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VFACTS: Ford Ranger outguns HiLux

Hard sell: Ford’s Ranger FX4 special edition helped to propel the Australian-developed ute to the top of the vehicle sales charts last month.

Battle of the utes keeps Australian vehicle market buoyant in September

4 Oct 2017

FORD’S Australian-developed Ranger ute outsold the market-leading Toyota HiLux last month to top the Australian new-vehicle sales ladder in September, according to official VFACTS data released today.

Ranger achieved 4318 sales – up a handy 48.7 per cent on the same month last year for its best-ever September result – to outpace the HiLux, even though Toyota’s reigning champion also experienced a 19.1 per cent sales lift, to 3822 sales.

The battle of the big pick-ups helped to lift light-commercial vehicle sales by 8.1 per cent, but even that could not save the overall market from a 2.4 per cent fall as passenger cars and SUVs sales dropped by 9.3 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

Despite mixed fortunes in the market, the overall sales tally still managed a healthy 100,200 units, making last month the third best September on record.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said: “Any month over 100,000 total sales has to be seen as a strong outcome, proving there is continued value for the consumer in the market.”“To keep this outcome in perspective, it has to be remembered that the September results of 2015 and 2016 were both very strong, and both those years ended in records.”

Year to date, the market still has its nose in front of 2016, up 0.2 per cent, and seemingly destined to break the million-sales mark again.

But with SUV sales slipping backwards by 1.3 per cent in September, the question on many car company executives’ lips will be: Has the breakneck growth of these family friendly wagons peaked?

Small and medium SUV sales are still motoring along, but large SUV volumes have slipped a notch, down 12.5 per cent in September.

Brand wise, long-time market leader Toyota continued its reign at number one last month, selling 17,377 vehicles – up 4.0 per cent – as it prepares for life after local manufacturing.

Toyota’s locally built Camry which ceased Australian production in recent days was one of three models from the dominant Japanese company to score a place in the top 10 – in seventh position with 2251 sales – along with second-placed HiLux and third-placed Corolla.

While Toyota surged on regardless at the top, would-be challengers Mazda and Hyundai slipped backwards, mainly because they could not replicate the massive sales tallies they achieved in September last year.

With 10,328 units, Mazda sales were down 14.0 per cent on the corresponding month last year, while Hyundai’s 8130 units represented a 12.8 fall.

Fellow importer Mitsubishi rode a 5.4 per cent sales rise – mostly from its SUVs such as Outlander and ASX – to hit 7065 sales and leapfrog both Holden and Ford into fourth place.

Once again, Holden was the whipping boy of the market, its sales plummeting 19.6 per cent to 6882 units as products such as the Colorado struggled.

Scarily for Holden, the locally built Commodore sedan and ute, which go out of production this month, made up 43 per cent of all Holden sales in September.

Despite Ranger’s dominance in the one-tonne ute segment last month, Ford’s overall sales retreated 6.0 per cent as sales of the discontinued Falcon and Territory continue to dry up.

Year to date, Ranger’s 4x4 variant leads the equivalent HiLux, 28,026 to 26,039, but Hilux’s supremacy in workhorse 4x2 sales gives the big Toyota the overall upper hand, 35,229 to 32,620 YTD.

Driveaway deals on Ranger – including a limited-edition FX4 special – have helped to entice buyers into Ford showrooms where Ranger now accounts for 63 per cent of all Blue Oval sales.

Ford Australia sales director Greg Davidson said Ford was immensely proud of the locally designed and engineered Ranger that had been guided by local customer feedback into “extremely liveable everyday vehicles”.

The biggest gain of the top 10 companies was by Kia whose sales gained 26.4 per cent, to 4662 units, to nail its best September sales result on record.

Volkswagen (4901), Subaru (4641) and Honda (4393) also made gains over 2016.

In the luxury car market, Mercedes-Benz continued to forge ahead of its rivals, with sales of its cars taking the escalator to the tune of 24.2 per cent, to 3922 sales.

By comparison, BMW (-21.3%), Audi (-13.7%), Jaguar (-48.3%), Lexus (-9.0%) and Volvo (-35.2%) all continued their decline in 2016.

Top 10 selling brands September 2017
BrandSalesVariance %

Top 10 selling models September 2017
Ford Ranger4318
Toyota HiLux3822
Toyota Corolla3055
Holden Commodore2547
Hyundai i302300
Toyota Camry2251
Hyundai Tucson2220
Mitsubishi Outlander2021
Mazda CX-51910

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