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News - VFACTS - Sales 2005 - August

Hot August bites

Light boom: Mazda2 had its best ever sales month in August.

Bite-sized cars outsell the big boys in another record-breaking month

VFACTS logo7 Sep 2005

By MARTON PETTENDY

SOARING fuel prices failed to keep new-car buyers away from dealer forecourts last month, with another monthly vehicle sales record being set in August.

However, instead of Australian-built large cars, it is small vehicles towards which consumers are turning, as the automotive industry looks increasingly certain to set yet another sales record in 2005.

Small-car sales surpassed large-car sales in Australia for the first time ever in July and that trend continued last month, when 86,179 cars, trucks and buses were sold.

According to official industry statistician VFACTS, that represents a 6935-vehicle (or 8.8 per cent) increase over August 2004.

Sales records have been achieved in seven out of the eight months this year, meaning 2005 is odds-on to be the fourth consecutive year of record vehicle sales in Australia.

With 663,445 sales year-to-date, the market is now 33,650 vehicles or 5.3 per cent per cent ahead of the same period last year, and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries continues to forecast a 2005 total of 980,000 vehicles – well ahead of last year’s record.

"Despite predictions that housing and fuel prices would dampen the market, we see no reason to doubt that the industry’s annual sales total will be significantly above last year’s record of 955,000," said FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock.

"Fuel prices are not discouraging people from buying motor vehicles, although they do seem to be influencing the type of vehicles being bought." Of the 5001 extra passenger cars sold in August (up 10.3 per cent on August 2004), 4600 were in the small-car segment, which was up 33.1 per cent in August.

Light cars sales were also up in August (by 7.9 per cent) but also experiencing a renewed sales spike were prestige cars (up 17.3 per cent) and luxury cars (up 6.5 per cent). Sports utility vehicle sales also continued their upward spiral to be 263 vehicles (1.8 per cent) up in August and 6.9 per cent up YTD.

"Fuel prices may be influencing the sales mix between the SUV segments but overall four-wheel drive demand is likely to remain extremely strong, reinforced by the launch of some attractive new models," said Mr Sturrock.

Light truck sales were also up in August (by a significant 11.4 per cent or 1502 units), to be 2.5 per cent ahead YTD and, according to Mr Sturrock, "another indication of the resilience of the motor vehicle market and positive business sentiment." Toyota was again the top-selling brand in August with 17,920 sales or 20.8 per cent of the market, ahead of Holden (15,301, 17.8 per cent).

Rounding out the top 10 in August were Ford (12,157, 14.1 per cent), Mazda (5464, 6.3 per cent), Nissan (4801, 5.6 per cent), Mitsubishi (4526, 5.3 per cent), Hyundai (4323 5.0 per cent), Honda (4006, 4.6 per cent), Subaru (3101, 3.6 per cent) and Kia (2019, 2.3 per cent).

On a YTD basis, Toyota continues to lead the market with 132,311 sales – 12,726 units ahead of Holden – while Honda holds a slender sales lead over Hyundai in seventh place and Mitsubishi remains ahead of Nissan in fifth place.

However, a resurgent Mazda is still fourth after setting a new sales record every month this year, and expects to shift 65,000 vehicles in 2005 – almost 17 per cent up on last year’s 55,560 total.

Mazda sold 5464 vehicles last month to set a new August sales record, aided by the best-ever sales month for its recently updated Mazda2 (601 sales), the best August sales for B-Series (583) and the best sales month this year for RX-8 (133).

A renewed marketing campaign for its revised XC70 range also saw Volvo achieve a 73 per cent sales increase month-on-month. XC70 sales were the best in two years – up 185 per cent on August 2004 sales, albeit from a low base – while the XC90 achieved its best sales result since July 2003 to be up 39 per cent on the same month last year.

To the end of August, the passenger vehicle market is ahead 5.5 per cent on the same period in 2004. Of that, small cars are up 22,949 units (19.5 per cent), prestige cars are up 3035 (12.3 per cent), medium cars are up 3156 (9.9 per cent), light cars are up 4141 (7.4 per cent), sports cars are up 322 (5.9 per cent) and people-movers are up 190 (1.9 per cent).

Continuing the trend this year, large cars are down 10 per cent (11,825 units) and luxury cars are down 3.7 per cent (825).

As a consequence, overall market share for the top three brands YTD is down on 2004, with Toyota’s shrinking from 21.2 to 19.9 per cent, Holden’s falling from 18.6 to 18.0 per cent and Ford dropping from 13.9 to 13.3 per cent.

While Kia’s 2005 YTD market share remains static at 2.7 per cent, Nissan is the only other brand to have a smaller share so far in 2005 (down from 6.4 to 5.8 per cent).

Mazda and Mitsubishi are both up six market share points (from 6.1 to 6.7 percent and from 5.9 to 6.5 percent respectively), while Honda is up signifi cantly (4.0 to 4.9 per cent), Hyundai has grown from 4.4 to 4.9 per cent and Subaru now holds a 3.8 per cent share (up from 3.6 per cent).

TOP 10 MAKES YTD

Rank Make Volume Share (%)
1 Toyota 132,311 19.9
2 Holden 119,585 18.0
3 Ford 88,239 13.3
4 Mazda 44,727 6.7
5 Mitsubishi 43,050 6.5
6 Nissan 38,718 5.8
7 Honda 32,405 4.9
8 Hyundai 32,241 4.9
9 Subaru 24,886 3.8
10 Kia 17,850 2.7

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