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VFACTS: Holden falls to 10th

Up and down: While the Commodore appears to have been seriously impacted by the change from Australian to European sourcing, the Toyota Camry’s (left) sales decline has been less dramatic.

Holden’s top-10 status threatened as new Commodore and Equinox sales stutter

VFACTS logo5 Apr 2018

By TIM NICHOLSON

GM HOLDEN came close to slipping out of the Australian top 10 best-selling automotive brands for the first time in its history last month when it was outpaced by Honda, Subaru and Volkswagen.

Official VFACTS figures released today show that Holden recorded 5116 sales last month, a 29.1 per cent drop on March 2017, with all but two of its models – the Astra and Spark – in negative territory.

While the Commodore found 990 homes, the all-new German-built version made up just 516 units, with remaining stock of the Australian-made VF II Commodore that ended production in October accounting for the remaining 474.

In the first full month of sales for the new model, the overall Commodore result was 52.4 per cent off March last year.

Holden has previously said that it was not expecting the new imported Commodore to equal the sales of the locally built version, which averaged about 1500-2500 sales a month in the last years of the VF.

However, the company has launched the new Commodore with an aggressive marketing campaign, promoting the new range with a seven-year warranty and seven years of roadside assist for a limited time.

The Equinox is also being offered with the seven-year deal, but the Holden recorded just 327 sales last month in the second-largest segment in Australia’s new-vehicle market.

It was outpaced by Ford’s slow-selling Escape (398 sales) and Renault’s Koleos (332), and easily beaten by the big hitters including the Nissan X-Trail (2504), Toyota RAV4 (1952) and Honda’s resurgent CR-V (1683).

While Holden was ranked 10th in March, its first quarter sales 15,524 vehicles – has it in seventh place year to date, with Honda snapping at its heels with 15,129 sales.

Overall the market was up 1.5 per cent in March, to 106,988, while year-to-date sales are at 291,538 – 4.4 per cent up on quarter one 2017.

SUV sales continued to surge, up 9.7 per cent for the month, outpacing passenger-car sales (-7.3%), while light-commercial vehicles experienced a rare downturn of 0.4 per cent.

Year to date, SUVs have outsold passenger cars by more than 20,000 units.

Market leader Toyota’s sales dropped by 3.9 per cent, as two of its biggest sellers, the Corolla (-10%), and Camry (-39.4%) took a hit last month. The demise of the locally made Aurion did not help, either.

The Camry’s dip comes as Toyota switches to Japanese sourcing after closing its Australian plant, but the impact does not appear to be as dramatic as the effect on Holden as it makes a similar switch with Commodore.

Of the 1416 Camrys sold last month, just 218 were leftover Australian-built cars.

The HiLux was Australia’s favourite vehicle last month, with a haul of 4348 units (+2.4%), keeping the Ford Ranger in second place (4064 sales, +5.7%).

Mazda sales dipped 7.2 per cent, with its popular SUVs – the CX-3 and CX-9 – having a slow month, down 15.3 and 17.4 per cent respectively.

Mitsubishi had a record March, with sales up 16.2 per cent on the back of strong interest in the ASX (+68.9%) and Triton (+16.4%).

The performance was enough for Mitsubishi to overtake Hyundai for the month.

The Korean car-maker’s sales dipped 3.0 per cent last month, but its i30 small car finally started to fire, recording a sales increase of 14.1 per cent, enough to make it Australia’s sixth best-selling vehicle.

Sales increases for the Ranger, Mustang, Transit and Everest could not keep Ford in positive territory (-2.4%), but Nissan finally started to claw back lost ground after cutting its passenger-car line-up in the past three years.

The Japanese car-maker’s sales grew 10.2 per cent last month, with big increases for Pathfinder, X-Trail and Patrol, while sales of the freshly updated Navara dropped by double-digit percentage points.

The biggest winner last month was Honda, with sales soaring 79.8 per cent compared to last March. All of its models with the exception of Accord (-39.8%) recorded significant growth.

CR-V sales were up a whopping 241 per cent due to strong interest in the new-gen model, as well as low sales of the previous model this time last year, while the Jazz (907) was the third best-selling light car behind the Hyundai Accent (1551) and Mazda2 (947).

Subaru (+3.8%) and Volkswagen (+0.4%) grabbed eighth and ninth places respectively, both edging out Holden.

Of the premium brands, Mercedes-Benz dipped 5.4 per cent following drops for the C-Class (-25.6%) and E-Class (-50.5%), while Audi regained some ground, increasing its sales by 23.3 per cent. BMW sales also grew slightly, by 0.4 per cent.

Top 10 selling brands March 2018
BrandSalesVariance %
Toyota18,878-3.9
Mazda9723-7.2
Mitsubishi8810+16.2
Hyundai8443-3.0
Ford6687-2.4
Nissan6191+10.2
Honda5586+79.8
Subaru5195+3.8
Volkswagen5137+0.4
Holden5116-29.1


Top 10 selling models March 2018
ModelSales
Toyota HiLux4348
Ford Ranger4064
Toyota Corolla3218
Mitsubishi Triton3109
Mazda32780
Hyundai i302719
Nissan X-Trail2504
Mitsubishi ASX2337
Mazda CX-52261
Toyota RAV41952

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