Australian new car sales softened in May ahead of a predicted boom in June.
Like a ticking clock, there is rhythm to the car sales game.
Sales build in January, February and March before slowing somewhat in April and May and bouncing back with renewed vigour in June. Think of it like a footballer’s drop-kick or a rock star drawing breath before belting out the chorus – a brief pause, then action.
Australians bought 100,754 cars in May 2018, which represents a 2.1 per cent fall compared to 102,901 sales in May 2017. April was a similar story, yet the market is still up by 2.1 per cent for the year to date.
Industry insiders expect this year’s sales to match the record numbers reported in 2017, and that 2018’s narrow lead of around 10,000 vehicles should hold steady.
A look at year-to-date sales charts suggests they might be right, as 2018 looks on track to match or narrowly eclipse last year’s record.
A closer examination of May sales data shows demand for dual-cab utes has softened.
Could it be that Australia’s love affair with the ute is reaching a plateau?
Or are customers conditioned by annual sales promotions holding out for a better deal in June, when manufacturers offer drive-away prices, low-interest finance, longer warranties, desirable accessories and cash incentives to tempt consumers into new metal?
We’ll know in a month’s time.
A glance over promotions advertised by manufacturers shows most are pushing hard to secure sales. You can find our End of Financial Year wrap here.
Beyond that, the best-selling manufacturer (Toyota) and vehicle (HiLux) come as no surprise in May 2018, followed by the usual suspects.
Particularly strong sales of the bargain-basement, two-wheel-drive HiLux (as opposed to high-riding four-wheel-drive models preferred by private buyers) kept Ford’s Ranger at bay, while Toyota’s Corolla leads the Hyundai i30 and Mazda3 in the passenger car race.
On the whole, passenger cars are down by 9.4 per cent for the year to date, SUV sales have increased by 11.1 per cent and light commercial vehicles such as utes are up by 4.2 per cent.
SUV sales rose by 8.4 per cent compared with May 2017, bringing sharp results for some manufacturers. Volvo’s 30 per cent year-on-year boom is a direct result of the new XC60 proving popular among luxury SUV customers – expect the outstanding new XC40 to bring another bump.
Luxury sales are down in 2018, though some brands are tracking better than others.
Porsche’s 15 per cent slide should be arrested by an all-new Cayenne luxury SUV which goes on sale this week, while an incoming all-new BMW 3-Series and facelifted Mercedes-Benz C-Class should inject life into the prestige sedan segment. The path forward is less clear for Infiniti, which has delivered fewer passenger cars than Ferrari in 2018.
Impressively, Mini and Mitsubishi sales have increased by more than 10 per cent with minimal new metal in showrooms. Likewise, Honda’s 35.7 per cent sales increase will be welcomed by the brand.
Holden can take comfort in the Commodore eclipsing 1000 sales for the first time since a European-sourced machine replaced Aussie-built cars, though dealers will be in no mood to party with overall sales down by 23.2 per cent.
Ford’s Mustang remains on top of the sports car charts, even if deliveries of the pony car trickled down to 267 for the month ahead of a new model going on sale imminently.
Top 10 manufacturers – May 2018
1 - Toyota - 19,571
2 - Mazda - 9403
3 - Hyundai - 8807
4 - Mitsubishi - 6916
5 - Ford - 5738
6 - Kia - 5500
7 - Volkswagen - 5430
8 - Holden - 5129
9 - Nissan - 4334
10 - Honda – 4142
Top 30 cars – May 2018
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 - Mitsubishi Triton – 2116
8 - Toyota RAV4 – 2063
9 - Mitsubishi ASX – 2029
10 - VW Golf – 1951
11- Kia Cerato – 1843
12 - Hyundai Tucson – 1839
13 - Holden Colorado - 1754
14 - Toyota Prado – 1712
15 - Isuzu D-Max - 1674
16 - Nissan X-Trail – 1476
17 - Toyota Camry – 1451
18 - Toyota LandCruiser - 1368
19 - Honda CR-V – 1342
20 - Mazda BT-50 – 1277
21 - Mitsubishi Outlander – 1275
22 - Mazda CX-3 – 1274
23 - Toyota Kluger – 1271
24 - Kia Sportage – 1267
25 - Hyundai Accent – 1251
26 - Subaru XV – 1223
27 - Hyundai Kona – 1192
28 - VW Tiguan – 1110
29 - Nissan Navara – 1102
30 - Nissan Qashqai – 1041
- Interested in buying Toyota Hilux? Visit our Toyota showroom for more information.