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VFACTS: Tight at the top as hatchbacks slug it out

It’s close: Mazda’s best seller, the Mazda3, is back in with a chance at the Australian sales crown after a big September.

Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 set for final quarter showdown for sales crown

3 Oct 2014

TOYOTA’S Corolla and its arch-rival, the Mazda3, are running neck and neck in the battle for Australia’s top-selling car crown this year with just three months to go, according to official VFACTS figures.

The Mazda3 triumphed in September, topping the monthly sales tally with 4014 vehicles and moving within a mere 23 units of reigning champ Corolla in year-to-date sales – 33,106 to 33,083 – to set up a last-quarter showdown for 2014 bragging rights.

Last year, the Toyota Corolla went to number one for the first time when it knocked the Mazda3 out of top spot as the latter went into run-out ahead of the all-new model launched in January.

For most of this year, the Toyota small car seemed to have back-to-back crowns in the bag, but the Mazda3 has recently gathered pace.

Both cars are running ahead of last year’s rate, with Mazda3 up 7.5 per cent and Corolla up 3.3 per cent.

In September, the overall market reversed its recent downward trend by rising 2.5 per cent to a healthy 94,978 new vehicles for the month, up 2316 units on the corresponding month last year.

With winners like the Mazda3, Japanese importer Mazda was the big improver, selling 9500 vehicles last month – a rise of 24.8 per cent over the corresponding month last year – to give it second place behind perennial leader Toyota, which shifted 17,880 units (+2.2 per cent).

Fast-growing Jeep also managed a place in the top 10 with a massive 43.4 per cent jump in sales volume over September 2013.

Local manufacturer Holden was the big loser among the market leaders, slipping to fourth place in the monthly sales rankings with an 11.1 per cent decline, to 8551 vehicles.

106 center image From top: Toyota Corolla, Toyota HiLux and Holden Commodore. After a recent surge in sales, Holden’s locally built VF Commodore came off the boil to the tune of 8.8 per cent last month, to 2616 sales.

This placed the Aussie large car fourth on the sales ladder, behind the Mazda3 (4014 units), Toyota Corolla (3893) and Toyota HiLux (3430).

Holden’s other high-volume models – Cruze, Barina and Captiva – all took a hit.

Fellow manufacturer Ford fared even worse, with Blue Oval sales down 17 per cent, to 6227 units.

It was not helped by sales of its locally made Falcon, which slumped by almost half last month, to 467 units, as Ford warms up to release a major facelift of the large car in about two months.

The Thai-built Ranger ute was Ford’s top-selling vehicle, coming sixth in the Australian sales rankings with 2446 units in September, making it the second-best selling light commercial vehicle behind the dominant HiLux.

Mazda dominated the two biggest market segments, with Mazda3’s stellar September result marking a 31.7 per cent rise and top honours in the small-car class, while its CX-5 was up 25.3 per cent to lead the medium SUV bracket with 2093 units.

Mazda’s baby small car, the Mazda2, came a close second to Hyundai’s i20 – 1497 to 1444 – in the light car class.

The overall rise in Australian new-vehicles sales last month was driven by the continuing rise in SUV popularity, with sales of the family wagons rising another 14.6 per cent in September.

Among the SUV heavyweights, Toyota’s evergreen Prado edged out the up-and-coming Jeep Grand Cherokee by just three sales, 1439 to 1436.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said business vehicle sales fell 3.8 per cent in September, while both private and government purchases had increased.

This in in line to the year-to-date trend, in which business fleet sales are down 7.7 per cent while private sales are up 1.6 per cent and government volumes up 6.0 per cent.

September marked a turning point for the industry, according to Toyota Australia national sales divisional manager Scott Thompson.

“All indicators are for a strong fourth quarter with substantial emphasis on the SUV growth market and key passenger vehicle segments," he said.

Top 10 selling brands for September 2014
Brand Sales Variance %
Toyota 17,880 +2.2
Mazda 9500 +24.8
Hyundai 8804 0.0
Holden 8551 -11.1
Ford 6227 -17.0
Mitsubishi 6066 +1.2
Nissan 6484 -1.3
Volkswagen 4467 0.0
Subaru 3204 +16.4
Jeep 2937 +43.4
Top selling models for September 2014
Model Sales
Mazda Mazda3 4014
Toyota Corolla 3893
Toyota HiLux 3430
Holden Commodore 2616
Hyundai i30 2539
Ford Ranger 2446
Mazda CX-5 2093
Mitsubishi Triton 2029
Hyundai ix35 1802
Holden Cruze 1643

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