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News - VFACTS - Sales 2004 - April

VFACTS: Toyota leads boom April

Prime mover: The new Mazda3 small car helped Mazda to an historic sales performance in April.

Toyota domination continues in a record April month of sales

VFACTS logo10 May 2004

By MARTON PETTENDY

AUSTRALIAN new car sales continued their record-breaking ways last month when a new April sales record increased the likelihood of the 2004 market breaking the million vehicle barrier for the first time.

While the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ official 2004 sales forecast remains 960,000, the actual running rate continues to break the 985,000 mark, following sales of 71,305 new vehicles in April.

The figure sets a new record for April – up 2440 units or 3.5 per cent on the previous April record set in 2003 (when 68,865 new vehicles were sold).

The positive result comes despite one less selling day this time around and a softening of the passenger vehicle market, which fell by 523 vehicles or 1.2 per cent over the same month last year.

But slower passenger car sales in April were more than compensated for by more sales of sports utility vehicles (up 508 or 4.3 per cent), light trucks (up 1930 or 18.6 per cent) and heavy commercials (up 525 or 30.6 per cent) over April 2003.

Year-to-date the 2004 market of 298,025 vehicles is running ahead of the same period last year by 9.2 per cent or 25,142 vehicles.

Broken down, a total of 186,398 passenger vehicles is up by 8183 vehicles (4.6 per cent), with biggest improvers being prestige cars (up 5121 or 75.2 per cent), people-movers (up 550 or 15.5 per cent), medium cars (up 1894 or 14.2 per cent), light cars (up 2860 or 11.8 per cent), luxury cars (up 896 or 8.8 per cent) and small cars (up 3335 or 6.2 per cent).

Of the passenger segments, only large cars and sports cars have dipped, the former by 5371 sales or 8.6 per cent and the latter by 1102 units or a significant 29.6 per cent.

It’s a similar story for the commercials, with light trucks the big improver at 51,061 sales YTD - 9025 vehicles or 21.5 per cent up on 2003.

SUVs, at 52,512 sales so far in 2004, are also running a big 6460 vehicles or 14 per cent ahead of 2003 – led by SUV luxury (up 1828 or 59.6 per cent), SUV medium (up 4704 or 43.6 per cent) and SUV compact (up 176 or 0.7 per cent).

Only large SUV and light bus sales experienced a decline, the former down 248 or 3.1 per cent on 2003.

Of the marques, Toyota was again market leader in April with 15,068 vehicle sales and a YTD market share of 21.1 per cent.

Holden was second best for the month with 13,190 sales, enough to maintain second place in YTD market share terms, with 18.8 per cent - a full percentage point down on its April 2003 YTD share.

Year-to-date Toyota leads Holden by a margin of 6784 vehicles or 2.3 market share points. Ford sold 9547 vehicles in April to hold on to a third-biggest YTD market share of 13.4 per cent (down from 14 per cent at this time last year).

Commodore won the battle to be market leader by less than 300 sales over Falcon - 5419 to 5154. Sales of both staple vehicles are down year-on-year. For Commodore the figure is 24,489 versus 27,605, while for Falcon it is 21,579 against 22,188.

Mazda sold more cars than Nissan in April to be the fourth best-selling marque for the month and did not miss the opportunity to announce its best sales performance since Mazda first arrived in Australia in 1959.

It’s 4547 April sales bettered all but Toyota, Holden and Ford for a 6.4 per cent share for the month and sales extended Mazda Australia’s run of monthly year-on-year growth to 22 months.

YTD Mazda has sold 18,414 vehicles, up 13.1 per cent on 2003 – thanks in part to 2057 Mazda3 sales in April, plus 894 sales of the Mazda6, which continues to be the most popular imported medium car.

"Finishing fourth ahead of a local car-maker and all other importers was icing on the cake for April," said Mazda Australia managing director Malcolm Gough.

"Our biggest challenge in the coming months will be to keep up with record demand, with Mazda’s global success putting pressure on supply. However, we should deliver a new retail sales record this year of about 55,000." Fifth for the month and sixth for the year so far is Mitsubishi, the troubled Adelaide car-maker selling 4274 vehicles in April to gather only a 6 per cent share for the month and the year – down from 8.2 per cent last year.

For the third consecutive month and year-to-date, Hyundai ranked fifth in passenger car sales ahead of Mitsubishi and one place better than Hyundai’s sixth position in 2003.

But the South Korean passenger car brand remains seventh best overall in April (with 3152 sales – an increase of 69 per cent over April 2003 - and a 4.4 per cent share) and for the year (12,756 sales – a 58 per cent year-on-year increase - for a share of 4.3 per cent).

Honda Australia recorded its best April retail result ever and a record year-to-date result of 11,503 units - a 29 per cent increase over the corresponding period last year. Despite finishing ninth for the month on sales (2678) and market share (3.8 per cent), Honda retains eighth on YTD figures with 11,503 sales and a share of 3.9 per cent.

Star performers for Honda in April were the Accord range (1127), CR-V (594) and Jazz (558).

"We broke our April sales record and we’re keeping up the momentum," said Honda Australia director Lindsay Smalley.

"We are well on the way to smashing our sales target of 33,000 units." Bettering Honda for the month but still ninth for the year is Subaru, which posted record April sales of 2764 units for a share of 3.9 per cent, an all-time record for the brand. YTD Subaru has sold 11,165 units – 1744 units or 18.5 per cent ahead of 2003 – for a 3.7 per cent market share.

Forester retailed 877 units to snare 15.4 per cent of the compact SUV segment in April, while Impreza posted its best ever April total of 780 units or 5.9 per cent of the small car market. Outback's 553 was also a record for the month and, combined with Forester sales, gives Subaru a dominant 25.1 per cent share of the compact SUV market.

Rounding out the top 10 car makes is Kia, which sold 1753 vehicles in April for a total 7597 sales and 2.5 per cent share - almost a full percentage point up on this time last year.

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