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VFACTS: Groundhog day for Aussie car market

Back to back: Toyota’s Corolla has been officially crowned Australia’s best-selling car after edging out the Mazda3 in 2014.

Australia locked on 1.1 million new vehicle sales as showroom gains stall

6 Jan 2015

AUSTRALIAN automotive industry experts predict the motor vehicle market will mark time in 2015, recording about 1.1 million sales for a fourth successive year.

According to official VFACTS figures released today, Australian car and truck buyers took delivery of 1,113,224 vehicles in 2014 – down 2.0 per cent on 2013’s 12-month tally.

SUV sales again bolstered the market with a 5.6 per cent gain on sales of the popular family wagons, while traditional passenger car volumes slumped 6.6 per cent.

Toyota’s Corolla was the top-selling car for the second year in a row, just pipping the Mazda3 by 422 sales, 43,735 to 43,313.

The Corolla was one of three Toyota models in the top 10, with the HiLux ute and locally made Camry sedan also winning their segments and helping the Japanese giant to a comfortable overall sales victory for the 12th year straight.

Toyota notched 203,501 sales – the 10th time it has achieved 200,000 sales – but this represents a 5.2 per cent decline on its 2013 achievement.

It was still well ahead of second-placed Holden whose sales slipped 5.3 per cent, to 106,092 units.

The battle for third place went right down to the wire in December, with Mazda just hanging on to beat rising star Hyundai, 100,704 to 100,011.

It was the first time Hyundai has broken through the 100,000-unit mark, and represents a 3.1 per cent rise in sales by the South Korean brand.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said his organisation expected the 2015 market to maintain current pace and come in at about 1.1 million.

This sentiment was echoed by Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb who said economic conditions and new-model launches would support similar results for both the industry and for Toyota in the coming year.

Cracks had started to appear in Australian motor vehicle sales in the second half of 2014, with the three local manufacturers in particular looking vulnerable in the wake of their decisions to quit local manufacturing in the next few years. However, a strong finish in December, with overall sales up 0.1 per cent to 96,809 vehicles, steadied the ship.

New South Wales was the only state to record motor vehicle sales growth in Australia in 2014, with sales up 1.5 per cent in Australia’s biggest market.

106 center image Left: Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb.The biggest state-wide falls were recorded by Tasmania (-9.7 per cent) and Western Australia (-8.1 per cent), with the latter suffering a collapse due to the end of the mining boom.

Despite a softening in business sales, three light trucks made it into the top 10, with Ford’s locally designed Ranger and Mitsubishi’s run-out Triton joining the perennial top-selling HiLux ute among the leaders.

Although Holden slid backwards in 2014, it was not the fault of its Commodore, which enjoyed an 8.8 per cent sales increase, to 30,203 units, to become the best-selling locally built car of 2014 and fifth overall.

Holden has reacted to its 2014 fade-out with a no-deposit, no-repayments for 12 months finance offer on its models to kick start its 2015 campaign.

The GM subsidiary is feeling the hot breath of full-line importers Mazda and Hyundai on its neck, with little more than 5000 units between them at the end of 2014.

Ford finished the year in fifth place, with Blue Oval sales sliding 8.6 per cent to 79,703 – its worst performance in memory. Falcon sales were down more than 40 per cent, to just 6349 sales.

Ford is counting on a raft of new models to reverse the trend, with a full year of new Falcon and Territory beckoning, along with a new Mondeo and the all-new Everest SUV.

One of the biggest losers among the major players in 2014 was Nissan, whose sales slumped 14 per cent, to 66,025 units to finish just behind Mitsubishi which slipped 4.0 per cent, to 68,637 units, despite widespread discounts.

Volkswagen (54,801 units) and Subaru (40,502) were steady, but Honda slipped 15.8 per cent to 32,998, just managing to keep Mercedes-Benz (31,895 sales) out of 10th place.

Mercedes sales were up 15.8 per cent, thanks to a swag of fresh models, including the all-new C-Class that, with 5845 sales, was again the top-selling luxury car on the market.

The top-selling SUV for 2014 was Mazda’s CX-5 (21,571 units), while Toyota’s rear-drive 86 coupe held on to its sportscar crown, with 4257 sales.

Honda’s re-born Odyssey (2552 sales) took the people-mover crown, edging out Hyundai’s iMax (2137).

Top 10 selling brands for 2014
BrandSalesVariation %
Top 10 selling models for 2014
Toyota Corolla43,735
Toyota HiLux38,126
Hyundai i3031,505
Holden Commodore30,203
Ford Ranger26,619
Mitsubishi Triton24,256
Toyota Camry22,044
Mazda CX-521,571
Volkswagen Golf19,178

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