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VFACTS 2004: Toyota triumphs again

HiLux boost: The new generation HiLux arrives soon to help grow Toyota sales further.

A vehicle sales record is posted in 2004, and the magic million is not far away

7 Jan 2005

THE Australian motor vehicle industry soared to its third consecutive annual sales record last year.

According to official figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, 955,229 cars, trucks and buses were sold in 2004.

The total smashed the sales record set in 2003 by 45,418 vehicles or five per cent.

The result means the market has grown by 182,548 vehicles or 23.6 per cent in just three years.

“A strong economy, easy and inexpensive finance and the much improved value for money most vehicles now represent have attracted significantly larger numbers of people to the new car market in recent years,” said the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Peter Sturrock.

The FCAI is forecasting vehicle sales will once again set a record in 2005, topping 980,000.

“A million vehicles a year is still a challenging goal but it could conceivably be achieved,” said Mr Sturrock.

Toyota was the most popular brand for the second year in a row with 201,737 sales for 21.1 per cent of the market, up from 20.5 per cent.

It finished off the year out in front with 16,974 sales in a record-setting December during which a total 79,890 vehicles were sold.

It’s the fist time a brand has sold more than 200,000 cars in a single year in Australia and Toyota achieved it without a single major new vehicle launch.

Toyota’s executive director of sales and marketing, Dave Buttner, said the result was a significant landmark.

“It helps to establish Australia as a major market within Toyota’s global network,” he said.

“The fact that we can grow so strongly without the added impetus of major new model launches is a huge testament to the strength of the Toyota brand in this country,” he said.

“The result is pleasing on three fronts – we’ve increased our market share, outstripped the industry in terms of growth and increased our lead on our nearest competitor,” he said.

A key to its success was the growth of the SUV market, which it leads convincingly, with popular vehicles like the LandCruiser, Prado and RAV4 compact off-roader.

Worryingly for its rivals, Toyota will have a new generation Echo light car, RAV4, HiLux light commercial and HiAce range to launch in 2005, as well as other model updates.

Holden was second for the year with 178,027 deliveries followed by Ford with 135,172.

While Holden’s sales were up and it was the overall leader in the passenger and light truck segments, it’s market share was down from 19.3 to 18.6 per cent. By contrast, Ford’s share rose from 13.9 to 14.2 per cent.

Following the big three came the first of the importers, Nissan with 63,654, which pushed ahead of Mitsubishi with 56,967. The fourth local manufacturer slumped from 8.0 to 6.0 per cent share as Magna/Verada sales tumbled and the entry-level Mirage and Lancer coupe were deleted.

However, the silver lining for Mitsubishi was that December was its fourth consecutive month of share growth.

Mazda consolidated its sixth position with 55,560 sales, a 4.4 per cent sales rise, ahead of Hyundai whose sales rose 37.5 per cent to 42,510.

Eighth-placed Honda’s sales rose 18.4 per cent while Subaru in ninth enjoyed a sales increase of 12.7 per cent. But the biggest gain in the top 10 was enjoyed by Kia, whose sales rose by 7219 or 41.9 per cent to enter the top 10 for the first time.

106 center image The three most popular vehicle name plates in Australia last year were Holden’s Commodore with 79,170 sales followed by Ford’s Falcon with 65,384 and Toyota’s Camry four/V6 with 40,356, which passed the Magna/Verada.

The Medium Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment was the strongest performing category in 2004, growing by 57.4 per cent thanks to important new models from Ford, Holden and Toyota.

“The performance of the Australian-designed and built Ford Territory is particularly laudable given that its 13,583 sales were made in only eight months, suggesting it would easily have made the list of the top ten selling models in a full year,” said Mr Sturrock.

Other segments performing strongly were Prestige cars (up 27.1 per cent), People Movers (up 28.5 per cent), Luxury SUVs (up 15.3 percent) and four wheel drive Pickups (up 15.8) per cent.

“The strong sales of the Prestige and Luxury SUV segments indicate that plenty of consumers still feel confident, while the strong sales of light trucks and other commercial vehicles speaks to the strength of the economy as a whole,” said Mr Sturrock.

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