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News - VFACTS - Sales 2005 - February

Holden reclaims top spot

Ahhh: Holden's AH Astra helped Holden outsell Toyota by just 63 vehicles.

Record Astra sales return Holden to Australian market leadership in February

15 Mar 2005

HOLDEN toppled Toyota for market leadership last month as the Australian automotive sector set a new record for February and continued its march toward the ‘magic million’ annual sales mark.

According to VFACTS figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Holden sold 15,193 vehicles – a mere 63 vehicles more than Toyota – to record its first monthly win since July 2003 and, with 18.2 per cent market share compared to 19.0 per cent for Toyota year to date, close the gap between outright first and second from 1.9 to 0.8 points.

Notwithstanding the rise in official interest rates last week, and high steel prices raising the prospect of a retail price increase for Australian-built cars, the FCAI’s official forecast remains at 980,000 for total vehicle sales in 2005.

"While the rate of growth might taper a little as the year goes on, we believe sales will continue to be buoyant given the intense price competition between brands and the exceptional value in real terms offered by new cars," said FCAI chief executive, Peter Sturrock.

Several other manufacturers including Ford, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Subaru smashed records for the month and contributed to the sector as a whole recording 81,009 sales – up 5132, or 6.8 per cent, on February 2004.

Year to date, sales are now seven per cent ahead of the same period last year.

Sports utility vehicles were again the prime movers for the month, increasing 20.3 per cent overall over February 2004 as the medium SUV segment – dominated once more by Ford’s Territory with more than 2000 sales alone – rose a massive 54.5 per cent.

Compact SUVs climbed 10.1 per cent and large SUVs 2.3 per cent, though offsetting SUV sales to an extent was an 11.7 per cent decrease in the luxury SUV market.

The passenger vehicle market increased 5.8 per cent over February 2004, however, the large car segment continued to struggle – it was down 9.8 per cent as Ford and Holden both experienced falls with their home-grown sedans – and luxury car sales fell 9.2 per cent.

Growth came from light cars increasing 14.1 per cent, small cars 14.4 per cent, prestige cars 8.2 per cent and sports cars 20.1 per cent.

At 5890 units, Commodore sales were down 864 units compared to February 2004 and Falcon sales, at 4650 units, were down 1250 units.

Mitsubishi sold 1782 Magna/Veradas for a 543-unit increase and Toyota posted 1306 Avalon/Camry V6 sales, which was slightly down on last year.

Year to date, Commodore leads the large car segment with 42.3 per cent market share, with Falcon on 34.2 per cent and Magna a distant third at 10.1 per cent.

With another solid month, the four-cylinder Camry still dominates the medium segment with 46.1 per cent YTD, ahead of the Mazda6 on 30.3 per cent.

Holden’s biggest gain came from its Astra small car, which racked up an astounding 3135 sales for the month ahead of the Mazda3 on 3027.

The latter still leads the segment YTD, though Astra is in second place ahead of Corolla, which with stock shortages was restricted to 2691 sales for the month.

Toyota’s Echo and Hyundai’s Getz each sold 1600-plus cars in the light segment, maintaining their clear dominance. On 10.4 per cent market share YTD, Holden’s European-built Barina is about 10 percentage points back from its main Asian rivals.

In the people-mover department, Honda’s Odyssey outsold the Kia Carnival and, on 27.8 per cent market share YTD, is now 1.5 points from taking leadership from the budget Korean.

Holden’s Monaro is still winning reasonable custom with 216 sales last month to make it the clear leader in the sports car segment – ahead of Holden’s own Astra convertible – and with 1400 sales last month Honda’s Accord is the clear front-runner (with 44.2 per cent market share YTD) in the prestige segment.

Luxury car honours are, as usual, being fought tooth-and-nail between the BMW 3 Series sedan and Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class, the latter winning the month but trailing the former YTD. There’s little in it – 0.8 per cent, in fact.

The light truck market fell 3.0 per cent and heavier commercial vehicles increased 7.3 per cent for the month.

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