Australia 2009: Commodore still ahead but with lowest volume, Mazda3 #1 in January, the Chinese arrive

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The Australian market is down 7% in 2009 to 937,328 registrations, and the Holden Commodore is the best selling car in the country for the 14th year in a row, albeit down 13% to just 44,387 sales, believed to be its lowest annual volume since the introduction of the nameplate in 1978. However it actually increases its lead over the Toyota Corolla, #2 at 39,013 units and -18%, but the Toyota Hilux, #3 at 38,451 sales, is getting closer with ‘only’ -10% year-on-year.

Mazda3

In 2009, no less than 4 models lead the monthly sales at least once (potentially a first in Australia in the last 50 years) and one did so for the very first time:  the Mazda3, #1 in January with 3,124 sales and 4.7%, by far its best-ever share in the country. It finished the year at #4 with 35,298 sales and 3.8%, the only model in the Top 5 to increase its volume at +4%.

The Commodore was first only 6 times, its lowest frequency in a decade, the Corolla 3 times and the Hilux twice: in June and November when it delivered its best-ever monthly volume and share at 4,230 units and 4.9%. Like in 2007 and 2008 the Ford Falcon ranks #5 at year-end but with 31,023 sales (-3%) it manages to increase its share to 3.3%, above its level of the last 2 years.

Hyundai i30

The Hyundai i30 is the good surprise of the year, up a huge 110% to #6 with 21,414 sales and 2.3% share, the best performance for a Korean model in Australia since the Hyundai Accent in 2000. The financial crisis made Australian consumers more inclined to reconsider Hyundai as a brand and what they found is that it had improved greatly quality-wise. After stagnating around the 30th place and 1% in 2008, i30 sales rose spectacularly in 2009: the model broke into the monthly Top 10 for the first time in April (#6) and peaked at 2.9% in August.

The Holden Cruze at #21 is by far the best performing all-new 2009 model. It broke into the Top 10 for its first full month of sales in July (#8 with 2.6%) and peaked at 2.7% in August and October. The third model to break into the Top 10 for the first time this year is the Honda Jazz in January (#8 at 2.2%) but its very inconsistent performance during the year kept it as low as #34 overall.

Other 2009 highlights include the 6th place of the Mitsubishi Triton in June at 3%, its best ever Australian ranking and share, and the leadership swap in the local SUV battle between the Holden Captiva and the Ford Territory: the Holden passed the Ford for the first time in July and kept the lead until the end of the year, finishing #27 at 11,504 sales (+14%)  vs. #31 and 10,884 sales (-16%) for the Ford.

Great Wall V240

Finally, 2009 is the year Chinese manufacturers started selling in Australia, namely Great Wall which launched 3 models throughout the year. The V240 ute sold 1,342 units overall, the SA220 ute is at 301 sales and the X240 SUV at 264. Still small but promising scores…

Previous year: Australia 2008: Corolla #1 until July, Commodore saved by Sportwagon, Toyota Hilux #1 twice

Next year: Australia 2010: Commodore #1 for 15th year in a row

Full Year 2009 Top 280 and every monthly Top 50 Ranking Tables below.

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