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June VFACTS: Weekend warriors drive vehicle market

Top three: Mitsubishi’s ageing Triton ute is going out with a bang, scoring a company record 4124 sales in June as Mitsubishi warms up to launch an all-new model in about December.

Private buyers keep motor market chugging as business fleet purchases get bogged

3 Jul 2014

PRIVATE buyers are sustaining the Australian motor market this year as they snap up SUVs and 4x4 one-tonne utilities in increasing numbers, helping to make up for an accelerating decline in business vehicle purchases, according to official VFACTS data released today.

Sales of SUVs and light commercial vehicles to these “weekend warriors” soared by more than 20 per cent last month, driven by a multitude of end-of-year-special offers, while business buyers remained wary, with 13.4 per cent fewer fleet sales to companies across the board.

Four Thai-made utes – the Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara – made it into the list of top 10 vehicles in June sales, despite a decline of 8.2 per cent in business purchases in the light truck segment.

Overall vehicle sales marked time in June, with dealers shifting 118,309 vehicles for the month compared with 118,758 in the same month last year.

This 0.4 per cent dip was an improvement on the sales decline of previous months, and brought the year-to-date sales slip to 2.4 per cent for the first half of 2014.

Holden was the big improver last month, with sales up 17.6 per cent to 12,322 vehicles – its best result in three years – on the back of a big marketing campaign and strong private buyer demand for its locally made Commodore range.

The General Motors subsidiary appears to have steadied the sales ship after several years of struggle, and has crept back into double figures in its market share, to 10.1 per cent year to date, compared with 9.0 per cent at the same time last year.

106 center imageFrom top: Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai i30, Ford Ranger and Holden Commodore.

The Holden effort in June helped to consolidate its second place in the marketplace behind perennial leader Toyota, which sold 20,808 vehicles in June for a market share of 17.6 per cent, despite a 6.1 per cent sales decline year on year.

Toyota scored a quinella in the top-selling models ladder for the month, with its Corolla small car (4648 sales) and HiLux ute (4276) beating all comers.

Third-placed Hyundai achieved 10,000 sales for the first time – a record 10,008 units – on the back of a strong range-wide performance that lifted its June tally by 0.9 per cent.

Volkswagen also had much to crow about, enjoying record monthly sales of 6597 units, crunching its previous best one-month tally of 6446 set in June 2012 and taking a comfortable eighth place on the charts.

While Mitsubishi’s vehicle sales declined more than 10 per cent to 8281 units in June, its Triton ute entered new sales territory by achieving more than 4000 sales for the first time.

The seven-year-old ute came third in the best-seller list with 4124 sales in June on the back of hefty discounting and special deals, and its 4x4 version even outsold the equivalent 4x4 HiLux, 3725 to 3141.

The Triton, which is due to be replaced by an all new model late this year, accounted for half of all Mitsubishi sales as its other mass sellers, the Mirage and Lancer, declined.

Import leader Mazda held up well with 9374 sales in June, down 2.0 per cent compared with the equivalent month last year to come fourth behind Toyota, Holden and Hyundai.

Ford (8715, -10.0 per cent), Nissan (7992, -12.9) and Subaru (3851, -6.5) all did worse than the general market, while Kia eased back into the top 10 with 3305, up 5.6 per cent.

Outside the top 10, Honda took another major hit, with June sales down 38.5 per cent to 3115 vehicles. Year to date, Honda sales have crashed 34.1 per cent, with its market share declining from 4.1 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

Among the luxury marques, Audi was a big improver with 20.2 per cent growth in June, to 1809 units, while rivals Mercedes-Benz (3040 vehicles) and BMW (2203) also enjoyed increased sales, up 8.1 per cent end 3.2 per cent respectively.

Most of the passenger car segments lost ground, except for the large car market in which Holden’s Commodore single-handedly lifted sales by 8.2 per cent.

SUV sales continued their upward trajectory, up a further 7.1 per cent in June, while light commercial vehicles improved 4.2 per cent on the back of those private buyers.

According the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the sales tally for the first half of 2014 puts the Australian motor industry on target to achieve 1.12 million sales this year.

Top 10 selling brands June 2014
Rank Brand Sales % Variation
1 Toyota 20,808 -6.1
2 Holden 12,322 17.6
3 Hyundai 10,008 0.9
4 Mazda 9374 -2.0
5 Ford 8715 -10.0
6 Mitsubishi 8281 -10.5
7 Nissan 7992 -12.8
8 Volkswagen 6597 26.4
9 Subaru 3851 -6.5
10 Kia 3305 5.6
Top 10 selling models June 2014
Rank Model Sales
1 Toyota Corolla 4648
2 Toyota HiLux 4276
3 Mitsubishi Triton 4124
4 Mazda3 4059
5 Hyundai i30 3243
6 Ford Ranger 3214
7 Holden Commodore 3156
8 Toyota Camry 2378
9 Nissan Navara 2262
10 Volkswagen Golf 2261

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