The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling vehicle in Australia for the 6th time in a row. Picture caradvice.com.au
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The Australian new vehicle market is up 1.8% year-on-year in August to 96.662 units, a new record for the month – and the 4th consecutive record month – lifting the year-to-date total up 0.6% to a record 788.968 sales after eight months. Private sales are up 3.7% to 45.439, business sales down 3.3% to 37.460, rental sales up a whopping 16.3% to 7.213 and government sales down 1.5% to 3.281. SUVs, up 4.7%, keep the lead with a strong 39.4% share vs. 37.% for passenger cars down 8.2% and 20.2% for light commercials including pickups, up a brilliant 16.7%. All states and territories except Tasmania are up in August, with ACT (+9.4%), Western Australia (rallying back up 4.2%) and Queensland (+3.5%) the best performers. As for vehicle provenance, Japan dominates with 27.429 sales followed by Thailand (24.191), South Korea (14.494), Germany (7.240) and Australia (5.049).
Australian Subaru sales are up 36.2% year-on-year in August.
In the brands ranking, Toyota skids down 0.7% to solidly hold onto the top spot at a strong 19.2% share, well over double any other manufacturer in the market. Mazda is down 8.1% to 8.8% and Hyundai returns to growth with an impressive 19.3% gain to 8.1% share in third place. Holden (-8.9%), Mitsubishi (+8.4%) and Ford (-3%) follow. Below, a trio of double-digit gainers follows: Volkswagen is up 21.5%, Subaru up a whopping 36.2% and Kia also up 21.5%. Nissan on the other hand freefalls 27.1% in 10th place. Honda (+20.5%) and Isuzu Ute (+29.4%) also impress in the Top 20 while among smaller brands, Alfa Romeo (+134.1%), Peugeot (+70.8%), Chinese Haval (+69.2%), Skoda (+59.5%), Maserati (+33.3%), LDV (+26.4%), Porsche (+19.6%) and Mini (+17.7%) shine. At the other end of the stick, Audi (-28.3%), Fiat (-32.7%), Jaguar (-36.4%), Infiniti (-42.2%), Jeep (-42.5%), Volvo (-44.1%) and Citroen (-57.3%) are all in great difficulty.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is up 21% to #16 in August.
In the space of a year, the Toyota Hilux has established an implacable domination of the Australian sales charts. August marks the 6th consecutive month at #1 for Toyota’s “ute”, with sales up a booming 29% to 4.4% share, distancing the Ford Ranger up 21% to 3.7%. The Hilux is also #1 in the lucrative 4×4 segment with 3.190 sales vs. 3.067 for the Ranger. The Toyota Corolla (-17%) is the best-selling passenger car at #3 overall above the Mazda3 (-23%) while just below, the Hyundai i30 is back into positive territory at +15%. For the second time in the past three months, the Hyundai Tucson (+33%) is the best-selling SUV in the country, outselling the Mazda CX-5 (+8%). Notice also the Holden Commodore back up 6% to #8, the Mitsubishi Triton up 49% to #10, the Hyundai Accent up 65% to $11, Mitsubishi Outlander up 21% to #16, Nissan Qashqai up 36% to #17 and Isuzu D-Max up 27% to #19.
As of 2015, the Toyota Hilux was the best-selling vehicle in an estimated 42 countries in the world, by far the most crowned nameplate on the planet. Stay tuned for an update article coming soon featuring H1 2017 sales. In 2016, the Hilux became the first commercial vehicle to top the Australian annual sales charts, and it is in the lead again so far in 2017. It was high time for BSCB to test-drive this worldwide best-seller, and Toyota Australia kindly loaned us a Hilux Double Cab TD SR5 4×4 2.8L for one week. We decided to take it to spectacular Fraser Island, or K’gari in local Butchulla Aboriginal language (pronounced “Gurri”) which means paradise. But first to find a name for our Hilux. The last loaner we had was a Haval H9 we nicknamed Ivanhoe, so this one needs to start in J. The search quickly narrowed down to Joey, meaning a baby kangaroo, apt for this agile and shining new Hilux.
It all started in Sydney…Fraser Island location in AustraliaFraser Island map
We took hold of the Hilux at Toyota’s Sydney headquarters, and from here to Fraser Island it’s a 15h, 1.250km-long trip traversing countryside New South Wales and Queensland. The return voyage ended up adding 2.639 km to Joey’s odo, all done in four days. K’Gari Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world at 1.840 km2. Yep, that means there isn’t a single rock on the island! It is located 250 km north of Brisbane on the Australian east coast, has a length of 120 km (75 mi) for a width of around 24 km (15 mi). It houses over 100 freshwater lakes that are some of the cleanest in the world. Joey couldn’t resist a splash in one of the freshwater rivers running down into the ocean:
K’Gari Fraser Island has been inhabited by humans for at least 5.000 years and is the home of roughly 200 inhabitants today. It was formerly known as the Great Sandy Island in the late 18th and early 19th century and owes its current name to Eliza Fraser who created what may well be one of the first instances of what we call today “fake news”… Eliza Fraser was the wife of Captain James Fraser, master of the Stirling Castle that struck a reef north of the island in 1836. They landed with the crew on a longboat, then attempting to trek south. Eliza claimed she was captured by the Badtjala people who she wrongly accused of being cannibals. Many other survivors of the same shipwreck later disputed her claims. However, Fraser’s fictional report of her ill-treatment on the island eventually led to the massacre and dispossession of the island’s tribe. The 1976 film “Eliza Fraser” sustained the legend and was at the time the most expensive Australian film ever made.
Access to the barge to Fraser Island (Inskip Point)
As we had booked accomodation in Happy Valley, about half-way up the eastern coast of the island (see map above), we decided to enter Fraser Island from the south, taking the barge from Rainbow beach and Inskip Point. We thought it would be a small yet proper harbour with, well, a sealed street leading to it. None of this in this part of Australia! To reach the barge we first had to cross a pretty deep sand field. My co-driver David and I have no prior experience of sand driving – one of the reasons we wanted to take the Hilux here – so we had just previously lowered the pressure of our tyres slightly, thinking it would be enough with the help of the low range 4WD gear. How naive were we.
Maxtrax recovery tracks
Only a few metres and we got bogged down. After watching us for a few minutes trying to extricate ourselves and just as we were starting to think that Fraser Island would remain unreachable for this trip, two good samaritans (as only they come by in Australia) got us out of here with a pair of bright orange Maxtrax recovery tracks such as the one pictured above. A must-buy for any trip where you are planning to drive in the sand. They also had a valve that automatically lowered our tyres to 100kpa (or 15 psi). Perfect. We were now set.
It turns out, getting bogged down in Inskip Point is at the same time so frequent and so surprising that there is a Facebook Page dedicated to it! Yessir! It’s called “I got bogged at Inskip Point”, has almost 100.000 followers and features numerous videos of cars getting… well, bogged down. We are now part of an exclusive club!
Joey and the barge to Fraser Island in Inskip Point Joey on the barge towards Hook Point on Fraser Island
We are the only vehicle on the southern barge to Fraser, with a German backpacker giving us our ticket. Payment is by credit card with the captain perched atop a steep ladder and our National Park entrance fee is only available to purchase online. Thankfully the beaches on Fraser have very good wifi access (!). Upon landing on Hook Point is the real test of our sand driving and the lowered pressure are working a treat: it’s like we’re flying above the sand… Off we go on the exactly named 75 mile Beach. The entire eastern coast of the island is indeed a “beach track” open to vehicles. Only 4WDs are allowed on the island however.
Dingos on Fraser Island
Fraser Island invariably triggers one reaction among Australians: “don’t feed the dingos!” Dingos are a type of free-ranging dogs native to Australia. They are the largest terrestrial predator in Australia and have a prominent role in Aboriginal culture. Dingoes of Fraser Island, estimated to be around 180 to 220, are considered some of the last remaining pure dingoes in the country. As a result and to prevent cross-breeding, dogs are now allowed on the island. Since the 2001 killing of a boy by several dingoes on the island, strict measures have been taken regimenting human interaction with the animals (see card above). You can be heavily fined for feeding dingoes or even leaving food and rubbish out which may attract them.
GPS on the beach40 km/h speed limit sign along the 75 mile Beach
The 75 mile Beach is in effect a sort of sand highway, so much so that speed limit signs have been installed on the side of the beach! As far as I was concerned this was a first for me. It’s rather simple: where freshwater rivulets or rivers cross the beach towards the ocean creating creases, the speed limit goes down to 40 km/h. Otherwise it’s 80 km/h. Seems like a pretty high speed for driving on the sand but, as we’ll explain further down, high(ish) speed on sand isn’t actually a bad thing, rather much needed help. Another peculiarity of the 75 mile Beach “highway” is that the southern part of it towards Hook Point which is where the barge lands isn’t passable at high tide. To add fun to the game, the tides actually vary greatly from day to day, so we ended up being glued to the Fraser Island tide webpage for a good part of our stay on the island and opted to drive when the tide was going down rather than up, “just in case”…
Air Fraser Island plane. Picture wikipedia
One of the other “dangers” of driving on this part of the island is that it also serves as a landing strip for Air Fraser Island planes – these are not seaplanes – which offer touristic overviews of the Island. During my first trip to the island back in 2003, one of these planes landed just next to us and it was a mighty unforgettable sight. We did not have that luck this time but did see a couple of planes take off further along the beach. So in a word, when driving on the 75 mile Beach, you have to pay attention above more so than right or left…
Joey posing next to the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno
An iconic sight of Fraser Island is the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno, also located along the east coast of the island. It became beached in 1935 while being towed to Osaka to be broken up. But it doesn’t stop there… During the Second World War, the S.S. Maheno wreck served as target bombing practice for the Royal Australian Air Force. Today, almost three and a half storeys are buried under the sand. Speaking of which, now onto sand driving…
Sand driving on the way back to the bargeOne of Fraser Island inland sand tracks. And yes this is a two-way track!
Driving on sand turned out to be much easier than expected once our tyre pressure was significantly lowered. That is, if you follow one simple rule: don’t drive slow! Completely counter-intuitive, driving kind of fast on sand is key to avoid getting bogged down. This explains why the speed limit is as high as 80 km/h on some parts of the 75 Mile Beach. On average, driving at around 40 km/h constantly will do the trick. To me, it felt like driving on semi-solid mud, to my co-driver David who also flies planes, the way the car follows the sand tracks and ruts more than obeying your steering reminded him of how a plane feels in windy conditions. A scary part though was driving on one of the inland sand tracks that didn’t allow space for more than one vehicle even though it was a two-way track!
Here’s Joey driving through the last bit of sand we had for him, after arriving back to Inskip Point, before a (very quick) review of the vehicle below. This time we didn’t get bogged in Iskip Point! Too bad for their Facebook Page…
A happy crew!
Sand driving ability: this is why we came to Fraser Island and we weren’t disappointed, once a few basics were applied on our side. Nothing can stop the Hilux outside the beaten tracks and this test drive proved it again.
Interior comfort is top notch, the pickup feels robust to drive yet is very manoeuvrable.
2.8L TD Engine has all the grunt that is needed for this type of trip, be it on sand or on asphalt.
Commands are all very intuitive apart from one (see below)…
Fuel consumption is correct given the size of the vehicle
The main and surprising source of grunts was the GPS: disconcerting at best, frustrating at worst, it’s convoluted to operate, and thus dangerous because requiring complete attention on the screen. Names of hotels cannot be picked up unless you are “near”, the GPS continues to calculate the route once arrived at destination… The list goes on.
A pet hate of mine: for this type of price (AU$ 59.459 driveaway), you’d expect not just the driver seat to be electric but the passenger one as well. It is manual. Feels a tad cheap.
Snapping the Hilux near the town of Bolivia, in… Australia!
* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 287 All-models – click on title to see *
The Australian new light vehicle market edges up 1.6% to set a new July record at 92.754 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally up 0.4% to an all-time record 692.307 units. July marks the fourth monthly record in 2017 and the third in a row. SUVs pull the market up anew with sales gaining 9% year-on-year to earn a 40% market share vs. 38.6% for passenger cars, down 6%. Light commercials (mainly pickup trucks – called utes here) hold 18.3% of the Australian market this month. This slim July gain is the works of artificial channels: private sales are down 0.9% to 41.220 registrations whereas business fleets are up 1.8% to 38.892 and rental sales shoot up 16.5% to 6.756 while government sales are down 6.2% to 2.919.
The Mazda3 is up 64% in July, helping Mazda to a strong 10.3% market share.
Looking at data by state, the smallest of them all, Northern Territory (Darwin), posts the largest year-on-year improvement at +10%, followed by South Australia (Adelaide) up 8.7%, Victoria (Melbourne) up 4.2%, New South Wales (Sydney) up 1.3% and Queensland (Brisbane) up 0.5%. In terms of production source of the vehicles sold in Australia, Japan in on top as usual with 27.524 sales, ahead of Thailand (21.915), South Korea (13.656), Germany (6.542), Australia (4.821), the United States (4.026) and the United Kingdom (3.163).
The Mazda CX-5 reclaims the title of best-selling SUV in Australia in July.
Toyota more than ever dominates the brands ranking with sales up 2.7% to 19.3% share, totalling more sales than the next two brands combined, with both its July and year-to-date volumes the highest since 2008. Mazda in 2nd place steps up by a splendid 12.6% to reach 10.3% share, while Hyundai (-1.3%), Holden (-8.5%) and Ford (-9.1%) all stumble. Mitsubishi posts a robust 11.2% gain in 6th place, but the two heroes of the months are Kia, continuing to surf on double-digit gains at +20% – and overtaking Volkswagen to now rank #8 year-to-date – and Subaru up 3 spots on June to #8 and 27.1% on July 2016 to 4.6% market share, thanks to the success of the facelifted XV featuring in the Top 30 best-selling models.
The facelifted XV (+88%) helps Subaru up 27.1% in July.
Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux celebrates a fifth consecutive month in the Australian pole position and 7th time in the past 12 months thanks to deliveries up 19% year-on-year. The Hilux 7 months tally is a record for the nameplate in Australia. For once the Hilux also leads the 4×4 ranking with 2.802 sales vs. 2.627 for the Ford Ranger which remains the leader YTD. The Toyota Corolla jumps up to #2 despite dropping 6%, overtaking the Ranger (+7%) still #2 overall so far in 2017. The Mazda3 (+64%) compensates for a very low base in July 2016 while the Toyota Camry (+10%) lands at an excellent 5th place and is headed for its best year in a decade.
The new Holden Astra is slowly but surely climbing up the charts: #24 this month.
At #6, the Mazda CX-5 (+19%) reclaims the #1 SUV spot the Hyundai Tucson (#9) snapped last month, with the Toyota RAV4 (#8) sliding in-between. Hyundai i30 sales continue to be in negative (-4%) as the 2016 base was heavily discounted volumes of the outgoing previous generation. Further down, notice the Mitsubishi Triton (+27%), ASX (+37%) and Nissan X-Trail (+48%) posting generous gains, the Holden Commodore (-13%) climbing back up seven spots to #12 and reclaiming the title of Holden best-seller off the Colorado (#17) just as the Astra continues to improve at #21 (+7 spots on June). As mentioned above, the Subaru XV (+88%) has a stellar month in 23rd place.
The Hyundai Tucson posts the highest ever monthly sales for an SUV in Australia.
* Now updated with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 282 All-models – see title *
The Australian new vehicle market is up 4.4% year-on-year in June to smash the all-time record monthly result and lift it to 134.171 units according to data released by VFACTS. In other words, never in history have Australian buyers purchased that many vehicle in a single month. This result puts the year-to-date tally into positive territory at +0.2% to a record 599.552 registrations halfway through the year. Once again SUVs outsell passenger cars at 51.393 vs. 50.646 with light commercials (including pickups) up 12.2% to 28.253. Private sales amount to 68.150 and business/fleet sales to 52.039. So far in 2017, sales of 4×4 pick-ups are up 9.2%, SUVs are up 5% but passenger cars are down 6.8%.
The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling nameplate in Australia for the 4th straight month.
No surprises atop the brands ranking, Toyota is by far in the lead, even beating the market with a 11.2% gain to 24.546 sales, missing out on its all-time monthly record of 25.624 in June 2008 by a little over 1.000 units. Mazda is up 0.4% to an all-time record monthly result of 12.501, edging past Hyundai down 0.4% to 12.251. Holden is back up to #4 but freefalls 18.5% and is threatened by Mitsubishi up 6.2% to end the month only nine units below. For the 2nd month in a row, there are no Holdens inside the Top 10 best-selling nameplates. Ford (+6.5%) is down two spots on May to #6 while Kia is the best performer in the Top 10 once again with a 30.3% surge to an all-time record 6.737 sales. Its 7th place and 5% share are also records, already hit last April. Volkswagen (+8.7%) also shines in 9th place and Honda (+2.8%) hits its best monthly volume in almost a decade.
First month above 5.000 sales for the Ford Ranger. Picture caradvice.com.au
The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling nameplate in Australia for the fourth consecutive month and the 6th time in the past 10 months thanks to deliveries up 18% to 5.461, the first time the Hilux ever crosses the monthly 5.000 unit-mark, with its previous best being 4.931 back in June 2013. The Ford Ranger also smashes its personal monthly record with sales up 24% on its previous best of 4.078 in June 2016 to lift it to 5.051, also its first time above 5.000 monthly units. The Toyota Corolla (-13%) is distanced, almost one percentage point of market share below. But the records don’t stop here: thanks to sales up whopping 153% year-on-year, the Hyundai Tucson soars to an all-time high 4th place (previous best: 5th in January 2016) and at 3.741 units its smashes the previous monthly record for an SUV which was until now detailed by the Mazda CX-5 at 2.662 last September. In fact, with this tremendous performance, the Hyundai Tucson surges just 88 units below the CX-5 year-to-date as the race to #1 SUV in Australia frankly heats up. In third place, the Toyota RAV4 is up 18% to #10 overall.
Kia sales are up 30.3% to an all-time monthly record 6.737 units.
The Toyota Hilux remains the best-selling nameplate in Australia…
* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 283 All-models by clicking on the title *
According to figures released by VFACTS, the Australian new vehicle market posts an all-time record May figure, up a sizeable 6.4% year-on-year to 102.901 units. As a result, the year-to-date tally is now down just 0.9% or 4.190 sales on the 2016 record to 465.381 units after five months and could get even next month in the case of a strong June showing. This month the growth is spread through private sales up 3.4% to 49.051 and business sales up 5% to 40.538. Rental fleet sales surge 48% to 5.910 and government sales are up 10% to 4.187. Looking at the country provenance of vehicles sold in Australian this month, Japan comes first with 29.907 units followed by Thailand at 25.729, South Korea at 14.868, Germany at 7.964 and Australia at 4.965.
… but its advantage over the Ford Ranger is only 85 units in May. Picture 4x4australia.com.au
Another piece of good news is the fact that in May all States and Territories gain ground bar the Australian Capital Territory (-3%). Victoria performs the best at +11.3%, followed by the Northern Territory up 8.1%, Queensland up 5.7%, New South Wales up 5.1%, South Australia up 3.1%, Western Australia up 2.8% and Tasmania up 2.5%. This result is particularly encouraging for Western Australia, a State that had been stuck in negative territory for a couple of years. SUVs resume their domination of the market and outsell passenger cars for the third time in the past four months thanks to sales up 9.4% vs. +1.6% to passenger cars. SUVs hold 38.5% of the Australian market this month vs. 37.7% for passenger cars, with light commercials (mainly “utes” or pickup trucks) also up 9.4% in May. Year-to-date, passenger cars are down 7.1%, SUVs up 3.2% and light commercials up 3.5%. Other notable progressions include business sales of SUVs up 14.9% and government purchase of light commercials up 31.7%.
The new generation helps the Mazda CX-5 remains atop the SUV sales charts in Australia.
Brand leader Toyota frankly outpaces the market with a 15.6% surge to 19.3% share vs. 18.2% year-to-date. This is Toyota’s best May result since 2012 and the fifth time in the past 11 months that the Japanese carmaker is above 19% share in Australia. Toyota sells more than double the #2, Mazda, up a timid 3.1% while Hyundai is down 7.7% on volumes boosted by deep i30 discounts a year ago. Ford is the other winner of the month with deliveries up a splendid 15.7% to 7.4% share, historically overtaking its archenemy Holden down 6.6% to 6.7% share. This is only the second time this millennium after April 2016 that Ford is above Holden in Australia, the previous one being January 1999 exactly when Ford sold 8.591 units vs. 8.335 for Holden…
Kia sales are up 41.3% year-on-year and surpass 5.000 for only the 2nd time in history.
Ranking at #9 below Volkswagen (+11.3%), the “most improved” award in the Top 10 once again goes to Kia up 41.3% to 5.005 sales, its second ever month above 5.000 units after June 2016 (5.170) and its second best market share at 4.9% below the 5% hit last month. Just outside the Top 10, Honda does even better at +43.4% thanks to the new generation Civic (1.311 sales), with Isuzu Ute (+26.2%), Renault (+40.1% thanks to the Koleos), Foton Light (+125%), Alfa Romeo (+86.5%) and Maserati (+30.6%) also impressive. At the other end of the scale, BMW (-18.9%), Jeep (-28.1%), Land Rover (-28.9%), Peugeot (-32.9%) and Citroen (-47.8%) all struggle.
The Holden Colorado (+36%) outsells the Commodore (-18%) for the 2nd straight month.
The Australian models ranking is fast settling into a new normal: having two pickup trucks (or “utes” as they are called here) atop the sales charts. It had never happened before last October, but it’s now the third consecutive month and the fifth time in the past eight months that the Toyota Hilux (+13%) and Ford Ranger (+31%) dominate the market. This month the Hilux only wins by the skin of its teeth with a tiny 85 unit-advantage, both nameplates commanding a 4% share of the market. As it has now become the routine, the Ranger 4×4 outsells the Hilux 4×4 (3.384 vs. 3.036) while the Hilux 4×2 compensates at 1.018 vs. 685 for the Ranger 4×2.
The Mustang hits its highest volume, helping Ford above Holden. Picture caradvice.com.au
The two utes are followed by three passenger cars all in decline: the Toyota Corolla (-5%), Hyundai i30 (-29%) back up two spots on April now that the new generation is in dealerships but off an exceptionally high, rebate-boosted volume a year ago, and the Mazda3 (-20%). The Mazda CX-5 gains 9% with the help of the new model and holds onto the #1 SUV spot ahead of the Hyundai Tucson (+30%) now #7 year-to-date, the Nissan X-Trail (+30%) and Toyota RAV4 (+17%) all improving drastically and making it four SUVs in the Top 10, a record. Notice also the Toyota Camry up 54% to #7, the Holden Colorado up 36% and outselling the Commodore for the 2nd straight month, the Mitsubishi ASX up 40%, Kia Cerato up 69%, Toyota Prado up 38% and Mitsubishi Outlander up 34%. Finally, the Ford Mustang hits its highest ranking at #23 and delivers its first four-digit monthly sales figure at 1.351.
The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling nameplate in Australia this month.
* Now updated with the Top 45 All-brands and Top 278 All-models *
According to VFACTS figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Australian new car market continues its decline in April with registrations down 5.1% to 83.135, bringing the year-to-date tally down 2.8% to 362.480. The fall would have been much significant were it not for business sales up 1.7% and overtaking private sales down 13% while government sales are down 15% and rental sales up 26%, the latter two with small volumes. After two months of SUV domination, passenger cars are back above SUVs even though they fall 12% while SUVs are up 1%. Light commercial vehicles are up 3%. Of note within segments are medium SUVs up 10% and 4×4 utes (Australian slang for pickup trucks) up 11.1%.
Looking at the origin of vehicles sold in Australia, the most popular locations are Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Germany and Australia. Looking at sales by state, all states and territories are in negative with the two largest selling states, New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne) losing the least ground at -2.8% and the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) and Western Australia (Perth) losing the most. Tony Weber, the Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, said that market activity during April was affected by the impact of the Easter long weekend break, Anzac Day and national school holidays. “There were two less selling days overall in April this year compared with last, but added to this was the dampening effect that the holiday period had on dealership traffic as many families headed off to enjoy a final break before winter,” Mr Weber said.
In the brands ranking, both Toyota (-3%) and Mazda (+2%) do better than the market but Hyundai (-21%), Holden (-13%) and Ford (-15%) fare worse. Note Holden is only two meagre units above Ford this month while a year ago in April 2016 Ford was ahead. Subaru (+22%), Mitsubishi (+31%) and Kia (+36%) go against the grain inside the Top 10 with fantastic increases but Nissan (-17%) and Volkswagen (-18%) struggle. Outside the Top 10, Honda (+34%), LDV (+50%), Alfa Romeo (+36%) and Maserati (+34%) make themselves noticed.
Over in the models ranking, for only the fourth time ever after last October, November and March, two utes dominate the ranking: the Toyota Hilux (+1%) and Ford Ranger (+5%). The big news this month is the fact that these two nameplates are now also in the lead year-to-date thanks to a 9% and 17% increase respectively. The Toyota Corolla (-14%) and Mazda3 (-8%) are relegated in third and fourth places like last year. Potentially helped by the new generation of the model, the Mazda CX-5 is up 29% to 5th place and remains the best-selling SUV in the country. The Hyundai i30 tumbles down 52% just as stocks of the previous generation model dry up in the wake of the arrival of the new one. At #12, the Holden Commodore slips outside the Top 10 for the first time since January 2016 and is outsold this month by the Colorado. Notice also the Mitsubishi ASX up 58%, the Outlander up 125% and the Subaru Impreza up 177% while the Toyota C-HR breaks into the Top 50 at #47.
The Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger lead the Australian models ranking in March.
* See the Top 25 brands and Top 286 All-models by clicking on the title *
The Australian new vehicle market edges up 0.9% year-on-year this month to snatch a record March volume at 105.410 units. Yet due to declines both in January and February, sales are down 2.1% over the First Quarter to 279.345. For the second consecutive time – and ever – SUVs outsell passenger cars this month at 39.4% share vs. 37% while light commercial vehicles grab 20.9%. This means SUV also lead passenger cars year-to-date as well, a historical shift of the Australian market. Medium-sized SUVs make themselves noticed with a 18.3% year-on-year gain this month.
The market is up year-on-year this month solely thanks to business sales up 6.5% to 44.511 while private sales are down 3.4% to 49.054. Looking into every state, Victoria is up 5.5% to 29.252, South Australia is up 5% to 6.387, Tasmania up 2% to 1.536 and ACT even at 1.683 but all other states are down: New South Wales down 0.8% to 35.677, Queensland down 1% to 21.217, Western Australia down 4% to 8.712 and Northern Territory down 7.5% to 946. 30.736 vehicles sold in Australia this month came from Japan, followed by Thailand at 26.470, South Korea at 14.731, Germany at 7.925 and Australia at 5.390.
Brand-wise, Toyota shines with a 10% year-on-year gain to 18.5% share, distancing Mazda (+2%) and Hyundai (-10%) while Mitsubishi remains at an outstanding 4th place thanks to sales up 16%. Holden is down 14% in 5th place above Ford solid at +6%, Nissan (-3%) and Volkswagen (-4%). Subaru (+4%) beats the market to #9 overall but the most impressive marque in the Top 10 is Kia gaining 39% to #10 – the largest gain in the Top 25. Further down, notice Renault up 5%, Mercedes up 7.5%, Jaguar up 10% and Lexus up 27%.
Two “utes” (Australian slang for pickup truck) dominate the Australian sales charts for the third time ever after last October and November: the Toyota Hilux is up 9% on March 2016, snapping the pole position above the Ford Ranger (+30%) while the Toyota Corolla (-1%) Mazda3 (-3%), Mitsubishi Triton (-3%) and Hyundai i30 (-43%) all struggle year-on-year. In the case of the Mitsubishi Triton, despite the decline a fifth place is a great performance to be compared with #7 year-to-date and #9 in 2016. It also makes three utes in the Top 5. The Toyota Camry post a very solid 20% improvement to rank 7th while the Hyundai Tucson (+70%) takes the SUV crown off the Mazda CX-5 (-6%) but remains below over the First Quarter. The Holden Commodore skids down 19% to round up the Top 10.
Below, a slew of nameplates post very impressive gains. They include the Holden Colorado (+39%), Toyota RAV4 (+27%), Nissan Navara (+51%), Kia Cerato (+123%), Mitsubishi Outlander (+65%), Nissan Qashqai (+47%), Kia Sportage (+47%), Toyota Land Cruiser (+51%) and Subaru Impreza (+80%). Thanks to the new generations, the VW Tiguan is up 164% to #32 and the Mazda CX-9 up 755% to #33.
The Toyota C-HR has finally landed in Australia and should push Toyota further up this year.
* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 295 All-models by clicking on the title *
Based on VFACTS data, new vehicle sales in Australia offer an unusual picture in February: down 7.7% to 89.025 registrations, the weakest February score since 2014, pulling the year-to-date tally into negative territory at 173.935 units, down 3.8% over the same period in 2016. The big news this month is SUVs outselling passenger cars for the first time in Australian history. Although down 3.7%, the recreational vehicles sell 35.497 units for a 39.9% market share vs. 34.740 and 39% for passenger cars, down 12.2%. Passenger cars still edge out in the lead year-to-date at 69.660 (-6.8%) vs. 69.624 (-0.4%) for SUVs, but this leadership should be crushed within the next few months. Meanwhile Light Commercial Vehicles – mainly pickup trucks, nicknamed utes in Australia – are down 5.6% to 16.512 and Heavy Commercial Vehicles down 9.7% to 2.276. FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber says “the low February 2017 has to be put into context, [with February 2016 having] one extra selling day and seeing a lot of activity in the market that resulted in a 6.7 per cent surge over February 2015. Also to be kept in mind, heavy hailstorms damaging stocks in New South Wales and contributed for that state’s drop this month.
Kia sales are up 36.1% in February with the Cerato hitting an all-time high #11 spot.
For once private sales outpace the market at -3% to 45.661 units (these include novated leases), with business sales down 11.5% to 33.939, rental sales down 23% to 4.013 and government sales down 8.5% to 3.126. Looking at the various States in the country, the three largest roughly follow the market : New South Wales (30.221) is down 7.4%, Victoria (24.917) down 7% and Queensland (17.474) down 6.6% while South Australia (5.354) is down 10.6%, Northern Territory (760) down 10.7% and Western Australia (7.526) down 13.7%. Only two States are up: the Australian Capital Territory (1.439) at +0.1% and Tasmania (1.334) up 1%. Looking into the origin of cars sold in Australia, Japan comes up first at 26.299 units, followed by Thailand (21.469) where most utes sold in Australia are manufactured, South Korea (12.832), Germany (7.171), USA (3.591), Australia (2.986) set to come to zero by the end of the year, England (2.904) and Hungary (119).
66 Maserati Levante found an Australian buyer in February.
In the brands ranking, Toyota defies the surrounding gloom and posts a 0.7% year-on-year increase, even becoming the only brand gaining ground inside the Top 8. Year-to-date sales are up 0.8% to 28.862. Better still : the Japanese carmaker’s situation should improve further quite drastically over the next few months now that the compact SUV C-HR has hit Australian dealerships: it lands directly at #74 this month. Australia is one of th leading markets for SUVs and the C-HR falls right into the soft spot Australian consumers have for this type of vehicles, so expect a Top 10 ranking for Toyota’s newest nameplate sometime this year. Below Toyota, Mazda (-2.8%), Hyundai (-9.1%), Mitsubishi (-13.8%) gaining two spots to #4, Holden (-22%), Ford (-14.8%), Volkswagen (-6.2%) and Nissan (-26.1%) are in tow but all lose ground. Mercedes (+5.7%), Subaru (+5.9%), Renault (+22.9%) and Kia (+36.1%) are the biggest (and only) gainers in the Top 20. Jeep (-53.6%) and Peugeot (-47%) struggle, while among smaller brands Bentley (+87.5%), Maserati (+100%) and Infiniti (+138%) take off.
The MG6 Plus lands directly as #2 Chinese model in Australia. Picture caradvice.com.au
This month we welcome a “new” brand inside the Australian charts. MG, or Morris Garages, makes its grand return into Australia now under Chinese ownership: the brand now belongs to Shanghai Auto/SAIC. MG lands directly at #30 with 108 sales. Among Chinese manufacturers, this places MG below LDV (#28) but above Foton Light (#32), Haval (#35), Great Wall (#36) and Chery (#48). MG comes armed with three nameplates: MG6 Plus sedan (#145), MG3 hatch (#238) and GS SUV (#260). This is a great opportunity to take a more detailed look at Chinese models sales in Australia this month (see below).
Great Wall Steed
Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Corolla reclaims the monthly lead off the Mazda3 with 3.392 sales vs. 3.143 but the Mazda remains #1 year-to-date for now at 6.616 units vs. 6.335 for the Corolla. Sliding in-betweem the two compact cars is the Toyota Hilux which ends the month only 6 units off the first place at 3.386. However the Hilux once again loses the lucrative 4×4 ute market to the Ford Ranger at 2.380 vs. 2.497. The Hyundai i30 (-19%) rounds up the Top 5, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next generation. The Mitsubishi Triton is back up 10 spots on January to #6 in spite of diving 8% year-on-year, distancing a slew of three SUVs: the Mazda CX-5 keeping the lead despite the imminent arrival of a new model, the Toyota RAV4 (+14%) and Hyundai Tucson (-14%). The Holden Commodore (-33%) plunges to #10 while the Kia Cerato is up 65% year-on-year and two spots on last month to break its Australian ranking record at #11.
Like the Toyota C-HR, the Audi Q2 lands directly inside the Australian Top 100 in February.
Among recent launches, the Ford Escape – replacing the Kuga – is up 36 ranks on January to #67, the Toyota C-HR lands at #74 as detailed above, the Kia Picanto is down 17 spots to #86, the Suzuki Baleno up 16 to a record-breaking #87 and the Suzuki Ignis up one to #89, also the nameplate’s personal best. Along with the Toyota C-HR, the Audi Q2 is the other all-new nameplate to land directly inside the Australia Top 100 at #91, and it’s no coincidence that it also belongs to the compact SUV segment, the one truly on fire here. Luxury SUVs are also one to watch: the Jaguar F-Pace remains at a very high level at #124, the Maserati Levante is up 10 spots to #159 and 66 sales and the Bentley Bentayga up 17 to #257.
Mazda places three nameplates inside the Top 10, including the CX-3.
* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models – click on title *
The Australian new car market starts the year on the right foot with a 0.6% year-on-year increase to 84.910 registrations. The big figure this month is 793: that’s the tiny difference between sales of passenger cars (34.920) and SUVs (34.127) – never have the two categories been so close. This gives SUVs a 40.2% market share vs. 39.2% in January 2016 and 33.7% in 2015, while passenger cars are at 41.1% vs. 41.7% in 2016 and 48.5% in 2015. To this, add 13.942 light commercials and 1.921 heavy commercials. December being an annual peak for fleet sales, January is traditionally a strong private sales month and 2017 is no exception: privates are up 4.2% to 46.905 vs. just 31.393 for business sales (-5.7%), 2.552 for government sales (-4.2%) and 2.139 sales to rental companies (+16%).
The Nissan X-Trail hits its highest ever monthly ranking in Australia at #8.
The largest States are New South Wales-Sydney (29.068 +2.4%), Victoria-Melbourne (24.636 +9.4%), Queensland-Brisbane (15.709 -8.6%), Western Australia-Perth (7.037 -10.5%), South Australia-Adelaide (5.134 -1.4%), ACT-Canberra (1.438 +5%), Tasmania (1.337 +3%) and Northern Territory (652 +4.2%). The leading sources of vehicles sold in Australia in January are Japan (25.505), Thailand (19.642), South Korea (12.753), Germany (6.759), Australia (3.766 – this figure will be zero in 2018), the United States (3.734) and the United Kingdom (2.739). The most popular segments this months are small cars (17.830 +2%), medium SUVs (13.956 +9%), large SUV (10.970 +2%), 4×4 utes-pickups (9.526 -4%) and small SUVs (8.182 -4%).
Kia ranks #8 brand, its highest ever. The Cerato hits a record #13.
Toyota (14.8%) remains the #1 brand in Australia above Mazda equalling the all-time high market share of 11.9% it also hit a year ago. Holden surprises with a 5.3% improvement to #3, overtaking Hyundai (-4.2%). Ford is consistent at +7.4% in 5th place above Mitsubishi (+1.4%) and Nissan (-9.9%). Outstanding performance of Kia up 28.9% to a highest-ever 8th place, placing the Cerato at a record #13 with sales up 89%. Subaru (#9) is up an equally impressive +17.7%, while outside the Top 10 Honda (+19.7%), Renault (+20.3%), LDV (+27.8%), Infiniti (+36.8%), Jaguar (+64.2%) and Maserati (+88.9%) also impress. On the other hand, Volvo (-17.7%), Isuzu (-20.9%), Citroen (-48.6%), Jeep (-65.8%) and Ssangyong (-70.5%) all struggle.
Like every January since 2012, the Mazda3 is the best-selling vehicle in Australia this month.
A favourite with private buyers, the Mazda3 has been the best-selling vehicle in Australia in January of every single year since 2012 and follows suit in 2017 in spite of declining sales at -7%. The Toyota Corolla evolves in the opposite way at +7% in 2nd place, while the third best-seller in the category, the Hyundai i30, is relegated to 5th place overall (+9%) just ahead of the Holden Commodore enjoying a last minute revival at +58%.
The Toyota Hilux edges 20 units past the Ford Ranger. Picture caradvice.com.au
Hero of 2016 as the very first ute to lead the annual Australian sales charts, the Toyota Hilux has had to fight tooth and nail to remain in its segment lead this month: up 15% to 2.702 sales it is only 20 units above its archenemy the Ford Ranger (+8%). In fact, looking at the more lucrative 4×4 ute sales, the Ranger (2.221) is runaway leader ahead of the Hilux (1.964) and Holden Colorado (1.333). The Hilux makes up for it with its budget 4×2 offering at 738 vs. 401 for the Ranger and 385 for the Mazda BT-50. Keep in mind most Hilux 4×4 sales are through the top-of-the-line SR5 variant while most Ranger sold are XLT and Wildtrak variants priced from AU$ 60k up.
The Holden Captiva is up 3-fold on January 2016 to #15.
If a year ago there were four utes in the January Top 10, this time SUVs are the stars of the show, also totalling four among the country’s ten best-sellers, a record. The Mazda CX-5 (+10%) remains the most popular, just ahead of the Nissan X-Trail (+47%), hitting its highest ever ranking in Australia at #8 with previous bests of #9 in November 2015 and #10 in March 2012. The Hyundai Tucson (-19%) and Mazda CX-3 (+7%) follow. This is only the second time the CX-3 breaks into the monthly Australian Top 10 (#9 in May 2016) and it also means Mazda places three nameplates inside the Top 10 vs. just two for Toyota. Continuing with SUVs, notice the Toyota RAV4 (#12), Holden Captiva up 182% to #15, Mitsubishi ASX (#17), Toyota Prado (#21), Kia Sportage (#22) and Honda HR-V (#23).
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.
SUV sales are up 8% year-on-year in Australia, passenger cars down 6%.
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%).
With the Corolla at #2, Toyota is the first ever carmaker to manage an annual 1-2 in Australia.
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.
The Hyundai i30 incredibly led the year-to-date charts halfway through 2016.
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.
Kia surges 26.5% to break into the annual Australian Top 10 for the first time.
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.
The Toyota Camry outsells the Holden Commodore to become #1 Aussie-made.
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.
The Mazda CX-5 is the #1 SUV in Australia for the 4th straight year.
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)…
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