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VFACTS: 2019 downturn continues with slow February

Beaut ute: Mitsubishi’s Triton played a large part in ensuring growth in the LCV segment for February.

February new-vehicle sales down 9.3 per cent as economy downturn is felt

5 Mar 2019

AUSTRALIA’S new-vehicle sales slide continued into February with a 9.3 per cent reduction compared to the corresponding month last year, according to VFACTS figures released today.
The 87,102 sales recorded last month marked the lowest February figure in five years, when 86,818 sales were registered in 2014.
Every major segment bar light-commercial vehicles were down, with passenger cars taking the biggest hit with a 16.8 per cent fall. SUVs were down 5.7 per cent, while heavy-commercial vehicles remained relatively steady with a 0.1 per cent slip.
LCVs experienced a 0.4 per cent uptick thanks largely to Mitsubishi and its Triton, which was heavily updated in January and registered 3155 sales last month, up from 1894 in February 2018 (+66.6%) and enough for third place overall across the entire market.
Mitsubishi also finished third overall for the month, deferring only to Toyota and Mazda, while the difference between Volkswagen in seventh and Holden clinging on to 10th position was just 242 units.
Combined with January, which saw the industry’s overall sales down 7.4 per cent, the February result now sees the market down 8.4 per cent after the first two months of trading.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said the nationwide economic downturn was being felt across the sector.
“Given the current challenging economic conditions, including a downturn in the housing market,
the automotive industry is not surprised by the slower start to the year,” he said.
As befitting the only segment to experience an increase, LCVs led the charge in February, headed by the Toyota HiLux, which was the top-selling model across all categories with 4431 units – up 0.1 per cent year-on-year.
Next up was the Ford Ranger with 3377 sales, enough for second place overall despite a 4.7 per cent skid compared to last February, while the Triton did a ‘Bradbury’ to push past high-volume passenger cars and SUVs and finish on the podium.
This time last year Triton was in seventh position on the table, with its latest result due largely to an impressive 2935 4x4 sales, up 79.6 per cent for the month, brought with the updated model and the runout of the previous series.
The Mazda3 small car and Mazda’s CX-5 medium SUV rounded out the top five with 2655 and 2357 sales respectively. The Mazda3 dipped 9.5 per cent, while the CX-5 experienced a 7.6 per cent rise.
Toyota’s Corolla is not often missing from the top three models, let alone the top five, but was last month forced to settle for seventh, its 2070 sales representing a 36.7 per cent fall.
It was also outsold by Mitsubishi’s evergreen ASX, which piled on 2122 sales for a stunning 135.3 per cent increase.
Toyota remains the dominant force in the market overall, but last month experienced a 10.5 per cent downturn with 16,359 units after holding on to a position of growth last month, and for 2018 overall.
Apart from the prolific HiLux, Toyota was supported by the Prado large SUV (1569, +17.1%) and LandCruiser wagon variants (1804, +0.9%), but other key SUVs were down, such as the RAV4 – now in runout – on 1639 sales (-11.0%), Kluger (1000, -29.6%) and C-HR (719, -0.8%).
Mazda finished second overall with 9235 sales (-6.8%), while Mitsubishi racked up 8495 sales overall for third place, up 18.9 per cent.
Hyundai was forced to settle for fourth with 6429 sales (-19.6%), with the i30 hatchback its only entrant into the overall top 10 model list with 1929 sales, down 11.6 per cent. Its stable of SUVs consisting of Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe disappointed with a combined 20.7 per cent skid.
Rounding out the top five was Ford with 5678 sales (-6.3%). Apart from Ranger, Mustang was the only other model from the Blue Oval brand to crack 500 sales, with 500 on the dot (+1.6%).
Kia finished sixth with 4856 units (+4.1%), with the Cerato small car (1568, +5.2%) and Sportage medium SUV (1153, -0.4%) doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.
You could throw a blanket over the rest of the top 10 brands, namely Volkswagen (4067, -12.9 per cent), Nissan (3923, -19.3 per cent), Honda (3865, -22.1 per cent) and Holden (3825, -18.4 per cent).
Of the luxury manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz Cars recorded the strongest February result with 2615 units (-5.4%), ahead of German rivals BMW (1847, -8.1%) and Audi (1182, -34.8%).


Top 10 selling brands February 2019

Ranking Brand Sales Variance%
1 Toyota 16,359 -10.5
2 Mazda 9235 -6.8
3 Mitsubishi 8495 +18.9
4 Hyundai 6429 -19.6
5 Ford 5678 -6.3
6 Kia 4856 +4.1
7 Volkswagen 4067 -12.9
8 Nissan 3923 -19.3
9 Honda 3865 -22.1
10 Holden 3825 -18.4


Top 10 selling models February 2019

Ranking Make/Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 4431
2 Ford Ranger 3377
3 Mitsubishi Triton 3155
4 Mazda3 2655
5 Mazda CX-5 2357
6 Mitsubishi ASX 2122
7 Toyota Corolla 2070
8 Hyundai i30 1929
9 Toyota LandCruiser wagon 1804
10 Toyota RAV4 1639

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