Holden's Commodore is still a giant of the large car segment.
The Lion brand's fully-imported large car was never going to live up to the lofty sales figures of its predecessor. However, the family car's 990 sales for March were well ahead of nearest rival the Kia Stinger with 184, according to vfacts data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
At the top the story remains very familiar with the Toyota HiLux (4348) and the Ford Ranger (4064) holding on to positions one and two. Mitsubishi's Triton workhorse chipped in with 3109 registrations in March to help the light commercial segment carve out a 9.4 per cent sales growth for the year on its way to accounting for 20.5 per cent of the new car market.
Small car stalwarts Toyota Corolla (3218), Mazda3 (2780) and Hyundai i30 (2719) held positions three, five and six as they fight a rear guard action against the surging sales success of small and city SUVs which continue to take the place of traditional passenger cars as Australia's favourite vehicles. The passenger car segment has contracted by 5.7 per cent in 2018 while SUVs sales have grown by more than 10 per cent.
SUVs round out the top 10 with the Nissan X-Trail leading the charge with 2504 sales, which is the vehicle's best performance for the year and a positive sign for the Japanese brand which was put on notice by Nissan-Renault Alliance global chief Carlos Ghosn last year for poor sales and market share.
The Mazda CX-5 (2261) continues its strong 2018 performance, while the Toyota RAV4 (1952) is never far off the pace. Hyundai's Tucson continues its sales decline with a drop of more than 25 per cent compared to March last year, with family-hauler down about 15 per cent on the year to date.
Mitsubishi's ASX was the lone city SUV to crack the top 10 with 2337 sales, as the aging SUV takes advantage of a poor month from the segment leading Mazda CX-3.
The strong performance across the board for SUVs propelled the new car market to 106,988 registrations in March, an increase of 1.5 per cent compared to March 2017, and 4.4 per cent for the year as a whole.
Victoria is the engine room for the nation's sales growth, with the southern state adding almost 7000 sales so far this year which translates to an 8.7 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
Toyota accounts for a huge 18 per cent of the market with more than 52,000 vehicles sold in 2018 – the nearest rival is Mazda with about 30,000 sales - an 8 per cent increase compared to last year.
Honda and Kia are experiencing solid growth thanks to strong performances across the range including crucial small cars and SUVs.
Ford's sales rely heavily on the Ranger workhorse which accounts for about 60 per cent of sales, the blue oval is in desperate need of the all-new Focus small car which is due to arrive in 2019.
Luxury brand's continue to find the new car environment challenging with all brands either flat or down on the year.
Top 10 sellers in March*
Toyota HiLux – 4348
Ford Ranger – 4064
Toyota Corolla – 3218
Mitsubishi Triton – 3109
Mazda3 – 2780
Hyundai i30 – 2719
Nissan X-Trail – 2504
Mitsubishi ASX – 2337
Mazda CX-5 – 2261
Toyota RAV4 - 1952
Top 10 brands in March
Toyota – 18,878
Mazda – 9723
Mitsubishi – 8810
Hyundai – 8443
Ford - 6687
Nissan – 6191
Honda – 5586
Subaru – 5195
Volkswagen – 5137
Holden - 5116
*Data supplied by the Federal Chambers of Automotive Industries.
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