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News - VFACTS - Sales 2005 - September

Large car sales slump further still

Slump: Ford sold just 3900 Falcons in September, alongside 1634 Territorys.

Falcon leads large car sales slide as SUV buyers flock despite fuel price hikes

10 Oct 2005

SKYROCKETING fuel prices are starting accelerate a slump in large car sales, according to the latest VFACTS industry sales figures.

The segment is continuing a downward spiral, slumping 12.2 per cent in year-to-date terms while the luxury car segment is down 2.3 per cent.

Both have failed to improve their volumes over the same period last year. Conversely, the momentum of surging SUV sales continues unabated.

Car industry executives and auto analysts believe the strong growth of novated – user chooser - leases has been responsible in part to a swing from large cars to SUVs.

According to the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Peter Sturrock, September’s sales "continue the downsizing trend of recent months".

"It’s clear that this trend has been magnified by the recent impact of higher petrol prices." So far this year, Holden has sold 52,142 Commodores, down 10.0 per cent over last year, Ford just 40,837 Falcons, down 17.7 per cent. Last month Ford sold just 3900 Falcons.

A large part of the Falcon slump has been attributed to the runaway success of the Territory.

Since its launch in May last year, Ford has sold 17,609 Territorys and managed 1634 in September.

Both the Commodore and Falcon were blitzed last month by Toyota’s Corolla, which sold 4950, and became the best-selling local car for the month.

The last time a small car topped the sales charts was in June 1998 when Hyundai sold 8663 Excels.

"While small cars are clearly flavour of the moment, sales of large 4WD utes in the light truck market are also booming – and many of them would have been bought by private motorists," Mr Sturrock said.

Medium and luxury SUVs continue their strong gains, with the off-road brigade running 6.9 per cent overall or 8879 vehicles, ahead in year-to-date terms.

The medium, compact and luxury SUV segments are also all returning strong gains.

Medium SUVs are up 25.8 per cent or 11,218 vehicles compact up 0.9 per cent or 538 vehicles while the SUV luxury segment is up 219 vehicles, or 2.1 per cent in year-to-date terms.

However, not all SUV segments reported gains with the large segment down 17.1 per cent, or 3096 vehicles in year-to-date terms.

The passenger car market overall – at 459,685 – has grown by 23,551 vehicles, or 5.4 per cent over last year.

With the exception of large and luxury vehicles, all passenger car segments recorded strong gains.

The small car segment is up 28,573 (21.6%) the light car segment up 5292 (8.4%) prestige up 3129 (11.3%) medium cars up 2632 (7.2%) sportscars up 481 (7.8%) and the people mover segment up 437(3.9%).

Toyota gained the top sales position for September with 19,192 vehicles, ahead of Holden with 14,056 and Ford third with 10,127.

Toyota, with a share of 20.2 per cent, holds market leadership in year-to-date terms.

Holden’s September result sees it in second position with a market share of 17.8 per cent, with Ford in third with 13.1 per cent.

Mazda had sales of 4931 and with a market share of 6.6 per cent, holds fourth spot.

Mitsubishi sold 4684 vehicles to remain in fifth with a market share of 6.4 per cent, ahead of Nissan in sixth on 5.9 per cent.

Of the minor local players, the Ford Focus recorded 1297 sales last month while the Fiesta continues to struggle for an edge, selling only 431.

Holden Astra did 2982 while the Adventra all-wheel drive remains a hard-sell, languishing with just 354 sales.

Mitsubishi, perhaps buoyed by renewed interest in the company thanks to the successful launch of the 380 and some dealer incentives, had a good month for Pajero and Outlander.

It sold 509 Pajeros and 500 Outlanders for the month while the 2.4-litre Lancer managed a healthy sales rate of 1125.

The Triton 4x4 continues to be a strong seller too with 455 sold last month.

Of the other importers, Hyundai had its best-ever September sales of 4800.

Year-to-date, Hyundai overtook Honda to regain seventh ranking outright with cumulative sales of 37,041, up 16 per cent over this time in 2004 and representing 4.9 per cent of the total market compared to 2004’s 4.5 per cent.

Getz was again popular in the light car class with 1605 sales, its third best ever month.

In the small car class segment, Hyundai comfortably held fourth place with combined sales of 2183, comprising Elantra’s 1306 and Accent’s 877 deliveries.

Accent had its best month since Getz was launched three years ago.

Strong global demand for the new Sonata V6 and four continued to hamper availability locally with 254 Sonatas finding buyers.

Overall, Hyundai remains in fifth spot for the month and year-to-date, ahead of Honda and Mitsubishi.

In SUV sales, Hyundai sold 334 Tucsons, its third best month since launch 14 months ago, while the Terracan managed 231 sales.

Fellow Korean importer Kia had a strong month with its new Rio, managing 762 for the just-launched hatch and sedan. Carnival and Cerato managed 296 and 478 sales respectively.

Honda set a September record, selling 3706 vehicles, which now takes its YTD tally to 36,111, only 363 units behind an all-time full-year sales record set last year.

The Accord twins led the way with 1295 sales – the majority Euros - followed by the Civic with 796 and Jazz on 762 units.

Honda’s overall market share stands at 4.8 per cent while passenger car share remained strong at 6.3 per cent and a 5.3 per cent SUV share.

September Top Ten:

No/Marque/Volume/Share (%)

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