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VFACTS: SUVs lead record market in 2017

Hi top: The Toyota HiLux was the best-selling model in Australia for the second consecutive year, but Ford’s Ranger is not far behind.

SUVs outpace passenger cars in 2017, but pick-ups dominate top of sales charts

4 Jan 2018

SUVS are officially more popular than traditional passenger cars, with high-riding wagons finally outselling sedans, wagons and hatchbacks in 2017, according to VFACTS sales figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) today.

The growth in SUVs helped to drive overall new-vehicle sales to a record 1,189,116 units last year, up 0.9 per cent over 2016 and marking the fourth record in five years and the eighth consecutive year of million-plus sales.

For the first time, SUVs led the market with 465,646 sales, equating to a 39.2 per cent market share and an increase of 5.6 per cent.

Passenger cars continued to slide, down 7.5 per cent for the year with 450,012 sales or a 37.8 per cent share.

Despite the country’s love of SUVs, Toyota’s HiLux pick-up retained its place as Australia’s favourite model for a second consecutive year, boosting its overall sales to a record 47,093 units, up 11.8 per cent over 2016.

Ford’s locally developed Ranger is now within striking distance of the HiLux after leapfrogging the Toyota Corolla into second place on the best-selling models chart, with the locally developed Ford also notching record of 42,728 units, up 15.7 per cent on 2016.

While SUVs recorded significant growth last year, light-commercial vehicles (LCV) achieved even great growth, up 8.6 per cent for a 19.9 per cent share of the overall market.

One-tonne pick-ups made up 88 per cent of LCV sales, with 4x4 pick-ups – popular with tradies and, increasingly, families – leading the way with 165,797 sales.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said the fierce competition in the market between car-makers helped push monthly sales to record sales last year.

“Clearly, Australian consumers recognise the value for money that is on offer in the new vehicle market, and responded accordingly,” he said.

“To have eight record months out of 12 in 2017 speaks volumes for how brands successfully placed new products and incentives into the market which kept attracting buyers into the showrooms right through the year.” Toyota again took top honours as Australia’s best-selling automotive brand, leading the market with 216,566 sales, a 3.3 per cent boost over 2016.

The haul was Toyota’s highest since 2012 and marked the 21st time the company led the new-vehicle market, including the past 15 years in a row.

Corolla was again Australia’s best-selling passenger car, despite a 7.4 per cent sales decline last year.

Sales of the Toyota Camry – in its final year as an Australian-built model – dropped by 10.8 per cent but Australia’s best-selling mid-size sedan held on to a top 10 spot, finishing ninth.

Mazda came second in the rankings, with the Hiroshima-based car-maker nabbing 116,349 sales, just 1.6 per cent ahead of its 2016 registrations.

Its CX-5 retained its title as Australia’s favourite SUV, and finished sixth overall with a 5.2 per cent, thanks to interest in the new-generation model.

The Mazda3 hatch and sedan dipped nearly 10 per cent, but replaced the Hyundai i30 in fourth place.

Hyundai sales slid 4.5 per cent, with the 23.8 per cent drop for the new-generation i30 having an impact in the South Korean car-maker’s tally.

Holden held on to fourth spot overall last year, down by 4.2 per cent, after finishing the year with a massive December haul of 12,179 units, 57.7 per cent ahead of December 2016.

The Commodore was Holden’s best seller, in eighth position, but 2017 marked the end of Australian production before the model becomes an imported mid-size liftback and wagon when it arrives in February.

Mitsubishi continued its strong performance, overtaking Ford to land in fifth place overall (80,654, +9.9%), largely on the back of interest in its Triton pick-up that was the tenth best seller overall last year, as well as the ASX and Outlander SUVs.

Ford sales dropped 3.8 per cent to 78,161, pushing it out of the top five, despite record sales of its Ranger pick-up.

The Ranger made up 55 per cent of Ford’s sales in 2016, with the Mustang sportscar the second most popular Ford (9165).

The Blue Oval finally ran out of stock of the Falcon, more than a year after local production ended with zero sales in December. Some stock of the Territory SUV remained, with four sales recorded last month.

Volkswagen’s 2.4 per cent growth pushed it up to seventh spot, while Nissan continued its sales decline, dropping 15.3 per cent – the biggest drop of any of the top 10 makes.

Bullish South Korean car-maker Kia continued its strong form, with its sales growing 28.3 per cent last year, to 54,737 – the first time it has exceeded 50,000 sales in Australia.

This was enough to push Subaru to 10th place despite its own sales increase of 11.7 per cent over 2016.

Honda just missed out on a top 10 placing with 46,783, while Mercedes-Benz passenger car and vans sales put it in 12th spot overall.

Top 10 selling models 2017
ModelSalesVariance %
Toyota HiLux47,093+11.8
Ford Ranger42,728+15.7
Toyota Corolla37,353-7.4
Hyundai i3028,780-23.8
Mazda CX-525,831+5.2
Hyundai Tucson23,828+18.4
Holden Commodore23,676-8.4
Toyota Camry23,620-10.8
Mitsubishi Triton23,605+7.8
Top 10 selling brands 2017
BrandSalesVariance %

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