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VFACTS: Four-way battle for car sales crown

Thirty something: Hyundai’s i30 is applying the sales blowtorch to rivals such as the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3.

Hyundai i30 takes sales fight up to market leaders HiLux, Corolla and Mazda3

4 May 2016

FOUR of Australia’s favourite vehicles are engaged in a neck-and-neck battle for bragging rights as the nation’s top-selling car.

Just 229 sales separates the contenders after four months of the year, with Toyota’s HiLux ute (12,883 sales to the end of April) and Corolla small car (12,784) slugging it out with Hyundai’s i30 (12,654) and Mazda’s top player, the Mazda3 (12,733).

The big improver is the Korean-built i30 that has topped the tables for the past two months, thanks partly to a $19,990 driveaway offer on the i30 Active automatic. This discount campaign has been run in a parallel with TV and web commercials trumpeting i30’s win in Australia’s Best Cars Awards.

Sales of the i30 rocketed from 2461 units in February to 4198 in March and 4143 in April. The April figure represents a mega 80 per cent rise over the same month last year, and year to date, the i30 is running 47 per cent ahead of its tally for the first four months of 2015.

If sales of the i30’s sedan version, the Elantra (1993), are included, Hyundai’s YTD small-car tally is 14,647 units for a segment share of more than 22 per cent.

Hyundai has just introduced an all-new sixth-generation Elantra, although the company has warned that supplies are constrained.

While i30 volumes have been growing, sales of the rival Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 have slipped a notch, with Corolla going from 3612 units in March to 2959 in April, and Mazda3 easing from 3145 in March to 2512 last month.

Year to date, Corolla has slipped 14.3 per cent, while Mazda3 is down 5.1 per cent.

HiLux has also come down a peg, from 3897 in March to 3584 in April, but beware: Toyota always saves its best for the annual end-of-financial year sale through May and June, particularly for HiLux that is aimed squarely at small business buyers such as tradies.

However, the HiLux has Ford’s Ranger nipping at its heels, with Ford’s 4x4 version of the Ranger outselling the equivalent HiLux (2534 to 2452) in April.

Time will tell if this was a one-off event or a new norm.

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