Despite a declining market, these vehicles have somehow managed to improve their positioning in an especially challenging year.
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Australia's new-car market might have posted its 30th consecutive month of decline in September 2020, but there are still success stories to be found among several models increasingly dominating their respective segments.

While we often look at new-car sales in terms of examples sold, another important measure is market share – or the proportion of sales a single model represents in its segment.

For example, in 2020 so far, sales of the Toyota RAV4 have made up 25.2 per cent of total medium SUV sales – meaning one in four medium SUVs sold in Australia is a RAV4.

Of course, market share isn't a direct reflection of sales, but in a market that's in decline, it's a win for manufacturers to be able to claim a large percentage of their segment, no matter how small that segment is.

But market share is an important metric for brands, given it's one they can use to highlight their dominance in a segment, even amid falling sales.

For some cars, this dominance is more easily achieved, thanks to rapidly dwindling manufacturer line-ups, particularly in the micro or light city car segment or the large sedan segment, while others must fight against an ever-increasing onslaught of new competitors in order to maintain their stake.

In a year in which most models saw their market share decline or flatline, we've rounded up the passenger vehicles that have bucked the trend, and recorded a one per cent or more rise in their market share over the last 12 months.

The big winners

The vehicle with the biggest increase in market share over 12 months was the Kia Stinger, which saw a 36.7 per cent rise in its dominance of the slowly-disappearing 'large car under $70,000' segment, due in part to the exit of the Holden Commodore.

This market share increase came despite the Stinger's year-on-year sales recording a four-unit decline.

Audi's Q3 was also an impressive performer thanks to an all-new generation hitting showrooms in late 2019, helping it climb from a 1.9 per cent market share to a whopping 20.5 per cent share.

Toyota's RAV4 saw sales surge in 2020, partly due to the exponential growth in demand for hybrid variants, meaning the SUV now represents 25.2 per cent of all sales in its segment, up from 13.5 per cent for the same period last year (sales for the same period last year were 17,600 – in 2020 they're at 27,111).

Mercedes-Benz also saw success with several of its SUV models, most notably the GLS, which grew its market share by 17.4 per cent compared to 2019, and the GLE, which was up 9.8 per cent on last year.

Ford's success can be predominantly pinned to just two of its models – the Ranger and Everest – which were the only members of the brand's line-up to note an increase in market share.

The Ranger was up by 2.6 per cent to claim 24.5 per cent of the 4x4 pick-up segment, while the Everest's market share rose by 1.5 per cent compared to 2019.

The newcomers

The segments that saw the highest rate of new arrivals in 2020 were undoubtedly the light SUV and small SUV classes.

The Kia Seltos landed in late 2019 and has since nabbed over 10 per cent of the small SUV space so far this year, while Mazda's CX-30 arrived in early 2020 and went on to take 9 per cent of the same segment.

Volkswagen's T-Cross also saw a similar success story, claiming 8.7 per cent of light SUV sales so far this year despite only arriving in May 2020.

While it had a bit more time to climb the rankings after arriving in September 2019, the Hyundai Venue's ascent from 1.7 per cent of light SUV sales to 14.1 per cent of sales in 12 months is impressive.

The launch of an all-new Land Rover Defender in August 2020 helped that model to claim a modest 1.8 per cent slice of the large SUVs over $70,000 segment this year, while the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe managed to take almost 20 per cent of the premium upper-large car segment in less than year's time.

Another worthwhile mention is Toyota's Granvia people mover, which took a fourth-quarter 2019 launch and turned it into a 29.2 per cent stake in its class.

The last of a dying breed

Meanwhile, other models benefitted from being one of the last ones standing in their segment.

Despite only a modest year-on-year rise in unit sales, the Mitsubishi Mirage can now claim 14.2 per cent of the micro city car segment thanks to the departure of models like the Holden Spark – leaving only three models remaining in this segment (Kia's Picanto and the Fiat 500 are the other two).

Suzuki's Baleno has also risen up the ranks of the light cars under $25,000 segment after almost doubling its sales year-on-year, thereby claiming an additional 6.7 per cent of the market after the departure of the Honda Jazz and Holden Barina.

The Audi A1 can now also claim almost a quarter of light car sales over the $25,000 mark – likely because it's one of only five cars left in that segment, soon to be four once the Renault Zoe departs.

To see the full breakdown of the models that have their market share over the last 12 months, check out the chart below.

NB: You'll notice that for many models, this increase in market share also correlated with a year-on-year increase in unit sales, however for a small handful this increased market share was despite dwindling sales and attributable more to a reduced segment.