A similar story here, with the market-topping XC40 small SUV driving the Swedish brand to an outstanding result of 7779 sales, up 16.2 per cent.
The XC60 (3406), that XC40 (2858) and the big kahuna XC90 (1192) were the top sellers, but the newly launched S60 and V60 should add volumes in 2020. This is a brand with some momentum, pun sort of intended.
The brand that claims to be China’s number one SUV brand, and which like MG sells its wares locally through a factory distributor, grew sales by 169.5 per cent to 1706 units last year.
More than half (918) of the volume came from the entry point to its range, the H2, with the larger H6 (475) and 4x4-ready H9 (312) making up the remainder. However, with little in the pipeline, the going could get tougher for a bit. The brand has pledged to persist long-term.
Korea’s least-known car-maker returned with a vengeance in 2019, subsequently finding 1040 buyers.
The underrated Musso pickup found 545 customers, its Rexton SUV spinoff 213, and the Tivoli small SUV 234. With an updated version of that car, plus the impressive new Korando now available, big growth into 2020 is a foregone conclusion. Let’s not forget the seven-year warranty too.
Japan’s luxury player sold 9612 new cars during 2019, up 9 per cent over the previous year’s total. In the process it outsold Land Rover, Renault and Jeep.
The news wasn’t quite as good as it appeared though, since most of its models went backward with the exception of the new UX small crossover (now Lexus’s number two behind the NX with 1931 sales). Still, growth is growth!
Sales by brand:
|Car brand||2019 sales||Change over 2018|
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