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VFACTS: Market down, Mazda hit hardest

Number one: In a down month for the industry, the Toyota Corolla reigned supreme as the nation's top-seller.

Market-wide sales dip for second successive month as Mazda takes biggest tumble

3 Oct 2013

AUSTRALIA last month recorded its second consecutive month of negative new-car sales growth, with the expected post-election sales bounce failing to materialise for many car-makers.

According to September’s VFACTS figures released today, 92,662 new vehicles were registered last month, down 2.1 per cent over the same month last year.

There was a perception that sales might head upward in the wash-up from the September 7 federal election, with business and government fleet buyers increasingly holding off on inquiries in the lead-up.

But neither the election of the Tony Abbott-led Coalition to power nor its subsequent plan to repeal the outgoing government’s proposed fringe benefits tax (FBT) changes appear to have had an immediate impact.

Breaking it down further, only private vehicle sales were in positive territory, up 6.0 per cent on 2012. Business (down 10.0 per cent), government (down 15.5 per cent) and rental (down 2.5 per cent) sales were all negative.

Despite its traditional strength in private non-fleet sales, the most notable dip among mainstream brands was Mazda, whose sales fell 24.6 per cent against its record-breaking September 2012 figure, recording 7615 sales.

106 center imageFrom top: Mazda3, Holden Commodore, BMW 3 Series Touring, Toyota 86 and Hyundai ix35.

Key models including the Mazda2 (1113 sales, down 38.2 per cent), run-out Mazda3 (3052 sales, down 28.6 per cent), Mazda6 (563 sales, down 12.7 per cent), CX-5 (1670 sales, down 7.7 per cent) and BT-50 4x4 (634 sales, down 15.6 per cent) all took hits.

Mazda Australia senior manager of public relations Steve Maciver said the result was "a bit behind where we wanted to be", but pointed out that Mazda's national 'M Day' sale, which customarily crams one week's worth of sales into a day, was this year held in August, rather than September as it was in 2012.

In all, six of the top-10 selling brands dropped: Ford (7505 sales, down 3.3 per cent), Nissan (5556 sales, down 10.8 per cent), Volkswagen (4466 sales, down 9.8 per cent), Subaru (2752 sales, down 14.3 per cent) and Kia (2533 sales, down 7.7 per cent).

Market leader Toyota recorded 1.1 per cent growth, with 17,492 sales, while local hero Holden rode a strong month of marketing campaigns to 7.4 per cent growth with 9614 sales.

Hyundai (8803 sales, up 12.6 per cent) supplanted Mazda for the number one full importer for the month, while Mitsubishi continued its strong form this year with 5993 sales, up 3.3 per cent. The Japanese company has grown its registrations by 22.9 per cent year-to-date.

At the premium end of the market, which was among the hardest hit by the proposed FBT changes because of the growth in premium novated lease deals, things were better.

Big German players BMW and Mercedes-Benz were up 24.4 per cent and 28.6 per cent respectively. Mercedes’ monthly tally of 2496 sales (including LCVs) was 33 units behind 10th-placed Kia and 316 units ahead of Honda (down 11.8 per cent), while BMW’s 2027 units wasn’t far behind.

Audi went backwards, by 6.5 per cent to 1247 sales, while Swedish contender Volvo fell 11.8 per cent to 425 registrations.

Lexus (494 sales, up 0.4 per cent), Alfa Romeo (247 sales, up 318.6 per cent thanks to significant recent price cuts, Mini (237 sales, up 22.2 per cent), Porsche (170 sales, up 28.8 per cent), Jaguar (79 sales, up 23.4 per cent) and Infiniti (21 sales, up 162.5 per cent) fared better.

Other companies to buck the downward trend included Chrysler (361 sales, up 94.1 per cent), Isuzu Ute (791 sales, up 33.8 per cent), Jeep (2048 units, up 14.4 per cent) and Renault (651 sales, up 15.0 per cent).

Top-selling model for the month was the Toyota Corolla (3443), which extended its annual lead over segment rival, the Mazda3, in the race to be Australia’s top-selling car for 2013 (32,039 sales YTD versus 30,781).

Toyota’s HiLux gave the Japanese brand a one-two finish for the month with 3341 sales, ahead of the Mazda3 (3052 sales). The Australian-made Holden Commodore continued its strong recent form since the launch of the new VF generation earlier this year, with 2869 sales (up 13.3 per cent).

The Hyundai i30 was next with 2675 sales (albeit down 14.9 per cent), ahead of the Nissan Navara (2278 units), locally-made Toyota Camry (2223 units), Australian-designed Ford Ranger (2037 units), Volkswagen Golf (1852 sales) and Australian-made Holden Cruze (1851 sales).

It was a mixed bag for other Australian-made cars: the Ford Territory was up 3.1 per cent to 1130 sales on the back of a big national advertising campaign, but the Falcon (846 sales, down 28.8 per cent) continued its decline.

The Toyota Aurion is also a concern, with only 537 units delivered for the month, down 25.5 per cent.

Individual segment winners were the Hyundai i20 (1566 units, light segment), Corolla (small segment), Camry (medium segment), BMW 3 Series (440 sales, luxury medium segment), Commodore (large segment), Toyota 86 (492 sales, sports segment), Hyundai ix35 (1667 sales, small SUVs), Mazda CX-5 (medium SUV segment), Jeep Grand Cherokee (1402 sales, ahead of even the Toyota Prado in large SUVs) and the run-out BMW X5 (437 sales, luxury SUVs).

Top 10 selling brands September 2013
BrandSales% Change
Top 10 selling models September 2013
Toyota Corolla3443
Toyota HiLux3341
Holden Commodore2869
Hyundai i302675
Nissan Navara2278
Toyota Camry2223
Ford Ranger2037
Volkswagen Golf1852
Holden Cruze1851

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