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VFACTS: Market decline accelerates in April

Not today: Mitsubishi’s ageing ASX small SUV has long been the best-selling model in its segment, but buyers shunned it in April to the tune of a 40.9 per cent decline.

Kia the lone top-10 grower, Mitsubishi gets reality check in April new-vehicle sales

3 May 2019

KIA was the sole top-10 brand to increase its sales last month in Australia’s ever-tightening new-vehicle market, while Mitsubishi returned to earth after a hot start to the year, according to official VFACTS registration data released today.


Finishing in six place last month and holding this position for the year to date, Kia’s sales were only up 0.4 per cent last month, to 4521 units, compared to April 2018, but the South Korean brand is maintaining solid form that sees its overall sales for the year up 2.9 per cent.


Last month’s positive result came courtesy of its Cerato small car, which blossomed on the back of the new-generation hatch entering showrooms in January alongside the warmed-over GT flagship.


Cerato claimed seventh position on the list of best-selling models with its 1650 sales that represented a healthy 10.4 per cent improvement.


Mitsubishi remains the only other brand among to the top 10 to remain in positive territory this year – up a market-defying 12.3 per cent compared to the overall industry’s 8.1 per cent downturn – but its 4717 sales in April brought it back down to fifth position for the month (from second in March) and represented a 14.4 per cent slide from the fourth mont of last year.


This was the third-largest decline in the top 10 behind eighth-placed Holden (3483 units, -23.9%) and 10th-placed Subaru (3006, -25.2%), but Mitsubishi still holds down third position in the market for the year to date.


The Japanese brand’s performance last month was mostly hurt by its ASX small SUV that was down by a massive 40.9 per cent, to 1009 units. It is usually the most popular vehicle in its segment but fell to third.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said the industry’s April result – 75,550 new registrations, down 8.9 per cent – is “in line with trends for year-to-date 2019” where 344,088 vehicles have been sold, 30,380 fewer than at the same point last year.


“This decrease is the result of a number of factors in the Australian market, including the downturn in the housing market, the tightening of lending practices, environmental factors such as drought and flood, and, of course, the imminent federal government election,” he said.


“With all these elements currently present in the market, it is no surprise that Australian consumers are conservative in their approach to major purchases at the moment.”


For Holden, a useful return from the Equinox mid-size SUV (563 units, +10.2%) was anticipated given the company’s strong sales and marketing focus on its SUV stable, but it was unable to make up for the volume lost (514 units) from the discontinued Captiva, while the Barina light car registered zero sales for the first time after being axed. The lion brand is currently in ninth position for the year to date.


Most of Subaru's bleeding last month came from its Impreza small car (217 units, -74.5%), but its overall decline is due to ongoing supply issues that have prompted its year-to-date volume to shrink by a considerable 33.8 per cent.


Even market leader Toyota (15,135 units, -9.1%) and Hyundai in third place (6469, -9.3%) struggled during April, although the Japanese juggernaut had two of Australia’s three best-selling models in its line-up, the HiLux ute (3621, +0.1%) and Corolla small car (2429, -23.1%), plus the eighth-placed LandCruiser Prado (1473, -13.3%).


Despite claiming ninth position, Hyundai’s Tucson mid-size SUV had a shocker last month, with its sales down 25.4 per cent, to 1355 units, although its fifth-placed i30 small car (1910, +0.4%) was a steady performer.


Speaking of consistency, Mazda (7644 units, -1.0%), Ford (4803, -0.4%) and Nissan (3025, -0.1%) all slipped in April but not by much, finishing in second, fourth and ninth positions respectively.


The fourth-placed Mazda3 small car (2195 units, -2.9%) and sixth-placed CX-5 mid-size SUV (1827, +5.9%) were key for Mazda, while the Blue Oval yet again rode on the coattails of the second-placed Ranger ute (3011, +7.7%), which accounted for 62.7 per cent of its overall sales.


Volkswagen (3505 units, -10.5%) recorded a double-digit decline but still rounded out the top 10 in seventh position, while Isuzu’s D-Max ute snuck onto the list of best-selling models, with its 1354 sales representing a significant 17.1 per cent upturn.


Top 10 selling brands April 2019

Ranking Brand Sales Variance%
1 Toyota 15,135 -9.1
2 Mazda 7644 -1.0
3 Hyundai 6469 -9.3
4 Ford 4803 -0.4
5 Mitsubishi 4717 -14.4
6 Kia 4521 +0.4
7 Volkswagen 3505 -10.5
8 Holden 3483 -23.9
9 Nissan 3025 -0.1
10 Subaru 3006 -25.2

Top 10 selling models April 2019

Ranking Make/Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 3621
2 Ford Ranger 3011
3 Toyota Corolla 2429
4 Mazda3 2195
5 Hyundai i30 1910
6 Mazda CX-5 1827
7 Kia Cerato 1650
8 Toyota LandCruiser Prado 1473
9 Hyundai Tucson 1355
10 Isuzu D-Max 1354

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