VFACTS June: Toyota Rampant, VW Shirtfronted, Business Sales Up Photo:
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Tim O'Brien | Jul, 04 2013 | 7 Comments

SALES OVERVIEW: Toyota Rampant, Hilux Dominates.

So, who reigns supreme in new car sales for June 2013? No surprises here.

According to VFACTS sales figures supplied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the company that has sold one-in-five Australian cars for the past 25 years, Toyota, continues to dominate the market.

Will it ever be bested within these shores? For the foreseeable future, probably not.

While some marques do well in one or two segments, Toyota sits at or near the top in nearly every one - from small cars, to sports, to 4X4 utes, to the largest SUVs.

In a total market that was up 5.5 percent for June, and up 4.7 percent for 2013 year-to-date (TYD), Toyota with 22,160 sales for June, and 106,110 sales YTD, was up 2.4 percent for June and up 0.1 percent YTD.

It may not have recorded the growth of the total market, but it outsold its nearest competitor Holden by better than two-to-one.

Top ten new vehicle sales for June, listed by marque:

  1. Toyota: 22,160 sales ? 2.4 percent on June sales 2012
  2. Holden: 10,483 sales, ? 1.4 percent
  3. Hyundai: 9914 sales, ? 2.5 percent
  4. Ford: 9687 sales, ? 6.0 percent
  5. Mazda: 9567 sales, ? 0.3 percent
  6. Mitsubishi: 9257 sales, ? 42.5 percent
  7. Nissan: 9165 sales, ? 10 percent
  8. Volkswagen: 5220 sales, ? 19.0 percent
  9. Honda: 5061 sales, ? 22.4 percent
  10. Subaru: 4119 sales, ? 0.4 percent.

Noteworthy is the tight battle going on for the middle placings, occupied by Hyundai, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan.

For its fortunes, Mitsubishi can thank the Triton 4X4 and 4X2, which together notched up 3456 sales for June - accounting for more than a third of Mitsubishi’s total sales for the month.

And Mazda, though still strong (and its CX-5 absolutely dominating the medium SUV segment), is waiting desperately on the new Mazda3.

The 3 is clinging by its fingernails to second spot in the small car segment with 3672 sales, but now beaten by the Corolla, with 4196 sales, and closely challenged by Hyundai i30 with 3664 sales.

Local manufacturing brands, Toyota, Holden, and Ford are doing well overall. However, the scoreboard for their locally-built models does not look especially bright.

Mazda's CX-5 remains Australia's favourite midsized SUV.
Mazda's CX-5 remains Australia's favourite midsized SUV.

New vehicle sales for June of locally manufactured cars, listed by model:

  1. Toyota Camry: 2652 sales, ? 15.2 percent on June sales 2012
  2. Holden Cruze: 2378 sales, ? 22.2 percent
  3. Holden Commodore: 2144 sales, ? 21.8 percent
  4. Ford Territory: 1574 sales, ? 12.6 percent
  5. Ford Falcon: 1169 sales, ? 18.3 percent
  6. Ford Falcon Ute: 620 sales, ? 0.2 percent
  7. Toyota Aurion: 595 sales, ? 28.3 percent
  8. Holden Ute: 343 sales, ? 60.3 percent

Our locally manufactured models managed total sales for June of 11,475 units.

However, by way of depressing contrast, Toyota’s rampant Hilux ute alone (4X4 and 4x2 models combined) managed 4931 sales – approaching half the combined total sales of all of our home-grown cars.

Of course, a new Commodore – a very, very good one as it happens – will refresh those sales figures in July, as will a vastly improved, price competitive and quite potent new 1.6 litre turbo Cruze.

(And, it has to be said, Falcon, Territory and Falcon ute, though down, have held up surprisingly well despite the May announcement - as has Ford generally, Ranger and Focus are up 28.6 and 34.5 percent respectively.)

Those bright spots aside, and a Camry that continues to hold its own, it’s hard to see a future in a market that places little value on old loyalties and has moved on from ‘the Australian car’.

Can the VF Commodore give Holden a boost?
Can the VF Commodore give Holden a boost?

Volkswagen shirtfronted: “j’accuse” campaign guillotines Golf, Passat and Jetta

The linking by Fairfax Media of the suspected mechanical failure of a Volkswagen Golf to the death of a Victorian driver - as yet unproved, as yet one of many possible explanations, and as yet waiting on a report from the Victorian coroner – has guillotined Golf, Passat and Jetta sales.

Of course, Volkswagen’s decision to keep schtum rather than confront the issue when it first emerged - and its initial delay before getting on the front foot to reassure buyers - was certainly not the right way to deal with worried customers and owners looking for affirmative words and action.

That came later, as did the precautionary recall. Too late it would appear.

But, while buyer reaction to news of the recall to replace faulty DSG transmissions is understandable, equally certain is that the issue has been fanned by some very loose commentary.

And, interestingly, while the controversy shirtfronted Golf, Passat and Jetta sales in June – down 52 percent, 33.9 percent and 59.3 percent respectively – sales of the Polo are up 72.8 percent.

The bitter irony for Volkswagen is that the issue emerged just after it launched its best-ever Golf; the new Mark 7 Golf is a simply cracking drive.

The new Golf is Volkswagen's best ever, but buyer backlash has hit the brand.
The new Golf is Volkswagen's best ever, but buyer backlash has hit the brand.

Business sales also up... what economic downturn?

On a day that Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens warned that Australia faces economic risk in adjusting to “the end of the mining boom”, and sent the Aussie dollar into a tailspin as a result (it hit a welcome low of US 90.53cents), VFACTS figures show that business investment in new vehicles is growing unabated.

Balancing his warning, Mr Stevens also said that economic growth in the Australia will come “from new and unexpected areas” and urged Australian households and businesses “to be more confident about the future”.

(Predictably, the latter message was not as widely reported; mainstream media prefers to dole out a diet of gloom.)

Certainly, despite ‘waning consumer confidence’ being the dominant message on the economy over the past three to four years, there is no sign of it in vehicle sales to business.

Sales to business buyers June 2013, listed by sector:

  • Passenger cars: 16,840 sales, ? 1.4 percent on June sales 2012
  • Light commercials: 13,335 sales, ? 6.3 percent
  • SUVs: 13,012 sales, ? 14.6 percent
  • Heavy commercials: 3198 sales, ? 2.8 percent.

Overall, total vehicle sales to business were up 5.4 percent, a near match for the 5.5 percent increase in the total market.

Does that look like a business sector in crisis? On the evidence of VFACTS, perhaps Glenn Stevens is right, and “new and unexpected areas” of the economy are actually in the pink.

How the total market looks:

No surprise that small cars now dominate the total market, but the rankings behind top spot show just how deeply the ‘commercial ute’ has wormed its way into the affections of Australian buyers.

What it also shows is a retained appetite for large cars – ie, those that cast a large shadow on the ground – if not large sedans. Utes, 4X4 and 4X2, sit on wheelbases to rival the big family 'sixes' that once dominated every corner of the market.

So too many medium and most large SUVs also match the footprint of what was once the typical Australian large sedan.

Top Ten market segments, listed by type:

  1. Small cars: 28,093 sales, up 9.9 percent on June 2012 sales
  2. Light commercial utes 4X4 and 4X2: 21,167 sales, up ~25 percent
  3. Light cars: 13,523 sales, up 0.0 percent
  4. SUV medium: 13,004 sales, up 16.6 percent
  5. SUV large: 12,015 sales, down 6.1 percent
  6. SUV small: 8332 sales, up 27.6 percent
  7. Medium cars: 8238 sales, down 8.4 percent
  8. Large cars: 4647 sales, down 19.4 percent
  9. Vans (combined): 2026 sales, down ~8.0 percent
  10. Sports cars: 1997 sales, down 10.3 percent

We live in interesting and unusual times.

Tim O’Brien
TMR Managing Editor

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