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News - VFACTS - Sales 2008 - February

VFACTS February: 2008 continues record run

Still on top: Holden's Commodore remained Australia's most popular car in February, but large-car sales slipped a massive 20 per cent month-on-month.

February new-car sales numbers soar again, despite yet more interest rate rises

VFACTS logo6 Mar 2008

By JAMES STANFORD

AUSTRALIAN new-car buyers were not deterred by an interest rate rise in the first week of February, setting another sales record for the month.

VFACTS figures reveal 89,898 new cars were sold in February, a 7.4 per cent increase on February 2007.

There was one extra sales day this February, but even when that is factored in 107 more cars were sold each day when compared with the same month last year.

Interest rate rises in August and November last year as well as the February 6 increase appear to have had limited impact at this stage, although it is not clear how the market will react after the Reserve Bank decided to rise rates again this week.

New-car sales for January and February 2008 totalled 172,168, which is 7.2 per cent up on last year.

Light-car sales rose by 2236 (22.5 per cent) in February, while the SUV market grew by 3365 vehicles (22.6 per cent).

Small-car sales came in at 19,995 for the month, which is 7.8 per cent up on February 2007.

The small-car segment more than doubled the struggling large-car segment, with 9582 large-car sales recorded in February - down by 20.2 per cent.

While the large-car segment slipped, Holden's Commodore was still the best-selling model in the country with 4313 sales, in front of the Toyota Corolla on 4191.

106 center imageFrom top: Ford Mondeo, Toyota Aurion and Kluger, and Honda Civic (bottom).

Toyota was the big winner in February, selling 20,703 cars and increasing its share to 23 per cent.

Holden sold 12,386 vehicles and its share was 13.8 per cent, which is up slightly on January but down on February 2007.

Ford sold 9405 cars in February, recording a 10.5 per cent share which is up on January, but down compared to January 2007.

Ford's biggest seller, the Falcon, recovered from a disastrous January result that saw it sell just 1252 cars.

Now deep into a run-out program, Ford managed to sell 2520 Falcons in February.

Its Territory sibling also recovered from a poor showing of 1099 in January, with 1299 examples sold last month.

The Mondeo is not selling as well as expected, with 392 sales in February.

The Focus hatch improved by 9.4 per cent to 1310 sales, but Ford sold just 29 of the convertible version.

Sales of the Ranger commercial ute added a handy 1488 to the total.

Toyota's Aurion was the only big player in the large-car class to actually grow in February. It was a modest 2.1 per cent increase, but the total of 1855 is respectable.

It seems some Aurion sales have come from Camry, with sales of the mid-size fleet special down a huge 31.9 per cent over last February.

Toyota's new Kluger continued to record impressive sales, with 1404 sales last month compared to just 336 in February 2007.

The revitalised RAV4, which has welcomed potent V6 versions to the range, sold 1409 last month, a 26.9 per cent increase on the same month last year.

Holden's Astra small cars continue to pose a problem for the car-maker, shedding 22.7 per cent of sales year on year, for a total of 1366, while the Viva was down 11.9 per cent for a total of 715.

The smaller Barina improved to record 1289 sales, while the Epica recorded 470 sales.

Captiva sales rose by 21.2 per cent to 470, while sales of the new Ute were up an impressive 72.6 per cent.

It was a black month for Mitsubishi, which formally announced the closure of its Australian manufacturing operations in Adelaide, but its sales didn't suffer.

Mitsubishi's market share eased ever so slightly (down 0.2 per cent), but the brand was still able to sell a respectable 5423 cars for the month.

Predictably, sales of the soon-to-disappear 380 dropped to 471, but Colt (325), Lancer (1682) and Outlander all improved.

The star of the Mitsubishi garage was the Triton workhorse, which recorded 1318 sales in February compared with 713 in the same month last year. Mazda continued its strong run, recording a 10.3 per cent increase in February.

Stars for the brand included the new Mazda2, which recorded 1372 sales, and the CX-9 all-wheel-drive which added 489 sales.

The Mazda3 was down by 6.3 per cent year on year, but still managed an impressive 2825 sales. Its BT-50 commercial ute added 889 sales to the tally.

Nissan had an off month, with sales down 14.2 per cent down on February 2007.

Tiida sales were down 28.2 per cent to 895, the X-Trail failed to fire and was down by 18.2 per cent to 910 and Pathfinder was down 25.3 per cent to 205.

The new Micra added a respectable 614 sales to the tally, while the new Dualis added 209.

Maxima sales rose to 105 and the Patrol wagon improved, recording a strong result of 895 sales.

Honda's sales rose by 10.2 per cent in February, with the Civic the clear star.

Despite being only available as a sedan (apart from the niche Type R), Honda still managed to sell 1665 Civics. Its Jazz showed the biggest improvement, with sales up by 41.1 per cent for a total of 1072.

The CR-V was up 18.1 per cent for 1115 sales, the now-replaced Honda Accord dropped 32.7 per cent to 307, while the Accord Euro increased by 28.2 per cent to 450. It easily out-performed the new Nissan X-Trail, which recorded 910 sales, and the new CR-V, which did 1115.

Subaru's Forester recorded a poor figure of 601 for the month, but the model is in the final stages of run-out.

Subaru rode the popularity of its new Impreza to boost its overall sales by 18.4 per cent.

Sales of the new Impreza came in at 1225, up from 830 in February 2007, while gains from Liberty (728), Outback (553) and Tribeca (264) were enough to counter the Forester, which well and truly in run-out mode with sales down 34.4 per cent to 601.

Volkswagen had an impressive February result, recording an increase of 38.7 per cent.

Its stars included the Golf, which improved from 862 in February 2007 to 1462.

VW sold an impressive number of 603 Polos for the month, a huge improvement over the 123 it sold in the same month last year.

Read more:

VFACTS January: Homegrown heroes decline


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