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VFACTS: Hyundai back on top with i30

The i has it: Hyundai i30 topped the list of ‘Australia’s most wanted’ last month, rising 46.5 per cent compared to October last year but still running behind for the year to date – down 22.6 per cent.

Hyundai’s new small car finds form amid record new-vehicle market sales in October

3 Nov 2017

HYUNDAI returned to the top of the best-selling models list last month with its i30 small car recording its best result since the new-generation series was released in May, its 3983 sales almost singlehandedly pushing the South Korean car-maker up into second place overall behind the all-conquering market-leading brand Toyota.

Up 1.1 per cent for the month but down 5.2 per cent for the year to date, Hyundai’s sales performance reflects the mixed fortunes among the leading players in the booming new-vehicle market, with monthly sales fluctuating this year amid fierce competition that will only intensify in the run home to Christmas – and probably another record annual result for the industry.

VFACTS figures released today show that the overall market set a fresh benchmark for October with 95,763 new-vehicle registrations – topping the previous record for the month set in 2012 – and is now 0.5 per cent ahead of the same point in last year’s record 1.178m-unit market.

Toyota was forced to settle for minor placings among ‘Australia’s most wanted’ vehicles, with HiLux (3812) and Corolla (3088) in second and third place respectively, but the Japanese auto giant, which is clearly suffering no ill effects of its local manufacturing exit last month, is confident HiLux will hang onto the title come December 31.

Toyota’s 17,836 sales last month marked a 9.1 per cent increase on October last year and more than double that of its nearest competitor – Hyundai, on 8800 units – to be 5.3 per cent ahead on a year-to-date basis, while Mazda was third on 8054 units, up 1.7 per cent for the month but down 0.7 per cent YTD.

Mazda’s CX-5 was again the top-selling SUV in Australia with 2173 sales last month and 21,360 since the start of the year, as SUV sales overall rose 1.2 per cent (as passenger cars fell 3.8 per cent) to strengthen the position of the high-riding cohort as the dominant sector in the market.

Holden, which also closed its production operations last month and completed the industry’s transition to an import-only market, recorded 7726 sales for fourth position – a 2.7 per cent rise on last October that, as was the case in September, owes a fair bit to buyers rushing in to secure a final example of the Commodore, which racked up 2418 sales last month (+15.1 per cent).

Overall, Commodore sales are down 9.4 per cent this year (19,612) – a contrast to Toyota Camry sales, up 9.7 per cent (20,498) – while Holden is still facing a double-digit downturn with an 11.0 per cent decline YTD.

Ford sales fell 11.1 per cent last month to 5785 units, its top-selling Ranger utility down across both 4x2 (426, -8.6 per cent) and 4x4 (2648, -3.7 per cent) drivelines which, given the Blue Oval’s reliance on the model, exposes the lacklustre performance of several other models in its range.

It also ended the Ranger’s slim shot at taking out the overall sales crown this year.

As has been the case all year, the notable exception is Mustang, sales of which rose 7.7 per cent last month (to 629) to give the pony car a running total of 8003 for the year thus far – up 53.8 per cent YTD and some 3000 units clear of Ford’s next-best-selling model, the Focus (5035), which had a positive showing last month (498, +8.3 per cent) but is still down 10.5 per cent overall.

Mitsubishi continued its solid form last month with 5550 sales, up 6.2 per cent on October 2016 and 6.9 per cent for the year, with excellent returns from its all-important Triton ute last month (1857, +85.3 per cent) and a positive showing from the related Pajero Sport (469, +20.3 per cent).

Buoyed by 1808 Golf sales in October (+27.6 per cent), Volkswagen remains on an even keel compared to last year, its 4941 sales last month marking a 1.5 per cent increase on a monthly basis and keeping its nose in front – by 0.8 per cent – on a YTD basis and ahead of Subaru, which brought in 4667 sales last month (+12.7 per cent) that pushes out its YTD growth to an impressive 13.2 per cent.

Nissan is continuing to show the ill effects of discontinued models and is clearly now in a holding pattern until all-new and replacement vehicles reach the market, posting 4565 sales last month (-17.6 per cent) which places it in ninth position and sees it down 15.3 per cent so far this year.

That said, its two biggest-selling models – X-Trail mid-size SUV and Navara ute – were in positive territory with more than 3000 units between them (X-Trail: 1762, +6.5 per cent Navara: 1333, +21.4 per cent).

Kia rounded out the top 10 on 4255 sales, the South Korean brand easily the fastest-growing among the leading mass-market players with sales up 20.1 per cent last month and 29.7 per cent YTD.

Among the major prestige brands, Audi delivered a strong 9.7 per cent increase last month with 2003 sales – enough to place ahead of BMW (1783, -1.1 per cent) and reduce its YTD deficit to 9.8 per cent.

BMW’s YTD sales are now down 15.0 per cent, but it remains more than 2600 units clear of Audi in the fight for second place behind the dominant force in the sector, Mercedes-Benz, which, once commercial vehicle sales are taken out, also suffered a 17.7 per cent decline last month (to 2519 units) but is still up 4.9 per cent for the year to date.

Mercedes’ light-commercial vehicles are also trading well, which is symptomatic of the entire LCV sector last month, LCV sales rose 18.5 per cent to underpin the industry’s overall performance. The growth was underpinned by 4x4 utes, sales of which shot up 25.2 per cent last month and were fuelled by both business and private purchases (+19.1 and +15.6 per cent respectively).

To the end of October, LCV sales growth of 7.4 per cent is outstripping passenger cars and SUVs (-6.9 and +4.3 per cent respectively), while the lower-volume heavy commercials are up 10.4 per cent YTD.

Still the most popular segment in the marketplace, small cars (+9.7 per cent) again propped up the overall passenger vehicle sector last month, with every other class of vehicle (bar the low-volume people-movers) recording negative results, while among the SUVs, the large and upper-large segments (-13.6 and -2.5 per cent respectively) kept a lid on overall growth.

Top 10 selling brands October 2017
BrandSalesVariance %

Top 10 selling models October 2017
Hyundai i303989
Toyota HiLux3812
Toyota Corolla3088
Ford Ranger3074
Holden Commodore2418
Mazda CX-52173
Toyota Camry2057
Mitsubishi Triton1857
Volkswagen Golf1808

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