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News - VFACTS - Sales 2009 - October

Car sales up in October

Number one: The Toyota Corolla was the top-selling car in Australia last month.

October VFACTS: First monthly increase in Australian new-car sales for 16 months.

VFACTS logo5 Nov 2009

THE Australian automotive industry posted its first increase in monthly new-vehicle sales for 16 months in October, when wildly fluctuating sales results were recorded across all brands.

According to Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) figures, the industry is now on target to reach about 910,000 sales this year – about 100,000 vehicles down on last year’s result (1,012,164) and 140,000 fewer than 2007’s record 1,049,982 in 2007.

If the seasonally adjusted forecast for this year proves correct, national new-vehicle sales will return to a similar level recorded six years ago in 2003, when Australians bought 909,811 vehicles.

According to official VFACTS figures, 762,787 new vehicles have been sold year-to-date – down 11.7 per cent compared with the first 10 months of last year.

As such, two days after the Reserve Bank lifted its cash rate for borrowers a further 25 basis points to 3.5 per cent, the FCAI has urged it hold further official interest rate increases until the car industry has fully recovered.

“This is the first month since June 2008 that sales have increased when compared to the year before,” said FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar today.

“The industry is looking to round out the year on a positive note and we expect a further surge in sales as businesses move to take advantage of the successful tax break prior to the end of the year.

“While the latest figures are encouraging we would urge the Reserve Bank to proceed with caution in contemplating further interest rate rises until the foundations of a full recovery are clearly established.”

106 center image Left: Hyundai Getz, Hyundai i30, Hyundai Tucson, Holden Captiva.

Describing the October figures as a “solid” monthly result, Mr McKellar welcomed the return of private, business and rental buyers in larger numbers to the new-vehicle market last month, when 80,813 cars, SUVs and commercials were sold – up 2.2 per cent on October 2008.

Toyota Australia senior executive director for sales and marketing David Buttner said he expected an uplift in sales during the final two months of 2009 to result in a total market of 920,000 vehicles this year.

“The general uplift in consumer sentiment plus the investment allowance that takes us through to December 31 should result in a strong end to 2009,” he said.

“The full-year result of around 920,000 sales will be appreciably stronger than most observers were predicting just a few months ago.”

SUVs were the biggest improvers in October, recording a 9.5 per cent increase, followed by light commercials (up 3.4 per cent) and passenger cars (up 1.3 per cent), while heavy commercial sales declined 24.9 per cent.

Toyota was again the market leader last month, with 17,888 sales out-pacing Holden (10,737) – by more than 7000 vehicles – and Ford (8240), thanks to strong sales in all three improving vehicle segments.

Toyota’s Corolla small-car again topped the overall charts to be Australia’s top-selling model (a feat it has now achieved in three of the past fourth months), with 3724 sales narrowly defeating the same brand’s HiLux utility (3707 sales).

Corolla sales were up 6.5 per cent for the month but remain down 20 per cent so far in 2009, and while HiLux 4x4 was up 2.3 per cent for the month, it remains down 16 per cent YTD. HiLux 4x2 sales were down 15.7 per cent in October, to be down 19 per cent YTD.

Other segment winners for Toyota last month were the mid-size Camry, with 1817 sales in October being 6.9 per cent down (-14.4% YTD), and the 200 Series LandCruiser large SUV, which was up 40.2 per cent in October but down 31.9 per cent for the year, as well as the HiAce van, HiAce bus and Tarago people-mover.

Toyota sales were down 4.4 per cent in October and remain 20.6 per cent down for the year. The company’s 22.1 per cent October market share was up on its YTD share of 21.1 per cent, which is well down on its 2008 YTD share of 23.4 per cent.

Holden’s monthly market share of 13.3 per cent was also up on its 12.6 per cent YTD share, which in turn is only narrowly down on its 2008 YTD share of 12.7 per cent.

The General’s sales were also up 5.6 per cent month-on-month, thanks in part to a stellar 59.9 per cent rise in sales of the Captiva (which recorded a record 1255 sales to top the medium SUV chart for the first time), a 23.5 per cent lift in Caprice sales, a 26.6 per cent increase in Colorado 4x4 sales (though Colorado 4x2 was 60.4 per cent down) and a 16.2 per cent rise in Ute sales.

Commodore sales of 3455 vehicles were 9.3 per cent down in October to be 12.7 per cent short on YTD numbers, while the Epica mid-sizer was down 63.2 per cent and the Statesman was down 20 per cent.

Holden executive director of sales and marketing John Elsworth said the Commodore remained Australia’s top-selling vehicle in 2009 with 36,085, while the new Cruze small sedan put in its strongest monthly sales performance since launching in June with 2183 sales – right behind the Mazda3’s tally of 2211.

“We continue to be delighted with the public response to the Cruze – from a standing start it’s now the third best-selling car in small car segment,” Mr Elsworth said.

“It is still early days for this car but our order books are full and we expect demand to remain exceptionally strong.”

Ford’s October sales were down 3.8 per cent, putting the Blue Oval 12.7 per cent behind on YTD figures. Falcon sales were up 3.4 per cent to 2841 vehicles and Ford’s volume-seller was down 5.2 per cent YTD, although Territory SUV sales were also up in October – 897 vehicles or 10.9 per cent – and remain down YTD, 21.6 per cent.

Other Ford model movers in October were the new Fiesta light-car (up 66.4 per cent to be up 29.7 per cent YTD) and the Ranger 4x4 (up 24 per cent to be lineball YTD). However, all other Ford models were down last month, including the Focus small-car (down 29.4 per cent and 27.3 per cent YTD) and Mondeo mid-sizer – down 29.9 per cent to be off 32.2 per cent YTD.

The Mazda3 (up 5.1 per cent in October), BT-50 4x2 (up 48.4 per cent) and newly upgraded CX-7 (up a staggering 110 per cent) and CX-9 (up 46 per cent) were shining lights for Mazda, whose Mazda2 was down 22.4 per cent, while the Mazda6 was down 11.6 per cent, the MX-5 was down 20 per cent and the RX-8 was down a big 61.9 per cent.

While Mazda sales were up two per cent in October and remain just 6.5 per cent down for the year, its 7.0 per cent October market share dragged its YTD share down to 8.3 per cent.

Hyundai outsold Mazda (6281 sales to 5637) and was again the outstanding performer last month, when a 7.8 per cent market share lifted its YTD share to 7.1 per cent and sales of its iLoad van, Tucson compact SUV, 130 small-car and Getz light-car boomed to be up a respective 195.3, 180.5, 160.3 and 103.3 per cent.

YTD, Hyundai’s sales are up a massive 42 per cent following a spectacular 106.7 per cent sales increase in October – despite decreases in sales of its Elantra (24.3 per cent), Grandeur (50 per cent), Sonata (22.8 per cent) and Santa Fe (3.9 per cent), and the discontinuation of the Accent light-car and Tiburon sportscar.

Mitsubishi continues to hold a slender lead over Nissan on YTD figures in sixth place, increasing its sales by 7.3 per cent in October (4775 vehicles), to be down 14.3 per cent YTD. Lancer small-car sales of 2066 were up 38.1 per cent (5.4 per cent YTD), while sales of the Pajero medium SUV were up 44.9 per cent (-16.1 per cent YTD) and Outlander sales were up 12 per cent (-13 per cent YTD).

Mitsubishi’s Australian president and CEO, Robert McEniry, said the October results continued the trend of an improving market environment.

“With the imminent release of our new Challenger four-wheel drive, we look forward to seeing more strong results in the coming months,” he said.

Nissan’s tally of 4484 sales in October (14.1 per cent down) puts it 15.6 per cent down YTD in seventh overall, with the Murano medium SUV spiking by 328.6 per cent in October, when the Maxima was up 148.1 per cent and the Navara 4x4 was up 33.4 per cent.

All other Nissan models were down last month, however, including the Tiida small-car (-67.2 per cent), Navara 4x2 (-60.7 per cent), the Pathfinder medium SUV (-46.3 per cent), the X-Trail compact SUV (-24.4 per cent) and the Micra light-car (-20.4 per cent).

Honda sales slumped 42 per cent in October to account for just 3.7 per cent of the market – less than ninth-placed Subaru (4.1 per cent). Honda’s YTD share of 4.6 per cent still holds out Subaru 4.0 per cent), but sales of all models were down last month – including the Legend (-90.9 per cent), Jazz light-car (-72.4 per cent, though it remains the only Honda model to be up in 2009, by a slender 1.4 per cent), CR-V compact SUV (-64 per cent), Odyssey people-mover (-50.6 per cent), Accord Euro (-41.7 per cent), Accord (-36.4 per cent) and Civic (-31.1 per cent).

In contrast, most of Subaru’s big sellers were up in October, including the new Liberty medium sedan, which recorded its best October sales result since 1991 with 738 sales (up 119.6 per cent, down 24 per cent YTD), and its equally new Outback crossover sibling (up 95.3 per cent, down 29.1 per cent YTD), plus the Impreza small-car range (15.6 per cent and 8.9 YTD).

The Tribeca SUV was down a big 84.8 per cent last month (-25.7 per cent YTD). Although the Forester remains Australia’s top-selling compact SUV, it was down 9.4 per cent in October (-1.3 per cent YTD).

Volkswagen continues to round out the top-10 brands ranking, with a 29.9 per cent sales increase in October (-2.7 per cent YTD).

Standout VW performers included the Tiguan compact SUV (up 284.5 per cent), the Passat mid-sizer (up 75.8 per cent, down 30.3 per cent YTD), the Touareg luxury SUV (up 70 per cent, down 27.4 per cent YTD) and Golf small-car (up 43.3 per cent, down five per cent YTD).

Other notable performances were notched in October by Audi, which recorded its 58th consecutive month of positive growth in Australia and surpassed its full-year 2008 sales with 9612 vehicles sold.

Some 1022 vehicle sales last month made it the fifth highest monthly sales figure ever recorded by Audi, which sold 132 A5s (up 238.5 per cent), 49 A3 Convertibles (up 48.5 per cent), 327 A4s (up 21.6 per cent) and 183 A3s (up 8.9 per cent). Audi says it is now in sight of a record 11,000 vehicles sales in 2009.

BMW’s YTD total of 13,939 passenger cars and SUVs (1462 in October – 8.1 per cent down, six per cent down YTD) sees it extend the gap to Mercedes-Benz to more than 2000 vehicles, but including commercials Mercedes’ total is 15,187 – up 9.5 per cent in October by down 4.1 per cent YTD.

While Mercedes’ new E-class (up 246.9 per cent in October) is up 16.3 per cent YTD and the facelifted S-class (up 83.3 per cent in October) is down 20.6 per cent YTD, BMW’s top performers last month were the 7 Series flagship (up 360 per cent, up 87 per cent YTD), the Z4 sportscar (up 228.6 per cent, up 99.1 per cent YTD).

Lexus lifted its October sales figure by some 30.6 per cent – courtesy of the RX (up 73.9 per cent, up 2.8 per cent YTD) and IS250 (28.2 per cent, down 34.4 per cent YTD). Alfa Romeo sales spiked even more in October, by 50 per cent, thanks to the 159 (up 25 per cent, down 17.5 per cent YTD) and the new MiTo compact.

Volvo sales were up a big 50.2 per cent in October, thanks to the V50 (up 36.8 per cent) and XC90 (up 18.9 per cent), and remain just 3.1 per cent down YTD, while Skoda’s sales were up a massive 151.9 per cent to 136 in October (and up 42.2 per cent YTD), thanks to a 146.3 per cent lift in Octavia sales.

Saab sales were down a worrying 76.9 per cent last month (-34.2 per cent YTD), while Renault was off 33.3 per cent (-21.9 per cent YTD), Proton was down 40.8 per cent (-29.8 per cent YTD), Peugeot was behind 33.2 per cent (-22.5 per cent YTD), Fiat was off 46.2 per cent (-11.8 per cent YTD), Chrysler decreased by 26.5 per cent (-30.6 per cent YTD) and Citroen was down 28.8 per cent (40.7 per cent YTD).

Suzuki sold 2091 vehicles last month (up 2.5 per cent), including 544 Grand Vitara compact SUVs (up 55 per cent), while Kia was also up in October – by 11.7 per cent, mostly off the back of its Cerato small-car (up 212.7 per cent) and Sportage compact SUV (up 97.6 per cent).

Land Rover also finished in the black last month, by 10.6 per cent, due to stronger sales of its Freelander compact SUV (up 73.8 per cent), Range Rover Sport (up 51.9 per cent) and Range Rover (up 30 per cent). Sales of the similarly facelifted Discovery were down by 13.2 per cent, leaving Land Rover down 19.1 per cent overall YTD.

Jaguar posted an outstanding 85.5 per cent lift in October, thanks to a curious 128 per cent hike in X-Type sales and a 75 per cent rise in XF sedan sales. The latter remains up 48.3 per cent on 2008 numbers, putting Jaguar up 4.7 per cent YTD overall.

Mini was up 2.9 per cent in October (thanks to the Cooper Cabrio – up 54.5 per cent) but remains down 8.4 per cent YTD, while Porsche was up 34.4 per cent in October (down 17.5 per cent YTD), with the monthly gain led by the new Panamera sedan, the Cayenne SUV (up 22.9 per cent) and 911 (up 6.3 per cent).

Great Wall sold another 240 examples of its dual-cab utes plus 18 of its new X240 compact SUV, to pass the 1000 sales marque for Australia’s first Chinese vehicle brand.

Top 10 makes, October 2009:
Rank Make Sales % Share
1 Toyota 17,888 22.1%
2 Holden 10,737 13.3%
3 Ford 8240 10.2%
4 Hyundai 6281 7.8%
5 Mazda 5637 7.0%
6 Mitsubishi 4775 5.9%
7 Nissan 4484 5.5%
9 Subaru 3302 4.1%
8 Honda 2984 3.7%
10 Volkswagen 2626 3.2%
Source: VFACTS, October 2009

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