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News - VFACTS - Sales 2012

VFACTS: Record December blasts sales to 1.11 million

Back to back: Mazda’s Japanese-made Mazda3 small car retained its crown as Australia’s top-selling vehicle with 44,128 sales in 2012.

Motor companies pour vehicles into the market at a record rate in 2012

3 Jan 2013

THE Australian motor industry smashed its annual new-vehicle sales record in 2012, selling 1,112,032 cars and trucks, up more than 10 per cent on the previous year.

Driven by ever-stronger sales of popular SUVs, 2012 sales eclipsed the previous record of 1,049,982 vehicles set before the global financial crisis in 2007.

Helped by a strong Aussie dollar and hefty market support from motor companies, the industry reported record December registrations – up a whopping 15.7 per cent on the same month last year, to 95,427 units – propelling the annual sales tally into unprecedented territory, official VFACTS figures show.

But opinions are divided on whether the industry can maintain this break-neck pace.

Market leader for the 10th straight year, Toyota, predicts sales will continue on a similar pace with a 1.1 million market in 2013, but the peak industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), is tipping a slight slip in sales, down to about 1.075 million vehicles.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said the 2012 market was artificially lifted by factors such as the recovery of Thai vehicle imports after the devastating floods of 2011, and that 2013 will reflect more natural levels.

Anecdotal reports from dealers suggest the 2012 figure was also inflated by a rush of demonstrators registered in December to achieve sales targets at some companies.

But Mr Weber played down the claims, saying the FCAI believed the figures as reported by VFACTS are valid.

106 center imageFrom top: Toyota HiLux, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Nissan Navara, Holden Commodore.

The Australian new-vehicle market has now exceeded one million sales in five of the past six years.

Top importer Mazda’s Mazda3 small car retained its crown as Australia’s most popular vehicle with 44,128 sales, with a pair of Toyota vehicles – HiLux (40,646) and Corolla (38,799) – filling the minor placings.

Mazda also became the first full-line importer to achieve 100,000 sales in a year in Australia, while also snaring third spot on the sales ladder.

SUVs led the charge in 2012, with sales of these all-rounders soaring by 25 per cent and topping 300,000 units for the first time – almost a third of the market.

Light trucks – now considered by many as part of the family vehicle stable due to high levels of comfort and efficiency – also jumped 12.2 per cent, led by Toyota’s top-selling ute, the HiLux, which topped 40,000 units for the third time.

Passenger cars loosened their grip slightly in market share terms, with sales up 3.1 per cent in a market that rose 10.3 per cent. However, with 576,855 units sold in 2012, the traditional sedan and wagon offerings still accounted for more than half the sales volume nationally.

Toyota reinforced its position as the industry titan, shrugging off its 2011 supply problems to record 218,176 sales in 2012 – as many as the next two challengers combined.

The Toyota result represented a market share of 19.6 per cent – up 18 per cent on 2011, when natural disasters in Thailand and Japan upset its plans.

The Japanese giant not only managed to improve sales of its imported models, including the HiLux and Corolla, but also its locally made Camry sedan, which achieved 27,230 sales (up 42 per cent).

The improved Camry result reflected the recovery from parts supply problems the previous year, along with the popularity of the all-new model introduced at the start of 2012 and driven home with zero per cent finance offers in the last quarter.

Despite Camry’s recovery, Holden’s Commodore remained Australia’s best-selling local car, in spite of an alarming 25 per cent fall in sales in the past 12 months.

The Commodore sedan and wagon range found 30,532 new homes in Australia, compared with 40,617 in 2011, as home-grown large cars continued their slide.

Holden will be counting on its heavily revised VF Commodore to counter the fall when it arrives in showrooms in the middle of this year.

General Motors’ Australian subsidiary managed to hold onto second place in the overall sales rankings behind Toyota, despite a 9.1 per cent sales decline.

To compound issues for Holden, its locally made Cruze small car also suffered a 13.7 per cent fall in 2012, to 29,161 sales.

Third-placed and fast-growing Mazda finished the year only a little more than 10,000 vehicles behind Holden’s 114,665 tally.

This will have the alarm bells ringing at Holden’s Fishermans Bend headquarters in Melbourne, as Holden has never been challenged by an importer since it introduced the FX Holden in 1948.

Mazda sales grew faster than the industry average, up 17.6 per cent to a record 103,886 vehicles in 2012.

Along with improved sales of its best-selling Mazda3 small car (up 6.5 per cent), Mazda growth was driven by the arrival of the popular CX-5 compact SUV and BT-50 ute that helped the company grab a 9.3 per cent market share.

South Korean importer Hyundai came home with a wet sail to record 91,536 sales, up 5.2 per cent on 2011, but its market share slipped from 8.6 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

Nevertheless, Hyundai leapfrogged local manufacturer Ford into fourth place, pushing the Blue Oval brand into fifth place for the first time.

Ford’s market share dropped from 9.0 per cent in 2011 to just 8.1 per cent, its lowest figure since it started building T-Model Fords at Geelong in the 1920s.

Ford’s home-grown Falcon plunged to new depths, down to a record low of 14,036 (down 25.1 per cent) for the year.

Falcon was even outsold by the locally built Territory SUV, sales of which grew 5.6 per cent to 14,646.

Ambitious Nissan continued its drive up the sales charts, coming sixth with 79,747 sales, up 17.4 per cent on the previous year and its highest level since it discontinued local manufacturing in the early 1990s.

While Mitsubishi continued its decline, down 3.7 per cent to 58,868 vehicles, the biggest growth recorded among top-10 companies was from German brand Volkswagen, with sales up 22.6 per cent to 54,835 units for eighth place in the rankings.

Subaru also recorded big gains, up 18.2 per cent to 40,189 units, while Honda rounded out the top 10 with 35,812 sales for the year.

VFACTS sales 2012:
BrandSales&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Movement%Share%
Top-selling vehicles in 2012:
BrandSales&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Movement%
Mazda Mazda344,128+6.5
Toyota HiLux40,64612.5
Toyota Corolla38,799+7.5
Holden Commodore30,532-24.8
Holden Cruze29,161-13.7
Hyundai i3028,348-1.8
Toyota Camry27,230+42.1
Nissan Navara26,045+20
Toyota Yaris18,808+16.0
Ford Focus18,586+44.5

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