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VFACTS: Mitsubishi pips Mazda in March

On a roll: Mitsubishi’s Outlander was one of its big contributors to a big March sales performance for the brand.

Mitsubishi races up sales charts into second place with big March push

3 Apr 2019

MITSUBISHI has continued its charge up the vehicle sales ladder, ousting Mazda from second place last month.
Ranked fourth last year, the revitalised Japanese brand achieved a company March record 10,135 sales – a jump of 15 per cent – compared with Mazda’s 9618 vehicles (-1.1 per cent), to take the runner-up position behind Toyota for the first time.
But while Mitsubishi is popping the champagne, official VFACTS vehicles sales figures for March show that Holden slid to a company record low 10th place last month, behind the likes of Volkswagen and Honda.
However, the former number one motor company is pointing to an uptick in sales of its SUVs and Colorado ute as a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as its sales continue to plummet in Australia.
Holden’s monthly sales tally of 3833 vehicles represented a drop of 25.1 per cent on the same month last year, with its once-dominant Commodore large car and Astra small car the main offenders. Commodore sales were down 57.3 per cent, to just 423 units, while the Astra slid 51.4 per cent, to 440 sales.
Holden was not helped by an overall malaise in the market, with national sales down 7.1 per cent, to 99,442 vehicles.
For the first time, three light-commercial vehicles – Toyota’s HiLux (4527 sales), Ford’s Ranger (3721) and Mitsubishi’s Triton (2666) sat atop the sales ladder.
Long-time leader Toyota again dominated with 17,298 sales – a fall of 8.4 per cent on March last year. 
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said current economic conditions had contributed to the market’s position.
“We are seeing a cautious consumer approach at the moment, and this is not surprising given the number of economic headwinds in the Australian market,” he said.
After three months of the year, industry sales are 7.9 per cent behind 2018.
Mitsubishi was the biggest winner among the mainstream marques, with an across-the-range push for extra volume, led by the Outlander and Pajero Sport. Even the ageing Lancer, Mirage and Pajero all found a little extra to contribute to the tally.
For Holden, a hefty advertising blitz focusing on its SUV range appears to have had some effect, with sales of the Equinox and Trailblazer lifting by 22.3 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
The Colorado pick-up also lifted, at least in its 4x4 guise, sales of which jumped 20.3 per cent on the corresponding month of 2018.
However, these gains were more than offset by a 60 per cent slump in Holden passenger car sales. Not only are Commodore and Astra continuing to suffer, but the axing of the Korean-made Barina and Spark from the line-up is adding further pain.
Industry passenger car sales were down almost 20 per cent in March, with only three such vehicles – Mazda3 (2642), Toyota Corolla (2414) and Hyundai i30 (2402) – making it into the top 10.
Although Mazda was knocked out of second place by Mitsubishi in overall sales, Mazda had bragging rights in two major segments, with its Mazda3 topping passenger car sales and its CX-5 again the nation’s best-selling SUVs.
The SUV segment was again major segment to remain ahead of the game, but only just (+0.3 per cent). With a 45.9 per cent sale of national sales in March, SUV sales are coming perilously close to one in every two vehicle deals in Australia.
Despite the dominance of pick-ups in the vehicle sales charts, LCV sales were down 1.9 per cent for the month.
Along with Mitsubishi, the only brand in the top 10 to record a sales gain in March was Kia, which added an extra 4.3 per cent to its month volume (5303) to finish in sixth place.
Kia is running at record pace again this year, with its Cerato small car leading the charge. The Cerato slipped into the top 10 with 1873 sales.
Hyundai and Ford – fourth and fifth respectively on the ladder – recorded sales drops roughly in line with the overall industry fall.
Apart from Holden, the biggest declines recorded by the major operators were a 17.4 per cent slip by seventh-placed Nissan (5115) and 22.4 per cent slide by ninth-placed Honda (4335).

Top 10 selling brands March 2019

Ranking Brand Sales Variance%
1 Toyota 17,298 -8.4
2 Mitsubishi 10,135 +15.0
3 Mazda 9618 -1.1
4 Hyundai 7731 -8.4
5 Ford 6160 -7.9
6 Kia 5303 +4.3
7 Nissan 5115 -17.4
8 Volkswagen 4682 -8.9
9 Honda 4335 -22.4
10 Holden 3833 -25.1

Top 10 selling models March 2019

Ranking Make/Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 4527
2 Ford Ranger 3721
3 Mistubishi Triton 2666
4 Mazda3 2642
5 Toyota Corolla 2499
6 Mazda CX-5 2414
7 Hyundai i30 2402
8 Mitsubishi ASX 2236
9 Mitsubishi Outlander 2067
10 Kia Cerato 1873

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