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VFACTS: Market dips in May

Leader of the pack: The Mazda CX-5 was the best-selling SUV Down Under last month, recording 2382 sales, just enough to edge out the Toyota RAV4.

New-car sales drop in May despite ongoing SUV and LCV growth

5 Jun 2018

AUSTRALIA’S new-car market dipped last month in the lead up to an expected record tally in June when car-makers engage in aggressive end of financial year retail deals, with half of the top 10 brands taking a slide.
In May, 100,754 vehicles were registered – a drop of 2.1 per cent compared with the same month last year – with SUVs making up the majority on 42,973 units (+8.4%) ahead of passenger cars on 32,789 (-15.6%) and light-commercial vehicles on 21,082 (-0.5%).
Each passenger cars sub-segment was down last month, except the micro-car market that grew by 46.2 per cent on the back of high Kia Picanto sales and an increase for the Fiat 500 and Holden Spark.
All SUV segments recorded growth, with the exception of large SUVs that dropped by 7.1 per cent, but small SUVs continued to boom, with sales up by 36.1 per cent.
Market-leader Toyota’s sales dropped off by 1.5 per cent to 19,571 as the now imported Camry continued its sales decline (-35%), as well as a drop for the ageing Yaris (-20.7%), but the company recorded strong results for the Fortuner (+41.2%), LandCruiser 70 Series ute (+24.8%) and the C-HR crossover (+65.6%).
The HiLux was again the top-selling car in the country last month with combined 4x2 and 4x4 sales of 4385, a 5.5 per cent increase over last May, while the Corolla (3120) was pushed to third behind the Ford Ranger (3674). The soon-to-be-replaced RAV4 mid-size SUV was in seventh spot with 2063 sales.
Mazda sales dipped by 5.0 per cent to 9403, but the car-maker had the most popular SUV in Australia last month, with the CX-5 just edging out the RAV4 with 2382 units, while the Mazda3 dropped to fifth overall with 2586.
The Mazda3 was overtaken by Korean car-maker Hyundai’s best-selling model, the i30 hatchback (2779, +3.6%), but some of Hyundai’s most popular models went backwards last month, including the Tucson SUV (-13.9%) that just missed out on a top 10 placing and the Santa Fe (-34.6%) that will be replaced by an all-new model next month.
Continued growth for the ASX crossover and Triton 4x4 kept Mitsubishi in positive territory last month (6916, +6.1%), despite double-digit dips for the 4x2 Triton, Pajero, Pajero Sport and the Lancer that is in runout.
Ford had a big 24.7 drop in sales last month, largely due to significant slides for some of its biggest sellers, including the Ranger (-9.7%) and the Mustang (-80.2%) – ahead of the facelifted version arriving next week.
The Transit Custom (+52.2%) and Transit Heavy (+8.6%) commercial vans, as well as the Everest SUV (+11.6%) were the only bright spots for Ford last month, as the Mondeo (-29.2%), Escape (-35%) and Fiesta (-48.3%) all fell.
Kia grew by 9.9 per cent last month to jump up to sixth spot on the sales charts, with the Cerato and Sportage doing most of the heavy lifting, while Volkswagen also lifted its game by 6.9 per cent to creep into seventh spot overall with strong results for the Amarok 4x4, Caddy van, Tiguan and Golf.
Holden’s sales slide continued last month, with The General down by 25.8 per cent – the largest slide in the top 10 – on the back of big drops for all models in its line-up except the Barina hatch and recently discontinued Spark micro car.
The Commodore had its best sales month this year with 1040 registrations, but was still down by 43.5 per cent compared to May last year when it was the Australian-built version.
Astra sales fell away by 48.9 per cent and it was outsold by the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, while the Equinox found 428 sales, keeping it at the lower end of the high-volume medium-SUV segment.
Rounding out the top 10 was Nissan on 4334 sales, representing a 14.7 per cent decline, and Honda on 4142 sales, an 8.4 per cent uptick thanks to the resurgent CR-V SUV (+162.1%).
Of the premium manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz still led the market with 2898 sales despite a 4.2 per cent dip, followed by BMW on 2101 (+1.0%) and Audi with 1851 sales (-3.3%).
Jaguar and Land Rover appear to have turned a corner this year, with the brands recording growth of 7.4 and 20.7 per cent respectively in May, despite being down by 26.4 and 11.6 per cent year to date.
Swedish brand Volvo also continued its resurgence, growing its sales by 41 per cent to 567 units last month, thanks to the addition of the new XC40 crossover (129 sales) and a lift for the popular XC60 mid-size SUV (237, 42.8%).
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said there was still confidence in the market, despite sales drops in the past couple of months.
“The market is continuing to hold up well year to date, with the past two months of falls offset by the gains recorded in the first quarter,” he said.
“There is clearly consumer confidence in the market, as evidenced by seven months of record sales in the past 12 months. In the past 12 calendar months there has been almost 1.2 million new vehicles delivered to customers, which is a remarkable achievement.”


Top 10 selling brands May 2018

Position Brand Sales Variance % Share %
1 Toyota 19,571 -1.5 19.4
2 Mazda 9403 -5.0 9.3
3 Hyundai 8807 +6.0 8.7
4 Mitsubishi 6916 +6.1 6.9
5 Ford 5738 -24.7 5.7
6 Kia 5500 +9.9 5.5
7 Volkswagen 5430 +6.9 5.4
8 Holden 5129 -25.8 5.1
9 Nissan 4334 -14.7 4.3
10 Honda 4142 +8.4 4.1


Top 10 selling models May 2018

Position Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 4385
2 Ford Ranger 3674
3 Toyota Corolla 3120
4 Hyundai i30 2779
5 Mazda3 2586
6 Mazda CX-5 2382
7 Toyota RAV4 2063
8 Mitsubishi ASX 2029
9 Mitsubishi Triton 2026
10 Volkswagen Golf 1951

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