* Now updated with the Top 70 All-brands and Top 400 All-models – see title *
This post has been updated with the Top 295 All-models for December
Australian new vehicle sales set an all-time record volume for the second year running and the fourth time in the past five years, up 2% or almost 23.000 units on 2015 to 1.178.133. Yet if in 2015 the record was considered “healthy”, this year private sales are down sharply at -7% to 571.544 to fall from 52.5% share a year ago down to 48.5% this time. The market growth comes solely from business sales up a whopping 13% year-on-year to 472.156 and 40.1% share (35.9% in 2015) as well as rental sales up 6% to 60.335 and 5.1% of the market. Government sales are down 1.4% to 40.989. A methodology note: private buyers using their ABN (Australian Business Number) to buy a single car count as a business sale, while novated leases count as private. All in all, it’s the good health of the Australian economy that has lifted the car market up this year, not the appetite of private buyers.
The main trend at play in the Australian market and symbolised by the new #1 model (see further down), is the shift towards recreational vehicles and away from traditional passenger cars. Light commercials (mainly composed of pickup trucks – nicknamed “utes” in Australia) are up a splendid 9.4% year-on-year in 2016 to hit 217.400 sales and 18.5% share while SUV sales are up 8% to 441.100 and 37.4% share (35.4% in 2015). These two segments now hold a commanding 55.9% of the Australian new vehicle market vs. 52.6% last year. Passenger cars on the other hand are down 5.7% to 486.600 units or 41.3% share vs. 44.6% in 2015. The most popular segments are small cars (224,450 sales, down 4%), medium SUV (172.194, up 16.5%), 4×4 ute (146.820, up 10%), large SUV (142.495, up 2%) and small SUV (110.413, up 2%).
Looking at sales in each State, only two lose volume compared to 2015. New South Wales/Sydney continues to dominate at 397.563 registrations and also lodges the largest year-on-year increase at +4.4%. It is followed by Victoria/Melbourne at 326.269 (+3.4%), Queensland/Brisbane at 233.026 (-1.1%), Western Australia/Perth at 100.234 (-5.6%), South Australia/Adelaide at 71.738 (+3.9%), Tasmania at 19.751 (+0.3%), Australian Capital Territory at 18.816 (+4.3%) and Northern Territory at 10.736 (+2%). With Ford ending local manufacturing in October this year and both Holden and Toyota set to do so in 2017, Australia has slipped below Germany to become only the #5 new vehicle source country. Japan leads with 325.689 units (-3%) ahead of Thailand at 285.465 (+14%), South Korea at 162.642 (+16%), Germany at 87.392 (-0.6%) with Australia lagging behind at 87.096 homemade sales, down 11% on 2015. This figure will be zero in 2018.
Mazda is up 3.7% to reach a record 10% market share in Australia.
With sales up 3.1% to 209.610, Toyota marks 20 years in the Australian pole position, including the past 14 straight years. This is the fifth year in a row and the 12th time in the past 13 years that Toyota is above 200.000 annual Australian sales (record: 238,983 in 2008), with no other carmaker managing to break this milestone in the country. The Japanese carmaker is leader in every State and Territory. In 2nd place like last year – the brand’s highest ranking in the world, we find pure importer Mazda, up another 3.7% to reach record volumes (118.217) and market share at a round 10%. Mazda even outsold Toyota in SUV sales in September despite having only three models in its SUV lineup (CX-3, CX-5, CX-9) vs. more than double for Toyota.
Hyundai drops 0.4% but is up one spot to jump onto the Australian annual podium for the first time since its introduction in the country in 1986, “posing little threat” according to the local specialised press. Behind these stable sales hides a historical year for Hyundai: the i30 was the best-selling nameplate in Australia overall for an incredible four consecutive months between March and June and even led the YTD ranking half-way through the year. However depleting stock of the current generation meant it had to recede to third place overall – still the nameplate’s best ever annual finish, above the Mazda3. Local brand Holden is kicked out of the annual podium for the first time ever in Australia, down 8.4% to 94.308 sales. Ford on the other hand has turned around its sinking fortunes in a spectacular manner, up 15.3% to 81.207 sales this year and bypassing Mitsubishi (+2.3%) to rank 5th.
Subaru continues to impress with a 7.8% gain to remain in 9th position, now threatening Volkswagen (-6.1%). But Kia is by far the most impressive performer in the Australian Top 20 this year: up 26.5% to break into the annual Top 10 for the very first time, stealing this honour from Mercedes (+13.3%), still the luxury king. BMW (+12%), Isuzu Ute (+11.4%), Land Rover (+14.4%), Volvo (+18.9%), Infiniti (+40.6%), LDV (+101%) and Jaguar (+132.8%) also impress. We welcome two new manufacturers in Australia in 2016: American pickup maker Ran landing at #37 with 292 sales and Chinese SUV specialist Haval at #38 with 286.
Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Hilux surges 20% to snap the annual pole position off its stablemate the Toyota Corolla – leader for the past three consecutive years. This is a historical win for the Hilux, the first time it ends the year in pole position in Australia and the first time a commercial vehicle (more recreational in fact these days) takes the annual lead in the country. This victory comes as the Hilux is under intense pressure from the Ford Ranger, up an even more impressive 27% to nudge up one spot to a best-ever 4th place overall this year. Interestingly, 2016 isn’t the Hilux’s best year at 42.104 sales: it sold 42.956 units in 2008, the year it first hit #1 in the monthly sales charts – in April and October. Its 2016 wins rewards consistency as the Hilux only topped the monthly charts twice this year vs. 3 times for the Toyota Corolla and 4 times for the Hyundai i30, the other nameplates on the 2016 podium. The Hilux also ends up narrowly winning the 4×4 ute battle opposing it to the Ford Ranger at 31.076 sales vs. 30.880, whereas the Ranger was still in the lead at end-November.
In 2016, Toyota places the Hilux and Corolla in the top two spots. Although this seems entirely logical given the brand’s domination over the Australian market, it is actually the first time in history that one brand delivers an annual 1-2. Market leader in 2011 and 2012, the Mazda3 plunges down four spots to a paltry 5th position. The Toyota Camry (-4%) becomes the best-selling Aussie-made nameplate for the very first time in history, dislodging the Holden Commodore (-7%) thanks to a fleet-filled December when it ranked #1 overall, just like a year ago. The Mazda CX-5 is the best-selling SUV in Australia for the fourth consecutive year, climbing up to a best-ever 8th place overall despite sales tilting down 2% to 24.564: incredibly, the CX-5 has led the SUV category each full year it has been in market here. This time it is followed by the Hyundai Tucson, up 4-fold on 2015 to end its first full year of sales at a stunning 11th position, already better than anything the Hyundai ix35 did before it (PB of 19.086 sales and #12 in 2013)…
Previous month: Australia November 2016: Hilux vs. Ranger the new iconic battle
Two years ago: Australia 2014: Toyota Corolla holds onto top spot, and The best-sellers State by State
Full Year 2016 Top 70 All-brands and Top 400 All-models vs. Full Year 2015 figures below.
Full December 2016 Top 15 brands and Top 290 All-models below.