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VFACTS: Holden dips to new market low

All change: Holden launched its new imported ZB Commodore last month, but it did not have either the stock or the sales traction to avoid a February sales slump.

Holden slips to eighth, but hopes to bounce back quickly with new imported models

5 Mar 2018

HOLDEN’S monthly market share slumped to a company record low of 4.9 per cent last month as it was caught in the switch to new models, including the imported ZB Commodore large sedan and Equinox medium SUV.

For the first time in its long history, the one-time market leader was ranked a lowly eighth in the monthly VFACTS national sales rankings, behind the likes of Mitsubishi, Honda and Nissan, and just in front of Volkswagen and Kia.

Holden managed just 4689 sales for the month, down 18.1 per cent on the corresponding month last year, even though the overall Australian new-vehicle market soared 7.8 per cent to 95,999 vehicles – the second best February result in history after 2016’s 96,443 units.

Holden product and brand communications senior manager Mark Flintoft said the company had been planning for a slow start to the year, and expected to bounce back quickly.

“But it’s always our aim to sell more vehicles, and our current market share is not where we want it to be,” he said.

 “That said, February’s result is unnatural in that new Commodore is only just reaching dealerships, and while Equinox inquiry and test drives are growing, we are still establishing the nameplate.

“We’re also waiting on the diesel Equinox which arrives at the end of the month. We’ve got our strongest product line-up ever, with more in the pipeline, so we expect to bounce back quickly.”

Holden managed to register just 737 Commodore sedans by the end of the month – less than half the February tally from last year when Holden sold 1566 locally built Commodores.

It was the second month in a row that Holden sales have fallen dramatically, with the brand’s January volume down 20 per cent, partly because of a shortage of Commodore stock and partly because dealerships were awash with “demonstrators” – particularly Astras – registered in December.

Holden’s new mid-sized Equinox SUV achieved only 364 sales, placing it 11th in the booming medium SUV segment that was again headed by Mazda’s CX-5 (2181).

And although light-commercial vehicles were firing in showrooms elsewhere, Holden Colorado sales were down about 20 per cent, to 1039 sales – roughly a quarter of rival HiLux’s volume.

Year-to-date, Holden sales are down 19 per cent, or 2500 units, and its market share is sitting at 5.6 per cent – down from its full-year share of 7.6 per cent in 2017.

SUVs and light-commercial vehicles were again the market drivers last month, up 12.1 and 13.3 per cent respectively on February last year, while passenger cars slipped again (-0.7%).

Market leader Toyota feasted on the buoyant market conditions, lifting its sales by 12.1 per cent to 18,281 units, to again top the tables.

Once again, its HiLux ute was crowned the number one seller in February, achieving 4426 sales – its best-ever February result and a lift of more than 1000 units compared with last year – to outdistance Ford’s similar Ranger (3544) in second place.

Mazda marked time with 9913 sales for the month – line-ball with last February’s effort – to take second place on the manufacturer’s sales ladder, ahead of Hyundai, which got back in the swing with 8001 sales – up 14.3 per cent – to take the third step on the podium.

Mitsubishi and Honda were among the big improvers in February, with Mitsubishi lifting sales 24 per cent to 7142 units and fourth place in the rankings for the month, and Honda improving 55.3 per cent year-on-year to record 4962 sales.

Strong sales of Ranger – up more than 20 per cent – and improved performances by its SUVs lifted Ford sales by 6.9 per cent, to 6059 vehicles, and fifth place in the rankings – behind Mitsubishi and ahead of Honda.

Nissan’s Navara ute – now in the middle of a model change – and X-Trail SUV played the major roles in improving the Japanese importer’s sales by 9.9 per cent, to 4863 sales.

With 4671 sales, Volkswagen came perilously close to finishing in front of Holden (4689) for the first time, but had to settle for ninth place, one step ahead of Kia (4664, +11.7%) and a typically stead Subaru (3901 units, (+4.0%).

In the luxury market, BMW and Audi made up a little ground on leader Mercedes-Benz, mainly because Mercedes-Benz Cars had a rare slip in sales, down 9.6 per cent to 2764 units.

However, Mercedes was still comfortably ahead of BMW (2010, +0.2%) and Audi (1812, +5.9%).

Top 10 selling brands February 2018
BrandSalesVariance %

Top 10 selling models February 2018
Toyota HiLux4426
Ford Ranger3544
Toyota Corolla3270
Mazda CX-52191
Hyundai i302182
Mitsubishi Triton1894
Toyota RAV41841
Hyundai Accent1782
Nissan Navara1779

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