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VFACTS: Holden SUVs help to stem sales rot

On the up: Holden’s new Equinox medium SUV had its best month of sales last month, finding 506 buyers to help restrict Holden’s sales drop to 21.2 per cent.

Commodore still missing in action, but Holden SUVs start to take up slack

3 May 2018

HOLDEN’S SUV line-up helped to apply the brakes to the company’s sales decline last month, with the new Equinox, Trailblazer and Trax all registering a lift in volume over the corresponding month last year.

But while Holden’s SUV sales were up 44.8 per cent compared with April last year, its passenger-car range continued to flounder, down 46 per cent, according to official VFACTS data released today.

Overall Holden sales were down 21.2 per cent, to a historic low of 4576 vehicles in an Australian new-car market level-pegging with April last year, at 82,930 vehicles, down just 0.2 per cent.

The Australian new-vehicle market continues to be underpinned by SUVs, particularly the small variety that were up by a third last month.

SUVs accounted for more than 43 per cent of new vehicle sales last month, while traditional passenger cars – down 14.4 per cent – slipped below a third for the first time.

At Holden, the imported Holden ZB Commodore and Astra are still struggling to find sales traction. Commodore sales were down almost 60 per cent last month, to just 587 units.

Of those vehicles, about a quarter were left-over locally made VF Commodores, meaning the German-made liftback sedan and wagon attracted fewer than 500 buyers.

Astra sales slumped 37.2 per cent, to 497 sales, but the one-size smaller Barina was a glimmer of light, up 37.7 per cent from a low base, to 269 units, to help Holden seize sixth place on the sales ladder – up from a perilous 10th last month.

While Holden continues to search for its new level as an importer, rival former manufacturer Toyota has no such issues. It smashed the market in April, selling 16,647 vehicles – up 3.5 per cent on the same month last year.

Its share topped a daunting 20 per cent for the month, more than double the share of its nearest competitor, Mazda (9.3%).

Toyota’s top-selling HiLux ute continued to reign supreme on the best-seller’s list, with 3596 April sales, while the ever-reliable Corolla small car was runner up, with 2979 sales, displacing Ford’s Ranger ute into third spot (2796).

Mazda’s 7723 sales – down 10.5 per cent – were driven primarily by the Mazda3 small car (2261 sales) and CX-5 medium SUV (1725).

Third-placed Hyundai edged closer to Mazda in April, its sales up 4.1 per cent, to 7132 units, on stronger sales of the Tucson mid-sized SUV (1816, +18.7%).

Mitsubishi’s small ASX SUV – the best-selling vehicle in its class with 1706 sales in April – aided the Japanese company to hang on to fourth place with 5508, which is a fraction up on last year.

Ford’s 16.9 per cent sales decline last month is at least partly attributable to a 40.4 per cent drop in sales of its hot-selling Mustang (381 sales) ahead of a substantial facelift next month.

Ford achieved 4822 sales for the month, more than half of which were made up by its locally developed Ranger ute, despite a 13.3 per cent decline in sales of the most popular 4x4 version.

The Ranger was not Robinson Crusoe in the light-commercial vehicle segment which recorded a rare slip, down 5.9 per cent in April. Again, this hiatus might be caused by LCV buyers taking a break while waiting for the annual end-of-financial year sales blitz through May and June.

In the luxury car segment, Mercedes-Benz continued to hold sway in April, with 2527 sales, despite a 10.8 per cent dip that Mercedes attributes to stock shortages and the run-out of two of its most popular models, the C-Class and A-Class.

BMW enjoyed a 1.2 per cent lift, to 1823 sales, while Audi’s new Q5 helped to drive a 7.5 per cent increase in that marque’s volume, to 1495 units.

Top 10 selling brands April 2018

Top 10 selling models April 2018
Toyota HiLux3596
Toyota Corolla2979
Ford Ranger2796
Hyundai i301903
Hyundai Tucson1816
Mazda CX-51725
Mitsubishi ASX1706
Toyota LandCruiser Prado1699
Holden Colorado1491

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