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Market Insight: HiLux the consistent performer

Trendy Toyota: Plotting Australian sales of the Toyota HiLux and Corolla (left) on a graph reveals almost horizontal trend lines while other top-five sellers trend sharply up or down.

Toyota’s popular HiLux a rock-steady long-term seller in Australia’s changing market


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7 Nov 2014

UNBREAKABLE may be how Toyota markets its HiLux one-tonne ute but the same term applies to its performance as a consistent seller in Australia, with year-to-date average monthly sales of 3201 units eerily close to the 3281-unit long term average measured over the past seven years.

Considering the rapidly changing face of Australia’s new car market that is a staggering feat, but that is not to say the HiLux hasn’t endured some ups and downs.

In a comparison of Australia’s current top five sellers – in descending order the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, HiLux, Holden Commodore and Hyundai i30 – the tough Toyota truck is a close second to the Commodore when it comes to largest difference between best and worst sales months since January 2008.

Toyota sold a record 4931 HiLuxes in June 2013 compared with just 1080 in January 2012 – a spread of 3851 units – while the Commodore’s peak of 5413 in December 2008 and lull of 1515 units in April 2013 calculates to a slightly larger 3898-unit difference between good times and bad.

The HiLux low point was a direct result of devastating floods in Thailand, where it is built, and the Commodore’s slump was caused by a more successful than expected runout campaign for VE models before the current VF hit showrooms.

Plotting a graph of HiLux sales from the beginning of 2008 to the end of October this year reveals an almost horizontal trend line. Add Corolla sales to the same graph and the small car’s trend line is similarly horizontal.

But the lines are slightly closer together at the 2008 end, with the Corolla trending almost imperceptibly upwards and the HiLux trending slightly but more discernibly down.

The only model trending sharply downward is the Commodore, with the Mazda3 and i30 both showing a strong upward trend and illustrating the growing popularity of small cars among Australians.

On the subject of consistency, a look at historic VFACTS sales figures of the Corolla, Mazda3, HiLux, Commodore and i30 puts them in the same sales ranking (relative to each other) as both the 2014 year-to-date and October sales figures.

It sheds light on how popular the Hyundai i30 has become during the seven years since its Australian launch in October 2007 (2008 was chosen as a starting point for this analysis as it was the i30’s first full sales year).

The i30 has also statistically been the second most consistent performer of Australia’s current top five sellers after the Mazda3, with a 2991-unit difference between its record 3678 sales in March 2010 and 687 total in February 2008, well before the model started to really gain market traction in mid-2009.

A 2546-unit spread between best and worst months for the Mazda3 comes off much larger monthly maximum and minimum sales than the i30, with a record 4649 sold in December 2012 and a low of 2103 in December 2008, making the Mazda3 the only car in this analysis to have a minimum sales figure of more than 2000.

Despite the success of the VF Commodore – the last iteration of Holden’s Australian built large car – this analysis reveals a growing gulf between what was for a long time Australia’s favourite car and the much smaller contender from Toyota.

Since the beginning of 2008 Toyota has sold 283,855 Corollas in Australia and Holden has sold 267,064 Commodores, a relatively small gap of 16,791 units.

But looking at 2014 year-to-date sales, the difference is 10,213 units in favour of the Corolla – meaning the majority of its long-term lead over the big Holden was achieved this year alone.

Comparing the long-term average gap between monthly Corolla and Commodore sales with 2014 year-to-date figures shows the small Toyota has increased its average monthly lead over the Commodore by 205 units long-term to 1021 units year-to-date.

On the other side of the coin, Hyundai has closed the gap between i30 and Corolla sales from 1327 in the seven-year monthly average to 1113 year-to-date.

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