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News - VFACTS - Sales 2010 - January

Motor sales back in business

Sales up: Sales of Ford's Falcon rose 42.2 per cent in January as it continued its recovery from the global financial crisis-induced sales slumber.

Residual tax breaks and tariff cuts help to boost new-vehicle sales by 11.6 per cent

VFACTS logo3 Feb 2010

STRONG business demand and widespread price reductions courtesy of New Year import tariff cuts propelled Australian motor vehicle sales to 74,864 units last month – up 7785 vehicles or 11.6 per cent on January last year, official VFACTS sales figures revealed today.

Business sales were up a massive 34.8 per cent in January – a month usually regarded as relatively quiet for fleet buying activity – as many business buyers collected vehicles bought before the December 31 deadline for accelerated tax depreciation incentives offered by the federal government.

The January figure was still nine per cent short of January 2008’s 82,270 units, but the start to 2010 might have been higher except for stock shortages after record demand in December.

SUVs, light commercial vehicles and luxury cars led the charge last month, with SUV sales up 25.8 per cent and light trucks up 18.4 per cent. While business-friendly large luxury car sales rose 110 per cent, overall passenger car sales volumes grew by a more modest 5.5 per cent.

The local manufacturers were helped by improved sales of large cars, with Ford Falcon (up 42.2 per cent), Holden Commodore (up 5.9 per cent) and Toyota Aurion (up 31.3 per cent) sharing the spoils in the improved business environment.

The rise and rise of Hyundai continued, its range garnering 67.7 per cent more sales in January, to a January record 6730 units or 8.3 per cent market share – up from 5.5 per cent in January last year. The Korean importer had no fewer than four models making gains of more than 100 per cent compared with January last year.

106 center imageFrom top: Ford Fiesta, Holden Cruze, Hyundai i30 and iLoad and Volkswagen Tiguan (bottom).

Toyota continued its five-year reign at the top of the sales charts, with its sales jumping 8.5 per cent year on year to 14,564 vehicles. However, its market share slipped below 20 per cent for the first time since October 2005, to 19.5 per cent.

GM Holden made up ground in second place, increasing sales 19.5 per cent to 10,468 vehicles for a market share of 14 per cent – the first time it has reached these heights in any month since December 2008.

Holden’s Korean imports – Barina, Captiva and Cruze – all made major contributions to Holden’s improved performance.

The Captiva (1421 units) was Australia’s top-selling SUV for the month, while the Cruze small car (2218 units) came third in the top-selling small-car segment behind Mazda3 (3223 units) and Toyota Corolla (2711).

Sales of the Barina light car grew 58.9 per cent over January last year, to 1379 units, to take third place in the category behind Hyundai’s evergreen Getz (1717 units, up 27.5 per cent) and Toyota Yaris (1562 units, down 0.2 per cent). Ford’s Fiesta continues to make impressive headway from a low base on the back of strong advertising, up 71.8 per cent to 962 units.

Holden’s executive director of sales and marketing John Elsworth said the sales momentum witnessed in December appeared to have carried on into the New Year.

“We’re planning a big year and this is a fantastic start,” he said.

Medium cars again lagged the field, despite rises by Toyota’s dominant Camry (up 5.9 per cent to 1201 units) and Subaru’s new Liberty, which jumped 37.1 per cent to 654 units, pushing the Mazda6 (553 units, down 19.7 per cent) to third place.

The booming SUV market continued its roll, with all sub-segments – compact, medium, large and luxury – putting on weight. SUVs now account for 22.6 per cent of the total market, while passenger cars have now slipped to below 60 per cent.

Subaru’s Forester again dominated the compact field, with 1205 sales (up 1.4 per cent), ahead of the Toyota RAV4 (852) and a rampaging VW Tiguan, which almost tripled its sales volume – up 276 per cent – to 809 units.

The powerful medium SUV zone was won by the Holden Captiva (1421 units, up 24.5 per cent), from Toyota duo Prado (1144 units, up 10.4 per cent) and Kluger (941, up 8.3 per cent).

Large SUV sales leapt on good performances from the segment-leading Toyota LandCruiser Wagon (633 units, up 18.8 per cent) and Nissan Patrol (220 units, up 18.3 per cent.

Whiles sales of 4x2 utes were largely static – up just 0.6 per cent – volumes of the favoured 4x4 variety shot up 22 per cent.

Toyota’s Hilux again crunched the opposition in both 4x2 and 4x4 sales for total sales of 2997 units, making it Australia’s third best-selling vehicle behind Commodore and Mazda3.

While sales of the Holden’s locally made Ute were up 14.8 per cent to 752 units, Ford’s rival Falcon Ute took a hit, down 8.2 per cent to 479 units, probably because of stock shortages after a huge month in December.

However, Ford will be happy that its overall sales matched the growth in the market, with only a 37.6 per cent slump in sales of the aging Focus a cause for major concern.

Of the luxury car-makers, the German marques blitzkrieged the luxury market, with Mercedes-Benz (up 58.3 per cent), BMW (up 43.6 per cent), Audi (up 22.8 per cent) and Porsche (up 59.8 per cent) driving up all prestige segments with new models such as the Mercedes-Benz E-class.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Andrew McKellar said the strong result would provide a confidence boost heading into 2010.

“Business purchases remained strong in January with some buyers taking delivery of vehicles ordered last year under the federal government’s business tax break,” he said.

“New-car affordability is better than ever and has been further enhanced by the tariff cut on many imported vehicles.

“New-car buyers have effectively been handed a ‘tax cut’ and many brands have moved quickly to reduce prices or increase vehicle specifications.

“As a result, it is expected that this will encourage private buyers to return to the marketplace in greater numbers throughout the year.”

Toyota Australia senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner Toyota’s order bank was “strong – and growing – and our dealer confidence is high".

Top ten brands in January:
Rank Make Volume Variance (%)
1 Toyota 14,564 +8.5%
2 Holden 10,468 +19.5%
3 Ford 6730 +11.8%
4 Mazda 6658 +1.9%
5 Hyundai 6208 +67.7%
6 Nissan 4144 +10.2%
7 Mitsubishi 4040 -1.2%
8 Subaru 3260 +7.8%
9 Honda 3006 -40%
10 Volkswagen 2337 +9.8%

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