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News - VFACTS - Sales 2007 - January

New car sales surge in January

Baby boomer: Corolla was Australia's best-selling vehicle in January.

Record small car sales deliver a bumper start to 2007 as family car sales stabilise

6 Feb 2007

TALK of the Australian new car industry cracking the elusive seven-figure mark this year may be premature, but if record January sales are any guide the "magic million" could well become a reality in 2007.

While medium SUV sales bounced back 746 vehicles or 17.24 per cent over the same month last year, the booming light and small car categories continues their upward spiral, posting 1303-vehicle (14.3 per cent) and 4105-vehicle (26.3 per cent) sales increases to contribute to a record January – up 6933 or 9.9 per cent on the previous January record, 70,003 set in 2006.

Official VFACTS figures show a total of 962,666 vehicles were sold in Australia last year – just 25,603 vehicles or 2.5 per cent short of the all-time record of 988,269 set in 2005.

Though a 10 per cent sales increase spread across the year would see motor vehicle sales top the million mark for the first time (January sales volume equates to a Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate – SAAR - of 1.09 million vehicle sales), the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has forecast sales of 970,000 in 2007.

Showing the first signs of stability since it dominated the Australian new car landscape, the declining large car sector levelled out to be down just 81 vehicles or 0.9 per cent month-on-month.

Last month’s record of 76,936 new car, truck and bus sales was due mostly to the continued spike in the popularity of light and small cars, said FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock, who added that lower petrol prices and new family-oriented models helped drive the popularity of medium SUVs and large cars.

"This (downsizing) is a long-term trend beyond petrol price volatility, part of a fundamental shift in consumer preferences that's been gathering momentum for a couple of years.

"The reduction in petrol prices in December and January played a part in better sales of family sedans and wagons, but equally significant was new model activity in both (medium SUV and large car) segments," said Mr Sturrock.

Toyota’s soon-to-be-replaced Corolla small car narrowly out-sold Holden’s all-new VE Commodore range to become the most popular choice for Australian new car buyers again in January, when it found 3485 new homes – versus 3474 for Commodore.

106 center imageLeft: Mazda CX-7 and Audi A3 Sportback

Commodore was Australia’s most popular large car priced under $70,000 again in January, followed by Falcon (1974), Toyota’s new Aurion sedan (1125, for 13.2 per cent share of the segment) and Mitsubishi’s 380 sedan (1041, 12.2%).

Corolla’s strong January showing saw Toyota remain the best-selling brand in January with 16,238 sales and a 21.1 per cent market share, ahead of Holden - whose monthly sales (11,258) and market share (14.6 per cent) both fell from 2006 levels.

Third-placed Ford recorded marginally better sales (7501) but a smaller share (9.7%) for the month, while Mazda (6627) experienced a 23.1 per cent sales boom in January to be the fourth most popular marque.

Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru all recorded stronger sales and an increased market share in January, with Hyundai the brand apart from Holden to undergo a sales and share decline in January. Nissan and Mitsubishi posted massive sales increases of 25.1 and 26.8 per cent respectively.

Rounding out the top ten was Volkswagen, which added about 900 sales and a full percentage point to its market share month-on-month.

Alongside Honda, which aims to achieve 60,000 sales in 2007, other makes to set new sales records for January were Mercedes-Benz, which sold 1280 vehicles to be up almost eight per cent, Mazda - which scored its best ever market share figure (8.6 per cent) as well as 8.4 per cent more sales than its previous best month of 6111 sales in February 2005 – and Subaru, which sold 3097 vehicles in January: a 14.2 per cent increase on January 2006 sales.

Subaru sold 508 Outbacks last month (58.3 per cent up on last January), 662 Libertys (up 18.2%) and 1079 Foresters (up 5.9%).

Despite the arrival its third-generation successor this month, Honda’s CR-V and the Thai-sourced Civic were strong sales performers for Honda, while C-class sales rose following a limited-edition offer by Mercedes – despite the approach of replacement later this year.

Finally, new model activity from Audi saw the German brand soar to an all-time record sales result in January, when 703 sales represented a 53 per cent hike on January 2006 figures.

Strong sales of the A3 Sportback, A4 and new Q7 were the key to its success, but Audi says more new models including the R8 supercar, Allroad wagon, TT Roadster and S3 hot-hatch will help it notch up 6000 sales for the first time this year.

January top ten
Make 2007 sales 2007 share 2006 sales 2006 share
1 Toyota 16,238 21.1% 14,383 20.5%
2 Holden 11,258 14.6% 11,503 16.4%
3 Ford 7501 9.7% 7435 10.6%
4 Mazda 6627 8.6% 5384 7.7%
5 Honda 5435 7.1% 4751 6.8%
6 Nissan 5085 6.6% 4065 5.8%
7 Mitsubishi 4554 5.9% 3592 5.1%
8 Subaru 3097 4.0% 2711 3.9%
9 Hyundai 3067 4.0% 3595 5.1%
10 Volkswagen 2034 2.6% 1127 1.6%

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