Australian new car sales are on track for another record year, with SUVs and light commercials gaining a bigger slice of the pie than ever before.
According to Vfacts data released by the Federal Chambers of Automotive Industries, almost 96,000 vehicles were registered in February, a gain of six per cent compared to the same month last year. This puts the market ahead by more than seven per cent for the year so far.
The strong performance can be placed at the feet of two vehicles that have been the powerhouse of local sales for the last few years: the Toyota HiLux with 4426 total registrations and the Ford Ranger with 3544 examples hitting the road in February.
Each vehicle is experiencing especially strong growth compared to last year with sales of the four-wheel drive variants up by more than 40 per cent for the HiLux and more than 25 per cent for the Range. Sales of the two-wheel HiLux variants has also exploded by more than 23 per cent, while sales of similar Ranger models has shrunk by about 2.5 per cent.
Sales of light commercials accounted for 19.5 per cent of the market in February and 19.2 per cent for the year, an increase of almost 2 per cent compared to 2017. But it isn’t just strong sales from the top two powering the growth, as the Mitsubishi Triton (1894) was the seventh highest selling vehicle and the Nissan Navara (1779) was tenth for the month.
The passenger car segment held firm on its performance in January with it accounting for 36 per cent of the market.
As per usual the Toyota Corolla (3270), Mazda3 (2935) and Hyundai i30 (2182) were the main drivers of the segment, holding positions three, four and six respectively. However, February also saw the Volkswagen Golf (1786) cement its spot in the top 10 with its second consecutive ninth postion in the sales charts.
SUVs are growing even greater than light commercials with the segment up more than two per cent for the year, and accounting for more than 42 per cent of all sales.
Again the Mazda CX-5 (2191) was the star in fifth position followed by the Toyota RAV4 (1841) in eighth, with several other SUVs just outside the top 10 including the Nissan X-Trail (1622), Mitsubishi Outlander (1611), Hyundai Tucson (1604) and Mazda CX-3 (1562).
Toyota is achieving well in excess of double digit growth for 2018 with the Japanese giant experiencing a rise of 12 per cent for February and 16 per cent for the year. Hyundai is also up 10 per cent for the year.
Ironically some of the best performing brands did not have vehicles feature in the top 10 sales, with Honda experiencing solid growth across the board to be up 55 per cent for the month and 43 per cent for the year. While Kia is continuing its run to the big leagues with about 12 per cent growth for the month and the year.
Luxury car sales continued to underperform with BMW flat, Mercedes-Benz down almost 10 per cent and Lexus down almost five per cent. Audi was the only major luxury brand to show growth with a 5.9 per cent increase, however the brand is still down almost 10 per cent for the year.
Looking ahead to next month, the Vfacts data will give the first indication of how the new fully-imported Holden Commodore is performing after its first full month on sale.
Top 10 sellers February 2018
Toyota HiLux – 4426
Ford Ranger – 3544
Toyota Corolla – 3270
Mazda3 – 2935
Mazda CX-5 – 2191
Hyundai i30 – 2182
Mitsubishi Triton – 1894
Toyota RAV4 – 1841
Volkswagen Golf – 1786
Nissan Navara – 1779
2018 top 10 brands
Toyota – 33,587
Mazda – 20,026
Hyundai – 15,125
Mitsubishi – 12,405
Ford – 11,704
Holden – 10,408
Nissan - 9570
Honda – 9543
Kia – 9195
Volkswagen - 8650