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VFACTS: Mazda third in record September

Top 3: The Mazda3 small car was Australia's second-best selling car in September.

Market headed for one million sales as importers make the most of private sales boom

5 Oct 2010

A RAMPANT Mazda grabbed third place in the market for the first time last month as Australian new-car sales soared to a September record 85,054 vehicles – up 8.9 per cent on the same month in 2009.

The Japanese importer had threatened to oust Ford from the sales podium in July when it came within just one vehicle of out-selling the local car-maker, but last month it drove straight past to notch a company record 8850 sales to Ford’s 8288, according to official VFACTS figures released today.

The Mazda performance beat the company’s previous best monthly sales tally of 8406 vehicles in June 2009, and gave it a record monthly market share of 10.4 per cent.

It is the second time this year that Ford has given up third place in monthly sales battles, with Hyundai eclipsing the Blue Oval brand in March.

With one quarter of 2010 to go, the market is up 14.5 per cent on last year and on track to crack one million sales for just the third time in history. The last time was in 2008 when the industry sold a combined 1,012,164 vehicles.

106 center imageFrom top: Mazda2 sedan, Mazda CX-7 and Holden Cruze.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Andrew McKellar said a 14.2 per cent increase in private sales was further evidence of renewed confidence in the marketplace.

“Given the continued strength of the market in recent months, the industry has revised its annual sales forecast to more than one million sales – up from the previous projection of more than 980,000,” he said.

“The Australian market has only twice recorded a market with more than one million sales, so this will be quite an achievement.”

The strong September sales performance was led by a whopping 53.5 per cent growth in compact SUV sales.

Mazda sales surged 22.8 per cent last month, by the Mazda3 small car, which had its best-ever month to become the second best-selling vehicle on the Australian market behind Holden’s perennial champion, the Commodore, in September.

With 3878 sales, Mazda3 volumes were up 17.3 per cent on a year ago, while sale of the smaller and just updated Mazda2 light car jumped 35.3 per cent, to 1718 units.

Mazda revelled in the increased customer appetite for compact SUVs, with its CX-7 up a massive 432 per cent, to 1076 units, making it the third-best-selling vehicle in the class behind the Toyota RAV4 (1400) and Subaru Forester (1330).

But while importers such as Mazda were cracking the champagne after smashing sales records, Ford was wondering where its share of the sales booty went.

Ford sales were down 1.6 per cent to 8288 units as its market share slipped to 9.7 per cent, with all of its big guns, except the ageing Ranger 4x4 ute, struggling to stay in positive territory.

Sales of the locally made Ford Falcon slumped 18.9 per cent on September last year, to just 2265 units, well behind arch rival Commodore (4038 units) that has just been given a Series II facelift.

Ford’s hot-selling Fiesta light car even slipped 3.6 per cent amid a model changeover involving a switch to Thai production, while Focus sales were down 6.1 per cent.

Toyota again led the market with 16,185 sales – up 1.1 per cent on its September 2009 tally of 16,007 units.

However, Toyota’s monthly share edged down from 20.5 per cent last year to 19 per cent last month, with sales of its locally made Camry dipping 8.0 per cent and Aurion down 15.7 per cent.

By contrast, second-placed Holden outpaced the market with a 10 per cent sales increase to 10,718 units, with most of the rise coming courtesy of its Korean imports such as the Cruze small car (up 84.5 per cent, to 2432 units) and Captiva (up 34.7 per cent to 1185 units).

The Cruze performance made it the fifth best-selling car on the market – the first time Holden has had two cars in the top five since 2005.

Commodore’s 4038 units represented a 4.7 per cent rise over the corresponding month last year.

Korean importer Hyundai’s helter-skelter growth slowed somewhat last month, with its volume growing 11.6 per cent for 6120 sales - its best September result - and fifth place on the sales ladder.

Mitsubishi was another company to enjoy strong demand for its SUVs, with its new ASX giving it incremental growth in the compact segment alongside its Outlander. Sixth-placed Mitsubishi sold 5314 vehicles, ahead of Nissan whose 4689 sales represented a 15 per cent increase.

One of the big movers in market was Volkswagen, which leap-frogged both Subaru and Honda into eighth place with a sales rise of almost 40 per cent, to 3225 units. VW’s growth was mainly driven by big sales increases for Jetta, Polo and Tiguan.

Subaru’s 3105 units (up 10.6 per cent) was steady, while Honda was the big loser, down 34.5 per cent on a year ago, to 2582 sales.

Year to date, Honda is now in negative territory, down 3.5 per cent.

Among the market leaders, Toyota’s year-to-date sales are up 10 per cent (157,538 sales) with nine months of the year gone, while Holden is ahead by 18.1 per cent (101,169), Ford by 4.0 per cent (73,071) and Mazda up 13.6 per cent (65,568).

VFACTS September top 10:
1. Toyota 16,185 19%
2. Holden 10,718 12.6%
3. Mazda 8850 10.4%
4. Ford 8288 9.7%
5. Hyundai 6120 7.2%
6. Mitsubishi 5314 6.2%
7. Nissan 4689 5.5%
8. Volkswagen 3225 3.8%
9. Subaru 3105 3.7%
10. Honda 2582 3.0%

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