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VFACTS: Holden slides out of the top 10

Down down: Holden’s SUV and ute sales could not make up for big drops in sales of passenger cars such as the Commodore as the former market-leading manufacturer slipped out of the top 10 for the first time.

Holden dominance a memory as former manufacturer sheds half its sales in two years

3 Oct 2019

HOLDEN’S slide as a dominant force in the Australian motor industry continued last month when it finished outside the top 10 in monthly national sales volume for the first time.


Selling 2863 vehicles in September – a drop of 38.4 per cent on the corresponding month last year – Holden managed a market share of just 3.2 per cent, putting it behind the likes of Subaru and Honda, despite a hefty advertising campaign spruiking its SUV line-up.


The former number-one manufacturer’s year-to-date market share now sits at 4.2 per cent – more than two percentage points below its 2018 full-year share of 5.3 per cent.


It is still sitting in ninth place in the YTD rankings with 34,215 sales, but it is only five units ahead of Honda (34,210) with three months of the year to go.


So far this year, Holden has lost 11,329 sales to the end of September, compared with the same nine months of last year – a drop of 24.9 per cent.


This means it has shed half its sales since it stopped making cars in Australia in October 2017.


In a statement, Holden described the result as disappointing and “clearly not where we want to be”.


“A couple of factors contributed, including delays in delivering several batches of Colorados to fleet and rental customers, and a significant sell-down of dealer demonstrator inventory as a result of our demonstrator clearance sale,” it said.


“We are bringing forward a number of sales initiatives for the remainder of the year and will be working hard to improve our position in what is an intensely competitive market.”


The overall market also dropped in September, down 6.9 per cent to 88,181 vehicles, extending the industry’s downward trend to 18 months.


The market is now sitting 7.9 per cent below last year’s level at this time, despite a small lift in SUV sales last month.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said it was clear the slower sales rate was in line with the broader economic environment in Australia.


“Of particular concern to the industry is the restrictive regulatory lending conditions currently facing consumers,” he said. “The question has to be asked – are these results telling us we have made it too difficult for people to finance basic purchases in today’s Australia?”


Despite that fact that three popular utes topped the September sales charts – the Toyota HiLux (3364), Ford Ranger (3116) and Mitsubishi Triton (3001) – overall light-commercial vehicle sales took a 5.4 per cent hit compared with the same months last year.


Along with a 9.6 per cent drop in heavy-commercial vehicle sales, this slump in mainly business sales is the canary in the coal mine that the Australian government will not want to hear.


Toyota continued its reign at the top of the sales leader board, unloading 15,166 vehicles in September – a drop of 12.8 per cent on September last year.


Mitsubishi was one of the big winners, increasing its September sales by 17.9 per cent to take second place with 8990 sales.


The icing on the cake for the Japanese importer was to see three of its models – the Triton ute, ASX small SUV and Outlander mid-sized SUV – all make it into the top 10.


Mazda also made something of a comeback last month, scoring third place with a 15.5 per cent lift in sales, to 8168 units. This performance was helped by a big lift in CX-5 sales, up 56.4 per cent to 2355 vehicles for the month.


Hyundai’s slide down the rankings continued last month when it came fourth with 7245 sales – a drop of 10.7 per cent.


Its Korean stablemate, Kia, headed the other way, up 2.5 per cent for 5128 sales and fifth place for the month.


Nissan, Volkswagen, Subaru and Honda also lost sales but made it into the top 10 because Holden lost more.


Even Mercedes-Benz sold more vehicles than Holden in Australia last month – 3220 – if passenger cars and vans are combined.


Holden’s main breadwinner, the Colorado ute, performed best, holding up its end of the deal with 1216 sales – slightly down on the same month last year.


Holden’s SUV range, including the Equinox, Acadia and Trailblazer all responded to Holden’s big advertising campaign, but they could not make up for the plummeting sales of Astra (-86.6%) as Holden runs out its Opel-built small car.


Another of the Opel-sourced models, the Commodore, slipped a further 37.6 per cent to record 419 sales for the month.


Top 10 selling brands September 2019

Ranking Brand Sales Variance%
1 Toyota 15,166 -12.8
2 Mitsubishi 8990 +17.9
3 Mazda 8168 +15.5
4 Hyundai 7245 -10.7
5 Kia 5128 +2.5
6 Ford 4783 -5.9
7 Nissan 4651 -10.0
8 Volkswagen 3816 -18.7
9 Subaru 3505 -26.4
10 Honda 3404 -24.8

Top 10 selling models September 2019

Ranking Make/Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 3364
2 Ford Ranger 3116
3 Mitsubishi Triton 3001
4 Hyundai i30 2447
5 Mitsubishi ASX 2419
6 Mazda CX-5 2355
7 Toyota Corolla 2219
8 Kia Cerato 2022
9 Nissan X-Trail 1760
10 Mitsubishi Outlander 1731


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