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VFACTS: Toyota HiLux tops the tables

Hi riser: Long Australia’s best-selling light truck, the Toyota’s HiLux, has gone one better to top all vehicle sales in 2016.

Rise of the utes complete as Toyota HiLux takes 2016 vehicle sales crown

5 Jan 2017

IT’S official – Australia’s favourite car is a ute.

For the first time in history, something other than a passenger car took the annual sales crown as Toyota’s HiLux edged its stablemate and reigning champion, the Corolla small car, into second place for a Toyota quinella in 2016.

No fewer than three Thai-built one-tonne light trucks – the HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton – made the sales top 10, helping to drive the Australian new-vehicle market to a record 1,178,133 units, according to official VFACTS figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) today.

This was up 2.0 per cent on the previous record of 1,155,408 vehicles set in 2015, thus continuing the Australian motor industry’s post-GFC boom with seven successive million-plus sales years.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said the market was going through a significant and dynamic transition.

“While buyer demand for traditional passenger cars remains healthy, it’s clear consumers are gradually transitioning into other segments,” he said.

With a record 206,610 sales – up 1.6 per cent on 2015 – Toyota claimed the market crown for the 14th year in succession, at the same time eclipsing the 200,000 sales mark for the fifth year in a row.

Second-placed Mazda also enjoyed record sales of 118,217 units, up 3.7 per cent, to open up a gap over third-placed Hyundai which marked time with 101,555 sales in the year ending December 31.

Despite a 5.8 per cent fall in private vehicle sales in 2016, strong business fleet sales more than made up for the shortfall, growing the overall market.

Those darlings of suburban families, the SUVs, also continued their rise, growing 8.0 per cent and accounting for a record 37.4 per cent share of the market at the expense of traditional sedans and hatchbacks, sales of which fell 5.7 per cent.

But it was a light truck that topped the annual sales charts in Australia, although the HiLux has long been one of Australia’s strong sellers, heading light-commercial vehicle sales ranks for years.

The rise of the one-tonne pick-up has been driven by its transformation from a workhorse to an all-rounder favoured by businesses, tradies and weekend warriors alike.

Sales of these vehicles rose about nine per cent last year, with the 4x4 twin-cab variety dominating.

Ironically, HiLux’s 2016 sales tally of 42,104 units is well below its best annual performance. That came in the pre-GFC boom market of 2008 when the rugged little truck garnered almost 48,000 new owners.

However, a major facelift helped HiLux surge in 2016, rising to the top as traditional cars fell away in a highly competitive, splintered marker place.

Holden’s sales slide continued in 2016 as its locally-built Commodore – once a former number one seller – slipped a further 6.9 per cent, helping to drag GM's Australian sales down by 8.4 per cent, to fourth position on the sales ladder.

However, fierce rival Ford managed to reverse its decline, mainly on the back of its locally-designed Ranger and its SUV spin-off, the Everest. Ford’s 81,207 units represented a gain of 6.5 per cent.

Ranger continues to be one of the revelations of the industry, achieving a record 36,934 sales to claim fourth place overall, behind HiLux, Corolla and Hyundai i30. It is also gaining on HiLux in the light truck segment, finishing the year just 5170 units behind.

However, the danger for Ford is that it is now heavily reliant on Ranger and Everest which, in 2016, made up more than half of its sales as its traditional sales leader, the Falcon, bowed out of local manufacturing.

Mazda continued its successful run, helped by the impressive run of its CX-5 that claimed the top-selling SUV crown and finished eighth overall.

However, its former champ, the Mazda3 took a dip, down 6.6 per cent to 36,107 units for fifth place behind Ranger.

Hyundai’s rampant growth in recent years faltered in 2016, even though its ageing i30 small car charged ahead, recording 37,772 sales (+16.9%). That car is due for a replacement this year – a move that Hyundai hopes will maintain its upwards charge.

Kia jumped into the top 10 for the first time, its sales soaring 26.5 per cent to a company record 42,668.

Honda missed out on 10th place this year, even though it edged up 1.8 per cent to 40,838 sales.

Top 10 selling models 2016
Model Sales Variance %
Toyota HiLux 42,104 +19
Toyota Corolla 40,330 -4.1
Hyundai i30 37,772 +16.9
Ford Ranger 36,934 +24.6
Mazda3 36,107 -6.6
Toyota Camry 26,485 -4.2
Holden Commodore 25,860 -6.9
Mazda CX-5 24,564 -2.3
Mitsubishi Triton 21,897 -8.7
Hyundai Tucson 20,132 +273.5
Top 10 selling brands 2016
Brand Sales Variance %
Toyota 209,610 +1.6
Mazda 118,217 +3.7
Hyundai 101,555 -0.4
Holden 94,308 -8.4
Ford 81,207 +15.3
Mitsubishi 73,368 +2.3
Nissan 66,826 +1.2
Volkswagen 56,571 -6.1
Subaru 47,018 +7.8
Kia 42,668 +26.5

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