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News - VFACTS - Sales 2007 - September

September VFACTS: Car market slows

Small slide: Mazda3 slipped as part of an unexpected small car drop that claimed the previously rampant Toyota Corolla.

Car sales taper off as rate rise bites and election looms

VFACTS logo3 Oct 2007

AUSTRALIA’S raging new-car market appears to have finally lost some heat, with official VFACTS figures for September revealing only a 4.4 per cent increase compared with an average 8.8 per cent for the previous eight months.

Having withstood the latest interest rate rise the previous month, it now seems that the cost of finance and perhaps the impending Federal election are finally starting to bite.

September is typically a tough month for the industry and the total for the month of 83,489 represents a drop of about 4000 units compared to the last couple of months.

Passenger-car sales seem to have borne the brunt of consumer sentiment they were about five per cent down against September 2006, though it was small (down 10.0 per cent) and medium (down 7.8 per cent) that surprisingly recorded bigger drops than large cars, which were only 1.0 per cent down on the same month last year.

Otherwise, it was business as usual for the industry, with Toyota once again dominant with sales of 18,358, further extending its massive lead over Holden (11,632 for the month) and Ford (8818).

Mazda continues to head the importers, still with more than 6000 sales, despite Mazda Australia boss Doug Dickson’s concerns about getting enough cars into the country in the second half of the year.

The battle for fifth was typically tight in September, with Mitsubishi bouncing back with 4931 sales to beat Nissan (4700), Honda (4321) and Hyundai (4204).

106 center imageLeft: Holden VE Commodore Lumina and Toyota Corolla Levin SX.

Mitsubishi even had better news on the 380 front. After a dismal August, when it sold only 658 units, the 380 returned to close to its monthly average with 1045 sales.

The big loser for the month was the Toyota Corolla, which dropped 1112 units from August to only 3561 in September.

“The decline in passenger car sales last month was narrowly based and entirely due to slower sales in the Small car segment,” said the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Andrew McKellar.

“The overall motor vehicle market remains very buoyant and it is notable that sales of larger vehicles such as SUVs and four-wheel-drive utilities are up significantly, suggesting that consumer confidence remains high.”

Holden’s Commodore was again the top-selling vehicle with 4525 sales – down on previous months, but well ahead of Corolla and HiLux (3426).

Ford’s Falcon was again under the 3000 sales mark at 2852 – which, like the Commodore, is well down on last year – but it stayed a couple of hundred sales ahead of the Mazda3 (2677).

After a buoyant result last month for Toyota’s locally-built cars, both the Camry and Aurion registered lower sales in September, with Camry down about 150 on the previous month to 2173 and Aurion some 300 down at 1585.

While small-car sales were down, light cars have continued their rise, but the Toyota Yaris lost some ground while the Hyundai Getz had a strong month.

Toyota regained top place in the compact-SUV segment after being beaten in recent months by the Honda CR-V, but you can cover the top four with the proverbial blanket – RAV4 (1125), Nissan X-Trail (1100), Subaru Forester (1012) and CR-V (1005).

The booming medium SUV segment (up 44 per cent overall) was also a thriller, with Toyota’s new Kluger falling just 22 units – 1251 to 1273 – from unseating the previously dominant Ford Territory in its first month on sale.

With Landcruiser stocks running out ahead of next month’s 200 series launch, large SUV sales were down 40 per cent, allowing the Nissan Patrol to score a shared win with both selling 334 units.

On the light commercial front, HiLux was an easy winner in both 4x2 and 4x4 while Falcon Ute enjoyed a huge win over its Commodore rival (1226 to 650) – but look out for next month’s result with the new VE Ute on the market.

Top ten makes (September):
1 Toyota 18,358
2 Holden 11,632
3 Ford 8818
4 Mazda 6016
5 Mitsubishi 4931
6 Nissan 4700
7 Honda 4321
8 Hyundai 4204
9 Subaru 3091
10 Volkswagen 2199

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