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VFACTS: Car market chugs to magic million

Down: Holden’s best-selling Commodore large car started 2014 on a high note, but it has slipped a gear as the economy weakens.

Softening sales cast shadow on fifth successive million-unit new-vehicle market

VFACTS logo3 Dec 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

AUSTRALIA’S new-car industry has eclipsed the one-million sales mark for the fifth year in a row despite a softening market, particularly among local manufacturers.

Official November VFACTS figures show sales of Holden and Ford vehicles plunged more than a quarter last month, while market leader Toyota’s sales dipped 11.6 per cent compared with the same month in 2013.

Among the big winners in November were Japanese importer Mitsubishi, with sales up 37.3 per cent, and the German prestige brands, with Mercedes-Benz setting a company sales record for the second month in succession with a 32.6 per cent jump to 3369 units, placing it in the top 10.

The industry achieved 92,232 vehicles sales last month – a drop of 4.8 per cent on the corresponding month of 2013.

This took the 2014 tally to 1,016,421, crossing the million-unit barrier with one month to spare. However, this is 2.2 per cent down on the first 11 months of last year.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is blaming a softening economy.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said that while this was affecting sales in all states and territories, sales fell significantly in the mining states of Queensland and Western Australia, with sales down 8.5 per cent and 9.6 per cent respectively.

By comparison, sales in Victoria were down 4.6 per cent and by just 0.3 per cent in New South Wales.

The race for Australia’s top-selling car crown tightened in November, with Mazda’s Mazda3 topping the monthly sales with 3499 units compared with Toyota Corolla’s 3264 sales.

This narrowed Corolla’s lead to 1379 units – 40,889 to Mazda3’s 39,510 – with four weeks to go.

Perennial market leader Toyota took an 11.6 per cent hit last month, with sales of its vehicles slipping from 18,098 units in November last year to 15,995 units last month.

106 center imageFrom top: Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Toyota HiLux.Year to date, its sales are down 5.4 per cent, to 184,486 sales, but it should still manage to pass the 200,000 barrier by December 31.

Hyundai – one of only three top 10 manufacturers to make gains in November – came second behind Toyota with 8600 sales, representing a company November record and a rise of 0.8 per cent.

Despite a good performance by its top-selling Mazda3, Mazda edged down 3.5 per cent, to 8106 vehicles, to take third place.

Holden was one of the big losers for the month, down 25.1 per cent to 7849 vehicles. The downturn was led by its top-selling locally made large car, the Commodore, sales of which dived 29 per cent year on year.

Worse for Holden, sales of most of its other top-sellers, including Cruze, Captiva and Barina were all in decline, with only the Korean-built Trax small SUV making significant headway.

Year to date, Holden sales are down in line with the overall market, to 98,340 sales.

Arch rival Ford’s sales are down 8.2 per cent for the year, with November’s tally down a hefty 26.2 per cent, to 5843 sales.

Ford’s excuse is that it was in the last month of its Falcon and Territory run-out ahead of facelifted models due in showrooms on December 1.

Falcon sales in November amounted to just 411 units – a historically shocking number that represents a 66.5 per cent slide on November 2013.

Territory was marginally better, down 57.1 per cent, to 679 sales.

Among the winners in November was Mitsubishi on the back of its discounted run-out Triton and well-priced ASX small SUV, both of which made it into the top 10 sellers for the month.

Mitsubishi sales climbed 37.3 per cent for the month, to 7067 sales, elevating it to fifth place on the sales ladder, ahead of Ford.

The ASX’s record 1763 sales made it the top-selling SUV in the land for the month, ahead of Hyundai ix35 (1697) and Mazda CX5 (1617).

The other big market climber, Mercedes-Benz, has made another appearance in the top 10, thanks to the arrival in showrooms of its all-new C-Class that achieved 817 sales for the month – about double the tally of the outgoing Ford Falcon.

Mercedes sales are up 16.4 per cent year to date, to 29,206, well within sight of the 30,000 mark for the first time.

Rival BMW’s sales hit the 2000 unit point in November, up 16.3 per cent, to edge its 2014 sales gains out to 11.2 per cent.

Audi is also making strong headway, with November sales up 26.1 per cent, to 1655 units, for a year-to-date gain of 20.9 per cent.

In the overall market, SUVs – particularly the small and medium varieties – are holding the market together, with a 7.3 per cent increase in November and 5.5 per cent climb year to date.

The passenger car sales decline accelerated last month, with sales slipping 12.2 per cent.

As well, light-commercial volumes were down 4.9 per cent, taking the year-to-date decline to 3.8 per cent.

Top 10 selling brands for November 2014
BrandSalesVariance %
Toyota15,995-11.6
Hyundai8600+0.8
Mazda8106-3.5
Holden7849-25.1
Mitsubishi7067+37.5
Ford5843-26.2
Nissan5183-5.5
Volkswagen4403-11.5
Subaru3802-10.2
Mercedes-Benz3369+32.6
Top 10 selling models for November 2014
ModelSales
Mazda33499
Toyota Corolla3264
Toyota HiLux2922
Hyundai i302886
Holden Commodore2200
Mitsubishi Triton2182
Ford Ranger2092
Toyota Camry1981
Mitsubishi ASX1763
Hyundai ix351697

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