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VFACTS: New-car market slips as Holden slides

Still the one: Toyota’s Corolla won the sales race last month and it is also ahead of the Mazda3 year to date, with a 914-unit lead over its rival.

GM Holden takes big hit in October sales as Subaru and Mercedes-Benz soar

6 Nov 2014

SEVERAL of the leading car brands in Australia took a hit in sales last month but GM Holden suffered the biggest decline with a 28.4 per cent downturn compared to October last year, VFACTS figures released today show.

As the overall market slipped 1.5 per cent for the month with 91,236 new vehicle registrations – a figure that nonetheless keeps the industry on track to pass 1.1 million units for the full year – Toyota (-4.1 per cent), Mazda (-13.6 per cent), Ford (-15.3 per cent) and Volkswagen (-3.0 per cent) were all in negative territory.

In contrast, Hyundai continued to defy the market with a 3.3 per cent surge and, with 8401 sales for the month, took a clear second position overall, well behind Toyota (17,382) but enough to place it ahead of both Holden (7542) and Mazda (6880).

For General Motors’ Australian subsidiary, the result reflected negative returns from a number of its key models, including its locally built Commodore – down 33.3 per cent (to 2210 units) and unable to match last October’s best sales month for the VF Commodore since the model arrived in June 2013 – and the Holden Ute (-39.0 per cent), Cruze (-30.1 per cent) and Caprice (-50.8 per cent) assembled alongside the Commodore in Adelaide.

The imported Barina, Barina Spark, Captiva 7, Colorado 7 SUV and Malibu were all down between 38.9 and 54.1 per cent, leaving only the Trax crossover and Colorado utility in the black.

Holden’s poor showing, which now puts it 2.1 per cent down year to date after positive year-on-year returns to the end of September, comes a week after managing director Gerry Dorizas resigned – after just seven months in the job – to “pursue other interests”.

Mr Dorizas’ shock resignation followed executive director of sales and marketing Philip Brook’s transfer last month to the United States, where he is managing GM’s operations in the south-central region from Dallas, Texas.

In year-to-date terms, Toyota remains the perennial runaway market leader with an 18.2 per cent share of the market and 168,491 sales (-4.8 per cent) with two months of trading still to come, with Holden next with a 9.8 per cent share and 90,491 sales – surely enough for it to claim second place on the dais come December 31.

That leaves Mazda and Hyundai continuing to fight it out for the final spot on the podium, with both brands holding down a 9.1 per cent share and only 113 units separating them YTD. Mazda has its nose in front on 83,867 (-2.7 per cent) compared to Hyundai’s 83,754 (+3.7 per cent), setting up a fascinating battle over the next two months.

A changeover to the new-generation Mazda2 last month slowed sales of the light car by 23.1 per cent, while all models in Mazda’s arsenal bar the CX-5 – up 3.5 per cent with 1594 units – lost ground, including the market’s second-biggest selling car, the Mazda3, which was down 19 per cent.

Toyota’s Corolla remained Australia’s most popular car with 3819 sales last month, ahead of its HiLux stablemate (3228), Mazda3 (2928) and Hyundai’s i30 (2475).

Year to date, the Corolla is ahead of the Mazda3 by 914 units, 36,925 compared with 36,011.

Ford’s 15.3 per cent decline last month (to 6337 units) came with all models losing ground except the Ranger 4x4 (+29.2 per cent), the heavy commercial Transit (+76.2 per cent) and Mondeo mid-sizer (+59.9 per cent) which is now in run-out.

The Broadmeadows-built Falcon managed only 396 sales for the month – down 63.2 per cent for the month as the swansong FG X prepares to come on line – while the Falcon ute was down 46.1 per cent with just 186 examples finding homes. The locally built Territory SUV also stumbled, down 25.7 per cent for the month with 828 new registrations.

A resurgent Nissan climbed 8.9 per cent to 5759 sales, edging out Mitsubishi which remained steady on 5115, while Volkswagen’s 3.0 per cent decline (to 4764 units) was still enough to hold on to eighth place overall.

Subaru recorded its strongest month since November 2013 with 4003 sales – a massive 40 per cent increase on the back of 894 Impreza sales (+200 per cent), 354 for WRX (+145.8 per cent), 1266 for Forester (+36.1 per cent) and 1149 sales of the XV (+62.7 per cent).

Luxury brand Mercedes-Benz marked its return to the top 10 after achieving a similar feat in May, with a 39.3 per cent increase for 3150 sales, keeping Jeep and Honda in 11th and 12th spot respectively.

Overall passenger sales dropped 3.4 per cent last month, while Australians continued their love affair with SUVs, which were up 3.2 per cent. Light commercials were steady, down just 0.1 per cent for the month.

Breaking down the passenger car segments, micro, light and small cars all dropped, as did large, upper-large, people-movers and sportscars, however mid-size cars were up 3.7 per cent for the month on the back of strong sales in the over $60,000 segment.

Mercedes’ new C-Class took second spot in the wider mid-size segment with 862 sales, beaten only by the dominant fleet-friendly Toyota Camry.

Small, medium and upper large SUVs all grew in October, but large SUVs – the segment that includes the Ford Territory, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota Kluger – lost 2.2 per cent.

Business purchases were down 2.0 per cent last month and are currently 7.0 per cent in arrears YTD, reflected in the fall of 4x2 and 4x4 utes of 9.8 and 4.7 per cent respectively.

While still making up the largest proportion of buyers, private sales dropped 3.9 per cent last month, while government sales grew 2.2 per cent and rental purchases soared 18.1 per cent.

Year to date, the overall market is down 1.9 per cent.

Top 10 selling brands October 2014
Brand Sales Variation %
Toyota 17,382 -4.1
Hyundai 8401 3.3
Holden 7542 -28.4
Mazda 6880 -13.6
Ford 6337 -15.3
Nissan 5759 8.9
Mitsubishi 5115 0.9
Volkswagen 4764 -3.0
Subaru 4003 40.0
Mercedes-Benz 3150 39.3
Top 10 best selling models October 2014
Make/Model Sales
Toyota Corolla 3819
Toyota HiLux 3228
Mazda3 2928
Hyundai i30 2475
Ford Ranger 2405
Holden Commodore 2210
Toyota Camry 1908
Mitsubishi Triton 1787
Volkswagen Golf 1755
Mazda CX-5 1594

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