News - VFACTS - Sales 2005 - April

Car sales soften in April

On the nose: Buyers avoided Daihatsu after its withdrawal was announced.

Fuel costs and school holidays curb sales, but Daihatsu the biggest loser

VFACTS logo9 May 2005


SCHOOL and other public holidays contributed to a slight softening in new-vehicle sales last month but Australia continues its march to another strong automotive year.

Volatile petrol prices also appear to have curbed some buyer enthusiasm, providing a boost to the small and medium segments, VFACTS industry figures revealed on May 4.

One of the biggest losers in April was Daihatsu, which has been severely impacted by Toyota's decision to withdraw the micro car-maker from the Australian market.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries figures also show that Toyota has pipped Holden for number-one spot on the sales chart, with Ford in third place.

Toyota is believed to have sold more than 15,000 vehicles last month, with Holden behind by about 1000 vehicles.

In year-to-date terms, Toyota is ahead of Holden by about 2000 units and holds a market share of around 19.5 per cent, with Holden around 18.5 per cent and Ford about 14 per cent.

Commodore remained the top-selling large car with more than 5500 sold for the month, with Ford's Falcon hitting around the 4000 mark - but down almost 20 per cent on the same month in 2004, due in large part to the continued success of its Territory 4WD.

Buyers appear to be substituting into the best-selling 4WD, which again performed well, selling an estimated 2000 units last month.

Mazda continues its strong form, holding fourth spot with 5010 sales, while Nissan and Mitsubishi fought it out last month with 4200 sales each.

At the upper end, some large SUVs have taken a battering while Toyota dealers are reporting strong interest in the hybrid petrol/electric Prius. About 100 of the hybrid cars sold nationally last month, with a strong element of private buyer interest.

The Holden Adventra had another poor month with significantly less than 100 sales but the Port Melbourne-based manufacturer's light commercials, along with Ford, did well. Falcon and Commodore utes each found more than 1200 buyers.

Medium SUVs of the ilk of the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota Rav4 and Subaru Forester continue to perform well with each selling almost 1000 last month, while small cars like the Toyota Corolla and Holden Astra continue to dominate.

Both Toyota and Holden reported sales of more than 2600 for both the Corolla and Astra respectively.

Nissan's result, given the importer's much publicised global one million sales campaign, is not good and is down on the 5271 vehicles sold in March.

Of the other importers, both Mazda and Honda recorded strong months. Mazda Australia's record sales pace continued last month with 5010 retail sales, an increase of 463 vehicles or 10.2 per cent over April last year, while Honda sold 3677 vehicles, its best April result ever.

Honda's strong month represents an increase of 37 per cent over April 2004 and a year-to-date increase of 31 per cent from 11,503 in 2004 to 15,184 this year. Honda is on target to achieve sales of 41,000, up from 36,474 in 2004.

As for Mazda, its April result makes it four record-result months in a row for the Japanese importer and puts its year-to-date sales total at 22,641 retails, up 23 per cent on this time last year.

Mazda Australia also claims that stock shortages constrained sales of some models. The Mazda2, now on run-out ahead of an updated model arriving in July, sold 430 units and the flagship RX-8, which has been affected by a temporary production stoppage due to a factory fire late last year, sold 40. RX8 production and supply recommences this month.

Mazda's forecast is for 60,000 sales this year, buoyed by the arrival of the Mazda2 facelift in July, revised Mazda6 in August, hot MPS all-wheel drive in October and new MX-5 in September.

The FCAI is maintaining its forecast result of 980,000 vehicles this year.

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