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VFACTS: April sales take a break

It’s back: Mazda’s CX-5 is back with a vengeance at the top of SUV sales, helping to deliver a record April for the Japanese importer.

Vehicle sales go into holiday mode with a 5.1 per cent drop in April

VFACTS logo3 May 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

THE Australian new-vehicle market missed a gear last month, with sales slipping 5.1 per cent on the corresponding month last year as buyers took a break.

More than half of the top motor companies strayed into negative territory, with some down more than 20 per cent on April 2016.

The combined industry delivered 83,135 vehicles for the month compared with 87,571 units last year, although that was still a historically strong performance.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) pointed the finger at the number of public holidays in April, with both Easter and ANZAC Day falling in the month, distracting potential buyers.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said there were two fewer selling days overall in April this year compared with that month last year.

“Added to this was the dampening effect that the holiday period had on dealership traffic as many families headed off to enjoy a final break before winter,” Mr Weber said.

Year-to-date sales are now running 10,419 units or 2.8 per cent behind last year’s tally, with the losses coming from traditional passenger cars, sales of which are down 9.2 per cent.

The industry will be hoping the sales dip is not a sign of cracks in the economy, rather an aberration caused by the holiday effect and major model changes for some high-selling models such as Hyundai’s i30.

The good news is that the light truck segment remains on song, with business buyers driving up sales of pick-ups and vans by 3.1 per cent for the month.

Toyota’s evergreen HiLux again came out on top with 3430 sales ahead of Ford’s equivalent, the Ranger, on 3120 sales.

With sales of the Hyundai i30 slumping by more than half as the Korean company makes its switch to an all-new model, the sub-$40,000 small-car segment – Australia’s biggest – slid 10.5 per cent.

Leading players in this segment, the Toyota Corolla (2555 sales) and Mazda3 (2313), were down 13.7 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively.

As ever, Toyota was the industry champion, although its 16,090 April sales tally represents a 2.9 per cent fall over April last year.

Second-placed Mazda fared better, scoring its best April with a 2.0 per cent sales gain for a monthly total of 8630 units, partly on the back of its just-released new CX-5 that, with 2166 sales, was back as Australia’s number one SUV.

Hyundai held on to third place, despite a 20.7 per cent plunge in sales, to 6850 units. This was entirely due to i30 which was caught between run-out and the introduction of the all-new model this week.

Apart from i30, Hyundai had a stellar month, with models such as Tucson (1530, +17.5%) and Elantra (452, +93.2%) pressing on.

Traditional rivals Holden and Ford are back at it again, with Holden only just eking out a two-vehicle win over Ford, 5804 to 5802, for the month.

For both of these companies, the demise of their local manufacturing operations is biting, with Holden Cruze sales down to just four, compared with 808 in April last year, and Ford’s Falcon down to seven units.

Holden’s Commodore, which remains in production until October, still accounted for about a quarter of Holden sales, despite slipping 24.5 per cent, to 1441 units.

Mitsubishi continued its renaissance with a 30.9 per cent gain in volume, to 5470 units, mainly thanks to a strong showroom performance by its ASX small SUV (1451).

Kia was another to make hay in April, with a 36.2 per cent increase in sales thanks to across-the-board gains by its mainstream models – Cerato, Sorento, Sportage, Picanto and Carnival.

Nissan is in danger of slipping from the top 10 for the first time in decades, with a 17.2 per cent sales decline in April contributing to a 14 per cent slide year to date.

Volkswagen, Kia and Subaru all out-sold the Japanese company in April and are now queuing up behind it to take its seventh spot on the sales ladder.

In the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz was the only one of the big three German brands to make positive gains, up 0.3 per cent, to 3312 units, while rivals BMW (1802 units, -26.6%) and Audi (1391, -19.4%) took hits.

Mercedes’ top-selling C-Class goes from strength to strength, with sales up a healthy 22.1 per cent to 651 units.

Top 10 selling brands April 2017
Brand Sales Variance %
Toyota 16,090 -2.9
Mazda 8630 +2.0
Hyundai 6850 -20.7
Holden 5804 -13.5
Ford 5802 -15.2
Mitsubishi 5470 +30.9
Kia 4120 +36.7
Volkswagen 3867 -18.3
Subaru 3854 +22.1
Nissan 3350 -17.2
Top 10 selling models April 2017
Model Sales
Toyota HiLux 3430
Ford Ranger 3120
Toyota Corolla 2555
Mazda3 2313
Mazda CX-5 2166
Hyundai i30 1979
Toyota Camry 1885
Holden Colorado 1824
Hyundai Tucson 1530
Kia Cerato 1490

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