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VFACTS: Car sales hit top gear in 2015

Top notch: Toyota’s Corolla was Australia’s favourite car in 2015, giving it a hat-trick of sales wins.

Records tumble as importers fight for ascendency in Australia’s booming car market

6 Jan 2016

AUSTRALIA’S new-vehicle market reached record heights last year, with highly competitive pricing and unprecedented choice of vehicles helping to drive 2015 sales to 1,155,408 vehicles, eclipsing 2013’s record by 1.7 per cent.

Year on year, sales were up 3.8 per cent, boosted by a strong run to the finish line in December when the industry secured a tick under 100,000 sales for the month.

It was the sixth straight year of million-plus sales, with Toyota again leading the way for the 13th consecutive year on a solid 206,236 units.

Records crashed across the market, with many of the leading importers such as Mazda and Hyundai notching best-ever sales.

For the first time, more than one in three of all new vehicles sold in 2015 was an SUV, with sales of the popular family wagons soaring 15.9 per cent.

Sales of small passenger cars fell 7.6 per cent, while small SUV volumes grew 27.4 per cent for the year.

Nevertheless, the top-selling cars in the market remained small cars, with Toyota’s Corolla (42,073) completing a hat-trick of annual victories, ahead of the former champ, Mazda3 (38,644).

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said Australia remained one of the most competitive new-car markets in the world.

He said SUV sales in particular continued to boom in 2015, with the vehicle type now accounting for around 35.4 per cent of the market, up from 31.7 per cent in 2014.

“Despite the significant rise in SUV sales over the past few years, passenger cars still hold some popularity,” he said.

“The segment is still the largest selling segment, holding 44.6 per cent of the total market in2015.”

Of the top 10 vehicle makers in Australia, only two recorded sales decreases in 2015 – local manufacturers Holden and Ford.

Mazda was the star performer, grabbing a brand record 114,024 sales – up 13.2 per cent – to comfortably out-point Holden and take second place behind Toyota for the first time.

With sales falling 3.0 per cent to 102,951 vehicles, Holden slipped to third place ahead of a surging Hyundai (102,004 units, +2.0 per cent).

For Hyundai, it marked another record performance in a steady rise over several years.

Mitsubishi sales rose 4.5 per cent, to 71,743 vehicles to give the Japanese importer fifth place – its best performance since it killed its local manufacturing in 2008.

It edged Ford into sixth place (70,453, -11.6 per cent) – the lowest ranking for the Blue Oval in its long history in Australia.

Of the locally made vehicles, Toyota’s rejuvenated Camry (27,654, +25.4 per cent) almost knocked off Holden’s Commodore (27,770, -8.1 per cent) for the first time in history.

The Camry finished the year with a burst, becoming the outright number one seller in December with 5321 sales – a record in the nameplate’s four-cylinder sales.

Toyota topped nine sales segments in 2015, and would have made it 10 except for a strong December performance by Mazda’s Mazda2, knocking Toyota Yaris out of top place in the light car market.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the company and its dealers planned to use the 2015 results as a springboard to expand sales through enhanced customer satisfaction.

"The next 12 months will provide the full-year benefits of 13 new or refreshed models that arrived in 2015, delivering on our promise to continue offering ever-better cars," he said.

Toyota had three vehicles in the top 10 – Corolla, HiLux and Camry – while Mazda managed two – Mazda3 and CX-5. The latter was the best-selling SUV in the land, with 25.136 sales (+16.5 per cent).

HiLux hung on to the light-truck crown, despite a 6.0 per cent sales slip, down to 35,161 sales. This was mainly due to a new model changeover during the year, along with extra pressure from the likes of Ford’s Ranger (29,185, +9.6 per cent) and the Mitsubishi Triton (25,228, +4,4 per cent).

Top 10 selling brands 2015
BrandSales% Variation
Top 10 selling models 2015
ModelSales% Variation
Toyota Corolla42,073-3.8
Toyota HiLux35,161-6.0
Hyundai i3032,306+2.5
Ford Ranger29,185+9.6
Holden Commodore27,770-8.1
Toyota Camry27,654+25.4
Mitsubishi Triton25,338+4.4
Mazda CX-525,136+16.5
Volkswagen Golf22,092+15.2

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