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VFACTS: Vehicle market down 7.4 per cent

On a Hi: With 47,834 sales to the end of November, Toyota’s market-leading HiLux has already smashed its own annual sales record set last year.

Declining car sales in Australia take shine off another million-vehicle market

5 Dec 2018

THE Australian new-vehicle market suffered its eighth consecutive month of weakening sales in November, with volume dipping 7.4 per cent compared with the same month last year, according to official VFACTS sales data released today.
Only continued strong demand for 4x4 utes – led by a record-busting Toyota HiLux – prevented the market from a steeper decline, as once-rampant SUV sales fell flat and passenger car volumes continued to nosedive.
Despite the shift into negative territory every month since April, the Australian market has managed to eclipse the million-vehicle mark for the calendar year with one month of sales in hand.
November’s sales tally of 93,860 units – down from 105,410 last year – brought the year-to-date total to 1,065,583 vehicles, representing a 1.9 per cent decline on the same period of 2017.
While the ninth consecutive year of million-plus sales is in the bag, the industry will need to sell a bumper 123,533 vehicles in December to break last year’s yearly sales record of 1,189,116 vehicles.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber described the market conditions as flat, saying they reflected tougher conditions across the economy.
“However, it is encouraging that sales have once again passed the one million mark for 2018, with one more selling month to go,” he said.
“The 1.9 per cent fall in sales to same number during the 2017 record year is a modest outcome within a market where consumer preferences are rapidly shifting from passenger vehicles to SUVs”.
However, even SUV sales were down 1.9 per cent in November, to 39,983 sales.
Passenger-car sales again fared worse, down 20.8 per cent, to 29,250.
A 4.2 per cent lift in light-commercial-vehicle sales, to 20,900 vehicles, helped to avert a bigger slide. This was almost entirely due to an 8.5 per cent rise in popular 4x4 pick-ups, which again topped the sales charts.
The number-one seller by a comfortable margin in November was Toyota’s HiLux (4671), which, with 47,834 sales in the year to date, has already smashed its annual sales record of 47,093 set last year.
Sales of the 4x4 HiLux variant were up 15.6 per cent last month, putting it up 10.5 per cent for the year.
As usual this year, Ford’s Ranger was second last month, achieving 3469 sales. Two other one-tonne pick-ups made the top 10 list for November – Mitsubishi’s Triton (2404, fourth place) and Nissan’s Navara (1936, ninth place).
The top-selling passenger car in November was again the Toyota Corolla, while Mazda’s popular CX-5 was the best-selling SUV.
Despite a 2.8 per cent decline in its sales for the month Toyota crunched all comers to take top spot for the zillionth time, with 18,271 sales. The Japanese giant has now zipped past the 200,000 mark and in with a good chance of beating its 2017 tally of 216,566.
Mazda (8905 sales, -4.6%) and Hyundai (7869, -10.4%) lined-up in their usual spots, in second and third places.
The biggest loser again last month was Holden whose sales tumbled 35.6 per cent, to 5135 units and seventh place on the sales ladder.
Holden’s year-to-date sales are now running 28.4 per cent lower than last year as it struggles with life as an importer.
The one-time top-selling Commodore achieved 701 sales in November, down 61.8 per cent – a little more than half the sales of Holden’s Colorado (1364).
The biggest winner among the top 10 players was Kia, with sales up 7.9 per cent for the month, to 4644 sales and ninth place, thanks mainly to a 21.3 per cent jump in sales of its Sportage medium SUV.
Nissan (5330, +5.0%) also hit its straps, lobbing two vehicles (X-Trail and Navara) into the top-10 list.
Mercedes-Benz has blamed delayed certification paperwork for a sales slump on its the facelifted version of its top-selling C-Class which achieved just 183 sales last month – down 71.8 per cent.
Limited supply of A-Class did not help either, as Mercedes sales declined 33.9 per cent for the month. 
However, its 1819 passenger and SUV vehicle total was sufficient to out-point arch rivals BMW (1637) and Audi (1440).

Top 10 selling brands November 2018

Ranking Brand Sales Variance%
1 Toyota 18,271 -2.8
2 Mazda 8905 -4.6
3 Hyundai 7969 -10.4
4 Mitsubishi 6953 +4.1
5 Ford 5519 -12.0
6 Nissan 5330 +5.0
7 Holden 5125 -35.6
8 Volkswagen 4713 -12.1
9 Kia 4644 +7.9
10 Subaru 3921 -8.8

Top 10 selling models November 2018

Ranking Make/Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 4671
2 Ford Ranger 3469
3 Toyota Corolla 2659
4 Mitsubishi Triton 2404
5 Hyundai i30 2378
6 Mazda3 2342
7 Mazda CX-5 1998
8 Nissan X-Trail 1942
9 Nissan Navara 1936
10 Hyundai Tucson 1623

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