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VFACTS: Car industry to smash all-time sales record

Dominant force: Toyota had three of the top five bestsellers in the new-vehicle market last month, with Corolla leading the charge, HiLux close behind and Camry right up there as the top-selling Australian-built car.

Record November sales surge takes car sector past 1m units, towards all-time high

3 Dec 2015

THE Australian motor industry is primed to post an all-time-high annual new-vehicle sales result after a record-breaking surge in November, with close to 100,000 registrations representing a 6.9 per cent increase on the same month last year and taking the year-to-date tally to 1.06 million.

To put this in perspective, the market is currently 16,321 units ahead of the same point in 2013, when the industry went on to achieve its highest-ever result of 1,136,227 sales.

VFACTS figures released today show that just 80,436 units are now required to send the automotive sector into unchartered territory – a figure that should be easily reached given the traditional end-of-year sales frenzy, buoyant economic conditions, strengthening business and consumer confidence and recent history that shows more than 95,000 new car registrations in December over the past three years.

Indeed, a sub-80,000 December result has not been seen since 2008, when Australia was in the midst of the global financial crisis.

Behind the big numbers are some exceptional results from individual brands, with some outstanding double-digit increases last month among the top-10 performers – and some equally striking declines.

Runaway market leader Toyota’s 18,402 units was up 15 per cent on November 2014, Mazda (9807) climbed a phenomenal 21 per cent to give it a stranglehold on second place in the market this year, while Holden (8889) recorded a 13.3 per cent improvement.

Hyundai, meanwhile, fell 2.1 per cent last month with 8416 units – relegating it to fourth position while keeping its nose in front of GMH in year-to-date terms (94,845 versus 93,805) – but it is now 9471 units behind Mazda (104,316) and well and truly out of the running for second place.

With 185,019 sales YTD, Toyota leads the field by more than 80,000 units.

The tight middle pack of Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Volkswagen in the top-10 table has taken another twist with Nissan posting 7229 sales last month – a phenomenal 39.5 per cent rise over November 2014 and due in large part to orders being fulfilled for its new Navara ute and a continuing strong performance across SUV model lines.

Ford delivered a healthy 6332 units – up 8.4 per cent, with the Ranger ute accounting for 48 per cent of its total volume for the month (Falcon sedan? 6%) – while Mitsubishi suffered a 26.9 per cent fall with 5169 units.

For the triple-diamond brand this is quite a remarkable decline considering its new-generation Triton ute – Mitsubishi’s biggest-selling vehicle by a country mile – is ensconced in the marketplace, yet 4x4 Triton sales sales last month (1071) were down 43.8 per cent compared to November last year, when the heavily discounted previous model was flying out of showrooms.

The writing was on the wall about six weeks ago when Mitsubishi resurrected driveaway specials for dual-cab Tritons after only six months in the marketplace with the fifth-generation model.

For Volkswagen, a proactive advertising blitz amid the brand-tarnishing diesel emissions-rigging scandal left the German brand on even terms for the month, but its 4441 units (+0.9%) puts it clearly in eighth position rather than a contender against the full-line Japanese brands.

Subaru was steady on 3884 units (+2.2%) and Honda rounded out the top 10 with 3067 (+2.9%), which was just enough to keep Mercedes-Benz at bay after the luxury marque posted 3034 sales (-9.9%) with commercial vehicles included.

Kia also threatened with 3011 sales, up a whopping 35.9 per cent for the month.

Other than the stoush for a podium position between Hyundai and Holden, the last four weeks of trading see Mitsubishi and Ford locked in battle for fifth – just 79 units separate them to the end of November (64,243 versus 64,164 respectively), while Nissan is an outside chance at 61,050.

Toyota took the top two positions last month for individual models with Corolla (3430, +5.1%) and HiLux (3369, +15.4%) – plus fifth with Camry (3025, +52.7%), which was enough to make it the top-selling locally manufactured car – while the Mazda3 (3104) managed third despite an 11.3 per cent fall.

Ford’s Ranger was fourth on 3028 units (+44.7%) and Holden’s Commodore sixth (2614, +18.8%), while Hyundai’s i30 dropped to seventh position (2499, -13.4%).

Rounding out the top 10 was Nissan’s resurgent Navara (2291, +116.5%) and X-Trail (2225, +92.0%) and Mazda’s CX-5 (2169, +34.1%).

Among the prestige brands, Mercedes-Benz’s 11 per cent fall last month to 2697 units (once commercial vehicles are taken out) was still enough to hold off BMW (2066, +3.2%) and the redoubtable Audi, which is clearly untouched by the VW Group diesel crisis thus far and posted 2018 sales – up 21.9 per cent.

For the year to date, all three German luxury brands have posted double-digit increases, with Mercedes well ahead on 28,661 units and only 2220 units separating BMW and Audi – 23,320 versus 21,100.

Among other prestige brands with double- or triple-digit sales improvements last month were Jaguar (+101.3%) – 119 of its 159 sales were of the new XE – sister brand Land Rover (+47.7%), plus Lexus (+18.9%), Infiniti (+108.3) and Volvo (+76.3%).

From the industry total of 98,639 units last month, SUVs continued to close in on passenger cars as the leading segment with 36,070 units – a rise of 16.2 per cent – compared to 41,726 (-3.1%). Light commercials (17,990, +16.0%) were also strong with the influx of new-generation utilities.

Every SUV segment posted positive results, while among the passenger cars the volume-selling small, light and micro segments were all down.

Private (+9.8%), business (+4.6%) and government (+9.2%) vehicle purchases were all up in November, with private buyers drawn particularly towards SUVs while business and government sectors responded positively to the influx of new light-commercial vehicles.

Western Australia (-1.7%) and the Northern Territory (-12.7%) were the only negative regions, while sales in Queensland were up 14.5 per cent, outstripping the growth in the bigger-volume states of New South Wales (+9.1%) and Victoria (+4.3%).

Top 10 selling brands November 2015
BrandSales% Share% Variation
Top selling models November 2015
Toyota Corolla3430
Toyota HiLux3369
Ford Ranger3028
Toyota Camry3025
Holden Commodore2614
Hyundai i302499
Nissan Navara2291
Nissan X-Trail2225
Mazda CX-52169

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