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VFACTS: SUVs keep market steady

Aussie-built: The Cruze was Holden's top-selling model last month shifting 1870 units to land in fifth place, ahead of the Commodore and Colorado.

Passenger sales drop in January as Europeans and SUVs continue growth spurt

4 Feb 2015

AUSTRALIA'S new-vehicle sales remained steady in the first month of 2015, with a drop-off in passenger-car purchases countered by a sizeable jump in the ever-growing SUV segment.

A total of 82,116 sales were recorded in January, just 0.2 per cent or 169 units off January 2014's haul of 82,285, with private sales growing by 0.8 per cent to make up 48,642 of the overall total.

Passenger cars dropped by 4.3 per cent to 39,799 when compared with January 2014, while light commercials maintained a steady footing, losing only 0.3 per cent to kick off the year with 12,958 sales.

SUVs continued to grow at a rapid rate last month, rising by 6.9 per cent, or 1789 units, for a total of 27,679. The difference between passenger cars and SUVs appears to be shrinking, with the gap now at 12,120 units.

Business sales were much the same as last January – a traditionally quite month for large fleet buyers – but rentals and government sales dropped off even further, losing 14.6 and 4.4 per cent respectively.

Light cars continued provided the biggest boost in the passenger market, growing by 14.9 per cent to 9208, while the dwindling mid-size segment had a rare month of positive news, increasing by 12.9 per cent to 4955.

Small cars dropped by 7.7 per cent, but small SUVs rose by 17.9 per cent to 7272 units on the back of an increase in offerings in the baby crossover segment as well as strong results from some of the stalwarts including the Mitsubishi ASX (869 sales) and the Hyundai ix35 (1636).

Toyota was once again the market leader, starting 2015 in much the same way it did last year with its January haul, just 15 units more, or 0.1 per cent up on the same month in 2014.

Mazda dropped by 4.3 per cent but maintained second place with 9006, ahead of third-placed Holden on 8401 (-5.3 per cent) and Hyundai with 6901 (-3.5 per cent), but it was Ford that was the biggest loser in the top 10, sliding 21.3 per cent to 5357.

Outside the top five, Nissan (+6.7 per cent) and Volkswagen (+8.6 per cent) grew, and Honda had a rare win, gaining 9.4 per cent over last January, while Mitsubishi dipped 1.4 per cent to 4080.

Holden had mixed fortunes last month with three models making the top ten, but its resurgent Commodore large car had a slow start to 2015, dropping 24.5 per cent for 1784 sales, coincidentally the same amount of Rangers that Ford shifted last month.

Its other locally built model, the Cruze, was Holden's best seller with a substantial 34.1 per cent boost for 1870 – enough for fifth spot overall, while the Colorado ute capped off the top 10 with 1543 sales.

Mazda maintained its good January form with the Mazda3 topping the charts on 3903 sales, the fourth year in a row the Japanese-built model has started the year in top spot.

Toyota took second and third spot with the Corolla (3472) and the HiLux (2331), while Hyundai's i30 held onto fourth with 2092.

Mazda's CX-5 was the most popular SUV in the country last month on 1699 sales, possibly helped by run-out deals in the lead up to the launch of the facelifted version that arrived late in the month. Hyundai's ix35 was close behind in ninth spot with 1636 units.

The large SUV segment dipped 1.2 per cent, with the Jeep Grand Cherokee (-26.9 per cent), Toyota Kluger (-7.7 per cent) and Australian-built Ford Territory (-6.2 per cent) all down, while Subaru's newly launched Outback rebounded by 821 per cent with 525 sales.

Premium brands continued to perform well in January, with Mercedes-Benz leading the charge with 2594 sales, up 27.8 per cent over January 2014, for the German car-maker's best January to date in Australia.

Demand for the new C-Class mid-sizer continued to grow, with a 183.8 per cent boost and 823 sold, well above the BMW 3 Series (327), Audi A4 (128) and the sub-$60,000 Mazda6 (450).

Audi outsold BMW, with 1925 total sales compared with 1732, largely thanks to the popularity of the A3 sedan and Sportback range that grew by a massive 41.2 per cent for sales of 576. The A3 even bettered the results of a number of mainstream offerings in the small segment, such as the Mitsubishi Lancer (524), Hyundai Elantra (515) and Honda Civic (375).

Other winners last month were Suzuki, up 39.9 per cent to 1609 sales thanks to a strong showing from Swift, and Isuzu Ute up by 57.4 per cent to 1141 on the back of a renewed marketing push for the rugged MU-X SUV.

European car-makers Skoda (+40.5 per cent), Renault (+32.2 per cent), Porsche (+65.8 per cent) and Mini (37.5 per cent) all experienced double-digit growth last month too.

Top selling brands January 2015
BrandSalesVariance %
Top selling models January 2015
Toyota Corolla3472
Toyota HiLux2331
Hyundai i302092
Holden Cruze1870
Ford Ranger1784
Holden Commodore1784
Mazda CX-51699
Hyundai ix351636
Holden Colorado1543

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