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July VFACTS: Germans power on – and up

High class: Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class topped luxury car sales again in July with an 853-unit haul – up more than 600 per cent on the same month last year.

Vehicle sales hit record as German car-makers move from premium to mainstream

5 Aug 2015

GERMAN importers helped to drive the Australian new-vehicle market to record levels in July, with all major players from the powerhouse of Europe recording fresh July sales benchmarks, according to official VFACTS data.

Compared with July last year, sales of Volkswagen vehicles were up 23 per cent, Mercedes-Benz up 21.1 per cent, Audi up 14.7 per cent, BMW up 6.2 per cent and Porsche up 39.1 per cent as the Australian motor industry shook off economic jitters to sell 92,308 vehicles – more than 2000 units above the previous July record of 90,235 vehicles in 2013.

Leading importers Mazda and Hyundai also enjoyed a July record haul, with Mazda sales soaring 16.3 per cent to 9356 vehicles, while Hyundai shifted 8511 vehicles, up 1.9 per cent on the same month last year.

Perennial sales champion Toyota again led the field with a 2.1 per cent sales gain for 16,840 units last month as its Corolla small car comfortably took the monthly sales crown with 3573 sales, in front of Mazda’s Mazda3 (2825) and Hyundai’s i30 (2750).

Mazda and Hyundai came second and third in overall July sales, ahead of local car-makers Holden (7895 vehicles) and Ford (5747), both of which slumped by a further 12.2 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.

Holden’s market share is now down to 8.9 per cent for the year, compared with more than 10 per cent this time last year, as it settles below double-digit share for the first time in memory.

Its position in July was not helped by the continuing decline of its locally made Commodore and Cruze, down 17.8 per cent and 30.2 per cent respectively in July.

SUVs made further inroads into the market in July, with sales of the popular wagons rising 13.4 per cent over the same month last year.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said Australia’s fleet mix had changed significantly in the past decade.

“Ten years ago, passenger cars represented over 60 per cent of new car sales.

Now, light commercial vehicles and SUVs represent over 50 per cent of the new-car market and passenger cars represent only 45 per cent,” he said.

“With car affordability at record levels, private buyers purchased 6.2 per cent more new vehicles in July 2015, than in July 2014.

“In particular, they purchased 22.2 per cent more SUVs and 8.8 per cent more light commercial vehicles.”

July was the fifth month of record sales this year, with the Australian market well on track for a million-unit-plus tally by year’s end.

One of the stars of July was Mercedes-Benz which again edged into the top 10 with an outstanding performance by its top-selling C-Class, July sales of which soared more than 600 per cent over July 2014 when the previous model was in run-out – 853 units versus 121.

Mercedes sold more passenger cars – 2114 – than many mainstream car companies, including Ford, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

And the luxury car-maker is only starting to get warmed up in the big-selling SUV arena, where vehicles such as the GLC are in the pipeline.

Volkswagen, placed eighth in July sales with 4908 vehicles, continues to creep up behind Nissan (4937, -9.4%) and Mitsubishi (5189, +2.9%).

Ninth-placed Subaru had its best July for five years, setting a new company July record of 3354 sales, helped by a 306 per cent jump in Outback sales.

Top 10 selling brands July 2015
BrandSales% Variation
Top 10 selling models July 2015
Toyota Corolla3573
Hyundai i302750
Toyota HiLux2579
Mitsubishi Triton2238
Mazda CX-52223
Toyota Camry2124
Holden Commodore2030
Ford Ranger2023
VW Golf1697

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