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News - VFACTS - Sales 2011

Commodore back on top as Toyota falters in February

Back in form: Holden's Commodore returned to market leadership last month for the first time since October.

Toyota loses market share as Holden and Mazda knock Corolla off its perch

VFACTS logo3 Mar 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

HOLDEN’S Commodore reclaimed the title of Australia's best-selling car after a three-month hiatus in February, when the Australian new-vehicle market continued to be soft at least in terms of passenger car sales - which were down five per cent month-on-month while SUV sales increased 4.7 per cent and light trucks bounced back from a near-10 per cent dive in January.

The Commodore found 3829 new homes last month (down 9.5 per cent on January 2010 figures) while the Mazda3 attracted 3575 buyers (up 8.6 per cent), eclipsing the Toyota Corolla by almost 1000 units to steal its crown as most popular small car and take second place overall in February.

Overall, the normally unshakeable Toyota slipped 13.1 per cent to 14,604 sales, dropping two percentage points of market share. Of the top-ten manufacturers only Honda fared worse – it posted its second consecutive double-digit sales dip, down 16.7 per cent to 2585 units.

In addition to making Australia's second-best seller, Mazda had a good month, up 9.2 per cent to cling on to third place above Ford with 7644 sales and claiming top spot in both the light and small car segments.

Since losing its number three spot to Mazda last month, the Blue Oval has to be happy with 6.4 per cent growth and 7602 sales – up 1.0 per cent year-to-date. A spokesman for Ford Australia said the company was pleased to be in positive territory, with a second successive record month for its imported Fiesta (1160) and a record month for Mondeo (735).

Strikingly, however, Ford’s locally built models are the only ones in arrears for the Blue Oval brand, with Falcon down 37.5 per cent last month on 1572 units (-43.5% YTD), Falcon Ute down 22.4 per cent (-13.8% YTD) and Territory down 10.1 per cent (-5.7% YTD).

Ford again emphasised that it is suffering from a lack of LPG model variants, which make up around 20 per cent of Falcon sedan sales and almost 50 per cent of its ute volume.

There was no changes to the leaderboard rankings compared with last month, although Nissan's sales leapt 21.7 per cent to 5593, increasing its lead over Mitsubishi (4537) and threatening to catch up with Hyundai, which had its second best February result in history with 6607 sales.

The light car segment – defying expectations of significant growth – fell 5.5 per cent compared with the same time last year. Leader of the light cars under $25,000 was the Mazda2, up 37.5 per cent with 1572 sales, while king of the premium-light cars (over $25,000) was again Peugeot's 207, with 110 units representing a 120 per cent rise over February 2010's figure and a dominating 54.2 per cent market share.

Mazda built on this month's light car success in the popular and highly competitive small car arena, sales of which rose three per cent to 19,344. The Mazda3 comfortably conquered top spot, climbing 5.5 per cent to 3575 units. Although still down 9.3 per cent on February last year, the Hyundai i30 leapt out of its recent lull with 2654 sold, relegating Toyota's Corolla into third place by 54 units.

Toyota Australia senior executive director for sales and marketing David Buttner said: “We expected Corolla and Yaris sales in February to come off their recent highs following the end of extremely successful low-interest offers.”

106 center imageFrom top: Mazda3, Subaru Forester and Ford Falcon.

Overall, a five per cent downturn in the passenger car market was offset by almost the same growth in SUV sales, accounting for 18,916 – almost a quarter – of the 80,896 vehicles sold last month.

Large and luxury SUVs led the growth charge, up 39.8 per cent and 15.7 per cent respectively, while compact SUVs increased by a modest 4.2 per cent. Medium SUVs were the only losers, dropping 2.3 per cent to 150 units.

The Subaru Forester regained the honour of compact SUV favourite, up 22 per cent to register 1221 sales – a February record. Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said he is “delighted with the response to our newer models, including the revised Forester range”.

Toyota confidently held onto top spot in the medium and large SUV charts with its Prado taking a 19.3 per cent slice of the medium SUV market represented by 1215 sales - up 1.8 per cent. Its 200 Series LandCruiser big brother continued its dictatorship of the large SUV market with a 71.8 per cent share thanks to its 850 sales (up 24.5 per cent).

The Japanese giant can also feel secure in its position as leader of the medium car segment with 1533 Australian-built Camrys sold - representing a third of the under $60,000 mid-size car market, despite a significant sales slide of 27.6 per cent.

Toyota's HiLux 4x2 (1075) and HiAce commuter bus (162) also topped their segments. “On-going customer demand for Toyota cars, SUVs and light-commercial vehicles is strong, with our order bank growing by 1000 units last month," said Mr Buttner.

The luxury SUV sector saw some impressive growth figures, with the Jeep Grand Cherokee up 563.6 per cent from just 22 units to 146, Mercedes-Benz GL-class up 280 per cent, Audi's Q7 up 205.2 per cent and Volvo XC60 up 116.7 per cent.

The overall market of 80,896 vehicles this month is down by a modest 1.6 per cent on February 2010 overall, but FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar remains bullish as sales in Queensland begin to recover as consumers replace flood and cyclone-damaged vehicles.

“This is a solid result reflecting the strong underlying demand for new vehicles,” he said.

“Sales to private customers increased 4.1 per cent during February to total 39,776 units – outselling business and fleet purchases. This is an encouraging indicator of the market and reflects a strong level of economic confidence.”
February 2011 top ten makes:
Brand Sales &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Movement Share &nbsp
Toyota 14,604 -13.1% 18.1%
Holden 10,314 -8.0% 12.7%
Mazda 7,644 +9.2% 9.4%
Ford 7,602 +6.4% 9.4%
Hyundai 6,607 -8.3% 8.2%
Nissan 5,593 +21.7% 6.9%
Mitsubishi 5,118 +1.8% 6.3%
Subaru 3,299 +0.6% 4.1%
Volkswagen 3,122 +4.1% 3.9%
Honda 2,585 -16.7% 3.2%

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