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News - VFACTS - Sales 2006 - September

Volatile petrol prices help drive down sales

Please consider: Mitsubishi's 380 had a 'pleasing' month.

SUVs, light trucks and now small cars put the brakes on Australia’s new-car market

10 Oct 2006

AUSTRALIA'S new-vehicle market has slumped further behind last year’s record levels as the popularity of SUVs, light trucks and, for the first time this year, small cars waned in September.

At the three-quarter mark of 2006, total new-car sales are now 26,960 vehicles (or 3.6 per cent) down on the same year-to-date figure recorded in 2005, when a record of 988,269 vehicles were sold.

This has prompted the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to revise its projected 2006 sales forecast down by 10,000 vehicles to 970,000.

Such a figure would still make 2006 the second-best sales year on record as it easily betters the 2004 result of 955,229, and Toyota will be the clear winner with an unassailable 2006 sales lead of 47,999 vehicles or 6.7 market share points over Holden.

Despite a rash of new models this year, slower small-car sales and the failure of Holden’s redesigned VE Commodore to make up lost ground in the large-car segment, into which Toyota's all-new Aurion sedan will be launched later this month, could make further sales records unlikely in coming years.

"While we expect fourth-quarter sales to be strong, it's clear that four years of record sales have, for the moment, come to an end," the FCAI chief executive, Peter Sturrock, said.

"It's important to remember, however, that only five years ago motor vehicle sales were averaging about 780,000 a year, so you could say that the Australian market has permanently shifted into a higher gear." In its first full month on sale, Holden’s new VE attracted the vast majority of 5262 Commodore sales posted in September – 411 vehicles or 8.5 per cent up on Commodore’s tally in September 2005. However, Commodore sales remain down 11,192 vehicles or a massive 21.5 per cent down on year-to-date figures.

It is the same news at Ford, where 3563 Falcon sales in September sees the Blue Oval’s volume-selling model down 337 vehicles or 8.6 per cent down month-on-month, as well as 7602 cars or 18.6 per cent down year-on-year.

While that gave Commodore a massive 49.2 per cent share of the large-car segment for the month, Holden’s most popular model continues to hold a 42.2 per cent share so far in 2006, compared to Falcon’s 34.4 per cent slice.

106 center imageLeft: Toyota Aurion (top) and Holden Commodore.

According to official VFACTS figures, Australia's only other homegrown sub-$80,000 large-car contender, Mitsubishi’s 380 sedan, found 963 homes in September for a YTD total of 9603 examples, which represents a 9.9 per cent segment share. Honda’s (V6) Accord sales were up by 7.6 per cent.

Overall, the large-car segment was down 861 vehicles or 7.1 per cent month-on-month in September, and now falls short of 2005 year-to-date figures by an even bigger margin of 27,322 vehicles (21.3 per cent).

"The release of new models is beginning to improve the fortunes of the large-car segment and we expect that trend to strengthen when Toyota launches its new Aurion family sedan later this month," Mr Sturrock said.

"While fuel prices clearly remain a market driver, Australians have not fallen out of love with larger cars and the launch of several new models is giving them a reason to look again at large and medium segments.

"Consumer concern may also have been eased somewhat by the recent falls in crude oil prices which are now being reflected at the pump," he said.

The September sales slump, which saw 4447 vehicles or 5.3 per cent fewer sales than in September 2005, was again spearheaded by the SUV market, which was down 1872 vehicles or 12.4 per cent month-on-month, though the light truck market was also down 1871 vehicles or 13.0 per cent in September.

Australia’s biggest sales segment, passenger vehicles, was down 730 vehicles or 1.4 per cent in September, but for the 2006 year-to-date remains 12,010 cars or 2.6 per cent down on 2005 levels.

In a variable month, September saw light-car sales increase by 165 vehicles or 1.8 per cent to be up by 14,511 cars or 20.1 per cent on 2005 volumes. Small-car sales slid by 358 vehicles (or 1.8 per cent) in September but remain 3959 cars (or 2.4 per cent) up year-on-year.

A new Camry and MY2007 Liberty helped medium-car sales bounce back in September with an 833-car (or 11.5 per cent) spike that did not stop it remaining 1267 vehicles or 1.9 per cent down on 2005 figures. The popularity of sports cars took a 410-car (or 25.9 per cent) dive in September to lie 1626 cars or 12.0 per cent short of 2005 figures.

The same occurred in the people-mover segment, which attracted 294 fewer customers in September (down 20.8 per cent) and remains 248 cars or 2.1 per cent down year-on-year.

And while the upper-large segment was up 195 vehicles or a 34.6 per cent in September, it remains down 17 sales or 0.3 per cent down on 2005 numbers.

In terms of makes, Toyota has increased its market share from 20.1 per cent to 21.8 per on a year-to-date basis, but in the same period second-placed Holden’s has shrunk from 17.8 to 15.1 per cent, and Ford’s is down from 13.1 to 12.3 per cent.

TOYOTA sold 2845 Camrys in the new model’s first full month on sale - the vehicle's best September figure since 1988 and Toyota’s second-best September ever MITSUBISHI was one of the few brands to improve its share in a market that’s down 2.5 per cent year on year and in a month that was 0.4 per cent down on August 2006. Mitsubishi said its "pleasing" 380 result helped the company increase its share from 5.2 per cent in August to 5.4 per cent in September – and 5.6 per cent for the year so far.

MAZDA posted its best September on record (5764 sales for a 7.2 per cent share), and claims it sold almost 1000 cars more than its nearest rival to maintain its title as top importer.

AUDI sold more than 500 vehicles last month for the first time ever. Its 520-vehicle tally was a 30 per cent increase on September 2005 figures and included 173 Q7 SUVs. Audi Oz is now 14 per cent ahead of its 2005 YTD tally and says its new TT, S6 and S8 will provide a strong final quarter.

PEUGEOT also posted its best sales month ever, with 782 registrations in September beating last month’s record of 780 vehicles. The French maker was up 28 per cent month-on-month and now lies 25.5 per cent ahead this year, when a forecast of 8000 vehicles will make it Peugeot’s best sales year ever in Australia.

CHRYSLER Group’s best September sales in nine years (a 29 per cent increase over September 2005) has driven CGAP sales to 6642 vehicles in 2006 – 20 per cent more than at this time last year.

HONDA posted a 22 per cent month-on-month sales increase last month (its best September ever) and its total of 40,995 vehicle sales so far in 2006 is 13 per cent up on 2005 figures. Honda continues to cling to fifth overall with a 5.7 per cent total market share ahead of Mitsubishi.

HYUNDAI'S 2028 Getz sales in September fell 15 vehicles short of matching light car segment leader, Toyota’s Yaris, but the South Korean brand was 0.5 per cent down month-on-month to remain 0.1 per cent ahead year-on-year with total sales of 36,148 (for a 5.0 per cent market share.

MERCEDES-BENZ sales rose 7.7 per cent in September and the brand has increased YTD sales from 9815 to 10,577 so far this year.

SUBARU was another to record its best September sales ever, with 3350 vehicles representing a 29 per cent month-on-month rise. The company now holds a 2.8 per cent sales advantage over 2005 figures, with a 3.9 per cent YTD market share – comfortably ahead of tenth-placed Kia.

Marque % share YTD
1. Toyota 21.8
2. Holden 15.1
3. Ford 12.3
4. Mazda 6.7
5. Honda 5.7
6. Mitsubishi 5.6
7. Nissan 5.6
8. Hyundai 5.0
9. Subaru 3.9
10. Kia 2.2
Source: VFACTS, September 2006

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