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News - VFACTS - Sales 2009 - November

Business car sales boom lifts motor market

Tax benefit: Ford Falcon Ute sales jumped 105 per cent in November as tax breaks boosted light commercial vehicle sales.

New-vehicle market up 20 per cent in November as tax break stimulates sales

3 Dec 2009

THE Australian new-vehicle market recorded an impressive 20 per cent rise in sales last month as business owners rushed into showrooms to take advantage of the federal government’s tax incentives, which end on December 31.

Despite another interest rate rise this week, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and car companies are now anticipating strong December sales after it became clear that confidence was continuing to permeate through the business sector – including small businesses – and that light commercial vehicle (LCV) and SUV sales were the driving force behind the 19.9 per cent increase (equivalent to 14,216 vehicles) for the overall market over November 2008.

Economic conditions, along with new-vehicle sales, were in a much worse state 12 months ago, but the results last month were nonetheless outstanding, with LCV sales increasing 38.9 per cent and SUV sales rising no less than 44 per cent.

Passenger car sales increased 9.4 per cent, with the total market coming in at 85,833 sales for the month.

Business sales were strong across all three categories – LCV, SUV and passenger – with respective increases of 51.7, 66.3 and 14.8 per cent. Overall, business sales were up 35.4 per cent, while private sales climbed 18.4 per cent and declines were recorded in the government (-4.9 per cent) and rental (-5.7 per cent) sectors.

Federal industry minister Kim Carr said the strong business sales were further evidence that the government’s small business and general business tax break “was the right policy applied at the right time”.

“The global automotive industry is also showing signs of improvement, which is good news for Australia, too,” Senator Carr said, pointing to recent gains in Europe, Japan and the US.

He also noted that sales of Australian-made vehicles last month totalled 14,232 units – up 11.1 per cent compared with November 2008.

106 center imageFrom top: Audi Q5, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai iLoad, Kia Cerato and Toyota LandCruiser Prado.

FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar likewise attributed the market results to the government’s economic stimulus package, but sounded a note of caution about continued interest rate rises.

“This is an extraordinary result that provides further evidence that the market and the broader Australian economy are showing signs of recovery,” Mr McKellar said.

“The exceptional November figures could not have been achieved without the federal government’s small business tax break.

“(But) there is the risk that if the banks move too early and too rapidly to increase rates, the positive impact of this stimulus measure will be diminished.”

Toyota continues to be the dominant brand in Australia, holding market leadership – and an unassailable lead in the 2009 sales race – with 19,603 sales in November for a 22.8 per cent share, ahead of Holden (11,391, 13.3 per cent), Ford (8868, 10.3 per cent), Mazda (6594, 7.7 per cent) and Mitsubishi (5322, 6.2 per cent).

Hyundai continued its strong form, winning a 6.1 per cent share and sixth place last month with 5262 sales (up 37.5 per cent), ahead of Nissan, Honda, Subaru and Volkswagen.

In year-to-date terms, the first four places mirror the monthly results, but Hyundai holds fifth place (with a 7.0 per cent market share) and is about 9000 units clear of Mitsubishi. Toyota has now passed the 180,000 sales mark, with a lead of more than 72,000 units over Holden.

Where the increases occurred last month makes fascinating reading.

Among the LCVs, substantial gains were recorded across the volume-selling segments of vans (39.5 per cent), 4x2 utilities (37.9 per cent) and 4x4 utes (41.5 per cent). Light trucks 2.5-3.5t GVM also increased 11.1 per cent over the corresponding month last year.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Toyota’s HiLux reclaimed the title of Australia’s biggest-selling vehicle for the month – a position it last held in June – with 4230 new registrations (2519 of which were 4x4s), while a number of other brands made significant gains with their LCVs.

Among the utilities, Ford sold 1473 FG Falcon Utes (up 104.9 per cent), Holden sold 1336 of its Commodore-based ute (up 47.8 per cent), and several direct rivals to the HiLux 4x2 and 4x4 one-tonners sold well in excess of 1000 units – Mitsubishi’s Triton (1616), Nissan’s Navara (1581), Ford’s Ranger (1400) and Mazda’s BT-50 (1135).

Toyota’s HiAce continues to dominate the van segment (918 units, up 72.9 per cent), but Hyundai also impressed with its iLoad (399 units, up 175.2 per cent).

“The speed and strength of Australia’s economic upturn plus well-targeted incentives have helped produce solid new-vehicle sales,” said Toyota Australia’s senior executive director of sales and marketing, David Buttner.

“Demand in December is continuing to benefit from the federal government’s investment allowance incentive.”

As we have seen, this business demand includes SUVs and passenger cars, as much as LCVs.

The SUV sector in particular also produced some startling results, with gains recorded across the board – compact SUVs climbed 33.3 per cent, medium SUVs 51.2 per cent, large SUVs 36.5 per cent and luxury SUVs 44.0 per cent.

Among the compact SUVs, Toyota’s RAV4 was the market leader for the month with 1175 sales, up 16.2 per cent, although the status quo has changed with Hyundai’s Tucson now close behind (1091, up 66.1 per cent) and Subaru’s Forester relegated to third (1041, down 11.9 per cent). At least the new Outback did well with 512 sales, up 42.6 per cent for the month.

The once-dominant Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V are now well behind, while Mazda CX-7’s broadened range has paid immediate dividends with 540 sales in November – up 88.8 per cent.

The facelifted CX-9 mid-size SUV also recorded a 56 per cent rise with 400 sales – a solid result, although the main talking point in this segment was the immediate impact of Toyota’s new-generation Prado, which led the market with 1536 sales (up 55.8 per cent) and brought more people into showrooms, benefiting the Kluger which achieved 1301 sales (up 40 per cent).

Holden was next best with 1234 Captiva sales, up 98.1 per cent, while Ford’s Australian-built Territory also cracked the tonne with 1016 sales (up 33.2 per cent).

A litmus test for high-end consumer confidence levels, luxury SUVs recorded their growth with solid results from the Lexus RX-series (346, up a whopping 193.2 per cent) and notable performances from BMW’s X5 (260, up 36.8 per cent) and X3 (144, up 45.5 per cent), Audi’s Q5 (216) and Q7 (109, up 58 per cent), Mercedes’ M-class (166, up 59.6 per cent), and, not least of all, Volvo’s XC60 with 201 sales.

Gains were recorded in all passenger cars segments bar light cars, which were down 4.4 per cent for the month. Otherwise, small cars were up 17.3 per cent, medium cars 12.0 per cent, large cars 1.4 per cent, upper-large cars 11.0 per cent, people-movers 31.5 per cent and sportscars 47.8 per cent.

Highlights? The Ford Fiesta light car climbed 134.5 per cent with 720 sales – Toyota’s Yaris was the segment leader with 1725 sales (down 19.9 per cent) – while Holden’s Cruze small car continued its fine run with 2274 sales for third place behind the Mazda3 (2548, up 8.7 per cent) and the market-leading Corolla (3309, down 5.1 per cent).

Hyundai’s i30 was also around the 2000-unit mark (1998), up 149.1 per cent. Volkswagen’s Golf recorded an excellent gain, too, up 131.9 per cent with 1171 sales.

Among the medium cars, Camry topped 2000 units with a 10.1 per cent increase for the month, and Subaru’s all-new Liberty made an immediate impact with 624 sales, up 20 per cent.

The gap between the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon large cars continues to close, with Holden selling 3956 VE sedans and Sportwagons (down 9.4 per cent) and Ford achieving 2863 Falcon sales, most of which are FG sedans, to be up 12.1 per cent for the month. Toyota’s Aurion was down 11.2 per cent on 1315 sales.

Mercedes shifted another 276 E-class models (up 331.3 per cent) to dominate the over-$70,000 large-car segment, although BMW did well in the over-$100,000 upper-large segment with two-dozen 7 Series sales – up 242.9 per cent. Four Porsche Panameras were sold last month.

In overall sales terms among the high-volume prestige marques, Mercedes took the honours with 1867 sales (up 22.8 per cent), ahead of BMW (1717, up 28.9 per cent) and Audi (1055, up 50.3 per cent). Lexus also recorded a 91.6 per cent increase for the month, with 757 sales.

Top 10 Brands in November:
Pos Brand Sales % Share
1 Toyota 19,603 22.8%
2 Holden 11,391 13.3%
3 Ford 8868 10.3%
4 Mazda 6594 7.7%
5 Mitsubishi 5322 6.2%
6 Hyundai 5262 6.1%
7 Nissan 4857 5.7%
8 Honda 3154 3.7%
9 Subaru 3049 3.6%
10 Volkswagen 2668 3.1%
Source: VFACTS, December 2009

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