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Who’s leading the pack in a strong market?

Kombi nation: Refreshed people movers like the VW Multivan (pictured) and new Kia Carnival have helped drive growth in their segment.

SUVs and utes remain sales powerhouse as interest in micro cars, people movers grows


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7 Oct 2021

SEPTEMBER showed its spring character with a rejuvenating 20.8 per cent sales increase over August and a near 30 per cent boost compared with the same month in 2020.

It was a refreshing breath of optimism in a year that for many states suffered barriers to customers attending showrooms and testing cars while dealers were hampered by sluggish stock deliveries and the hardship of operating at arm’s length from the business.

While the new-vehicle market powered along nicely in September, there were some notable stand-out performers.

Unsurprisingly, SUVs were top of the list. The best performers came from the large, small and light segments of the SUV genre.

The Hyundai Venue and Volkswagen T-Cross reported strong results in the light sector last month.

Each has a 14.6 per cent share of the segment and for the year ending September 30, upped their sales by 62.8 per cent and 186 per cent over the same period in 2020.

They are beaten by stalwart Mazda’s CX-3 (11,250 sales this year and a giant 47.7 per cent share) that looks unbeatable.

However, two newbies that have already gained attention from the growing list of light-SUV buyers are the Kia Stonic (5601 sales year-to-date) and the Toyota Yaris Cross (6143 sales) that are likely to maintain strength through the year.

The small SUV category is up 43 per cent year-to-date compared with the same period of 2020, led by buyer interest in models such as the MG ZS that has sold 13,740 units in the past nine months, up a whopping 387.8 per cent on last year.

Another pair of small SUVs climbing the ladder are the Mazda CX-30 (up 75.2 per cent for the nine months with 10,425 sales) and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (up 49 per cent).

The large SUV sector is led by the Toyota Prado with 17,326 sales to date and a 19.7 per cent lion’s share. But the interest in September is with the Subaru Outback that scored a 113.2 per cent leap in sales, finding 1162 new owners in the month and 7259 for the year to date.

In the sector, there was also strong results by the recently launched Isuzu Ute MU-X that has notched up 1297 sales for September and its sales for the past nine months are up 67.9 per cent compared with last year, when talk started about a replacement for the previous model.

The Ford Everest was another large SUV to grab buyer attention, up 50 per cent on 2020 with 6146 sales for the year.

People movers were also in vogue this year as many buyers sought a more spacious multi-seat vehicle without needing the all-wheel drive capabilities of an SUV.

Kia’s Carnival is the clear winner here with more than 51 per cent of the sub-$60,000 people-mover market. Despite having the market almost to itself, its sales are up 55.5 per cent year-to-date.

Volkswagen is back in the market after a lull and a change in model with its Multivan scoring a 274.9 per cent increase in sales to 791 for the year.

The LDV G10 wagon is also on the up with a 41.5 per cent sales hike and 720 sales for the year.

Life is also good for the micro passenger car segment that has now been slashed to only three entrants. The Kia Picanto remains the winner with an 87.7 per cent boost to its sales and 5132 deliveries for the year.

The micro segment is up 74.2 per cent for the year, compared with the same period in 2020, with strong performances from the Kia Picanto, the Fiat 500/Abarth (up 26.1 per cent) and the remaining player, the Mitsubishi Mirage that scored a 35.5 per cent lift in sales.

The least surprising winners for this year, and September in particular, has been the 4x4 utes. There are 20 models in this segment that sold 146,823 units this year, a rise of 36.3 per cent on the same period in 2020.

Notable winners are the Isuzu Ute D-Max (up 147.1 per cent); Mazda BT-50 (up 91.8 per cent); Ford Ranger (up 30.6 per cent); Toyota Hilux and LandCruiser ute/cab-chassis (up 36.5 and 26.1 per cent respectively); and the Volkswagen Amarok that lifted by 20.7 per cent.

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