News - VFACTS - Sales 2016
VFACTS: No election jitters in auto market
New-car sales continue at record pace despite uncertain political, economic outlook
3 Jun 2016
By TERRY MARTIN
THERE were no signs of jitteriness among Australian motor vehicle purchasers in May as prime minister Malcolm Turnbull officially announced a long, 55-day federal election campaign, with industry figures released today showing new-vehicle sales are continuing to rise – up 3.6 per cent to 96,672 units.
The latest VFACTS results defy surveys indicating that consumer and business confidence are cascading downwards in the current uncertain political and economic environment, with car companies in marketing and advertising overdrive in the run towards the end of the financial year, spruiking highly competitive deals that are keeping new-vehicle sales on record pace.
Sales among private buyers remain the weakest element in the booming marketplace, with new registrations among this cohort down 4.1 per cent last month, but this was more than offset by a surge in the business, rental and government sectors – up 13.5, 16.8 and 2.1 per cent respectively.
“Business and rental fleet buyers are strong supporters of SUVs, up 24.6 per cent and 54.0 per cent respectively on the same period last year,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber.
“In overall market terms, sales to business are up by 13.5 per cent which indicates continued value in new-car pricing.”
Overall, the market is 3.8 per cent ahead compared to the same period last year as just shy of 470,000 new vehicles have taken to the road.
Strong month-on-month growth was recorded among most of the leading brands in May, the notable exception being Holden – down 6.9 per cent to 7405 units, which kept it in fourth place and well behind Toyota (17,201, +8.0 per cent), Mazda (9608, +10.2 per cent) and Hyundai (9005, +8.9 per cent) – and Volkswagen, which managed to hold eighth place despite a 17.5 per cent fall last month to 4565 units.
Ford continued its excellent form, posting 6584 units (+9.8 per cent) to tuck in behind Holden in fifth place and keep its nose in front of Mitsubishi (6154, +0.1 per cent) and Nissan, the latter recording a massive 25.0 per cent increase over its performance 12 months earlier with 5585 sales.
This is directly attributable to the new Navara making its presence felt with 1752 sales – this time last year the 4x2 and 4x4 ute range achieved less than half that amount – and, like many other brands, a solid performance from its SUV models, with X-Trail and Qashqai accounting for more than 2500 sales combined.
Rounding out the top 10 was Subaru in ninth on 4002 units (+6.0 per cent) and Kia, which found itself back among the leading brands after delivering 3542 new vehicles last month – a rise of no less than 26.0 per cent and enough to overtake both Mercedes-Benz (3373, +22.5 per cent) and Honda (2663, -13.7 per cent).
Growth in SUVs across all segments continues unabated (+11.4 per cent last month) as light-commercials likewise push ahead (+10.6 per cent) while passenger cars continue to contract (-5.8 per cent).
That said, one passenger segment is defying the trend – small cars, which remain ‘Australia’s most wanted’ with 3.8 per cent growth last month and three of the top four biggest-selling vehicles in the marketplace.
Hyundai’s i30 was again the dominant force, attracting 3771 buyers – many of whom were clearly drawn to showrooms by the advertised $19,990 driveaway pricing with free automatic – while Toyota delivered 3333 Corollas and Mazda 3243 examples of the Mazda3.
Reflecting the strong non-private sales last month, Toyota’s HiLux ute (3675) was in second place overall, splitting i30 and Corolla, while Ford’s Ranger ute (3115) rounded out the top five.
HiLux remains ahead of the small cars in year-to-date sales terms, leading the market with 16,558 sales, although i30 (16,425), Corolla (16,117) and Mazda3 (15,976) are still barking at its back wheels.
Among the Australian-manufactured cars, Holden’s Commodore was on relatively even terms with the corresponding month last year (2255, +1.7 per cent), as was Toyota’s Camry (1446, -1.2 per cent) and the Ford Falcon, too, although 521 sales for the month (+0.2 per cent) reflects the sad state of the Blue Oval’s local production as it winds down its operations over the next few months.
The Territory SUV was ahead of Falcon, but only just – 668 units (-27.8 per cent) – while Holden’s Cruze continued to struggle against the dominant imported small cars (741, -26.9 per cent).
The biggest-selling SUV last month – once a title that Territory owned – was Mazda’s CX-5 on 2117 units (+6.9 per cent), which kept it well ahead the mid-size SUV pack, and the smaller CX-3 again led the small-SUV class (1451, +40.2 per cent). Toyota’s stalwart Prado was the top-selling large SUV (1174), despite a 13.0 per cent fall and a rush of Subaru Outback sales (1055, +18.9 per cent).
Outside small cars, the only passenger segments in positive territory last month were sportscars (+16.1 per cent) – thanks to a variety of models, including Ford’s Mustang (309) and Mazda’s MX-5 (118) – and people-movers (+27.8 per cent), which was dominated by Kia’s Carnival (460).
The micro and light passenger segments were down 23.9 and 27.7 per cent respectively, while across the board, prestige models were generally in good form and either softening overall downturns or contributing to the growth, particularly among SUVs.
Small SUV, for example, is one of the fastest-growing segments, but the 4.7 per cent increase last month was driven by the over-$40,000 class (+45.1 per cent).
One rung up, mid-size SUVs above $60,000 were up 33.5 per cent last month compared to 17.0 per cent growth among the mainstream models, while large SUVs told a similar story, the luxury models (over $70,000) up 17.1 per cent against the mainstream ones at 4.2 per cent.
Take out light-commercials vehicles and Mercedes-Benz (2935) was still ahead of BMW (2565) and Audi (2002) last month, although all three dominant German prestige brands are enjoying another year of substantial growth.
Overall, Mercedes sales are up 17.6 per cent year to date with 16,739 units – enough to keep it in among the top 10 brands YTD – while BMW, which is in the midst of a massive model renewal program, is up 27.7 per cent so far this year (to 12,499 units) and Audi is 8.3 per cent ahead (9888).
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