* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models – see title *
The Australian new car market continues to evolve at record levels in April with sales up 7% year-on-year to 87.571 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 4% to a record-breaking 372.899 deliveries in four months. The dynamism is widespread as every state and territory is up except Western Australia (-0.1%) but it is also artificial as this month’s year-on-year gains are solely do to business fleets up 20% to 34.833 whereas private sales are actually down 0.6% to 42.967. The SUV segment continues to grow but is slowing down at +7% to 36.3% market share with passenger cars also up for once at +5% to 41.9% share and light commercials (pickups and vans) are up 14% to 20% share with 4×4 utes (Australian slang for pickup trucks) up 12%. Imports are coming from Japan (23.232 units, down 5%), Thailand (20.073, up 20%), South Korea (13.079, up 29%), Germany (7.350, up 7%), the U.S. (4.355, up 3%) and England (2.416, up 23%) while Australian-made cars – a disappearing act – are down 4% to 6.150 sales or just 7% market share.
A few very momentous events occurred in Australia this month that are indicating 2016 could be another year of significant changes in both the brands and models rankings…
1. Hyundai is the best-selling passenger car brand for the first time in history
If Toyota leads the brands ranking as usual with sales up a market-beating 8% to 16.567 and 18.9% market share, Hyundai comes in at a stunning 2nd place with deliveries up 20% to 8.643 and 9.9% share, overtaking Mazda up 5% to 8.461 and 9.7%. But if we look at passenger cars specifically (excluding SUV and commercials), Hyundai is the most popular brand in Australia for the first time in its 30 year-history in the country, outselling perennial market leader Toyota. Hyundai sold 6.324 passing cars in April vs. 6.035 for Toyota, 4.062 for Mazda and 3.514 for Holden. Volkswagen (3.068), Ford (2.045), Kia (2.011), Mercedes-Benz (1.850), BMW (1.298) and Audi (1.131) follow. The main reason behind this exploit is the continuing strength of the Hyundai i30, boosted by $19,990 with free auto drive-away offer to clear out the current generation of the model. As a result the i30 is up 80% year-on-year in April to 4.143 sales and up 47% year-to-date to 12.654, now only 79 units off the Mazda3 and, incredibly, 229 sales off the overall pole position for 2016 so far… This is the 4th time in the past 12 months the i30 is the best-selling car in Australia whereas it had never happened before. The Accent, up 178% to #10, add up to a very impressive performance by the Korean manufacturer in April.
2. Ford outsells Holden for the first time since 1999
Just as its local manufacturing operations are about to fold, Ford manages to soar by 33% year-on-year this month to 4th position overall with 6.842 sales, outselling its archenemy Holden at 6.710 (-5%). This order had not occurred in over 17 years – since January 1999 exactly when Ford sold 8.591 units vs. 8.335 for Holden. Then, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore were by very far the country’s best-sellers. How times have changed… Holden still leads year-to-date with 29.299 sales (-8%) vs. 25.484 (+18%). Ford’s score has almost everything to do with the tremendous success of the Ranger which accounts for a massive 45% of its sales (more on this below). But the brand’s second best-seller is a surprise: the Mustang at 690 units, meaning it shoots up well inside the Top 50 to a record #35! The demand for the sexy american muscle car is off the charts in Australia, inducing a waiting list going all the way to the 2nd half of 2017.
4. The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling nameplate so far in 2016
Thanks to 3.384 units in April (+21%), the Toyota Hilux reaches 12.883 sales year-to-date (+14%), edging past both the Toyota Corolla (12.784) and Mazda3 (12.733) to snap the year-to-date pole position. It is not the first time this happens but if the Hilux ends 2016 in the lead it would be its very first annual victory. This performance is achieved just as the Hilux is under intense pressure from the Ford Ranger, itself accessing the podium for the very first time in the nameplate’s history at #3 with 2.973 sales (+35%), even outselling the Hilux in the more profitable 4×4 category at 2.543 vs. 2.452.
5. The Mazda CX-3 breaks into the Top 10 for the first time
Illustrating the fast shift from passenger cars towards crossovers and SUVs we are witnessing in Australia (and the world), in April the sub-compact Mazda CX-3 breaks into the Top 10 for the first time, ranking 9th with 1.604 sales, up 15% year-on-year and only a little more than a year after its launch in the country. The CX-3 places 2nd best-selling SUV in Australia this month below the… Mazda CX-5 at 1.675 sales, and is to blame for the weaker Mazda3 sales this year (-5%). The Hyundai Tucson, another recently launched SUV, continues to impress at #15.
6. Australians can’t get enough premium cars
Seven of the ten Top 30 brands delivering double-digit year-on-year gains in April are luxury brands: Mercedes is up 24% to leap to a fantastic 9th place overall and 3.8% market share, beating Subaru thanks to its very successful new SUV lineup including the GLC now #54. BMW is up 58% to jump to #12, Land Rover is up 22% to #19, Lexus up 24% to #20, Volvo up 57% to #21 and Jaguar up 186% to #27. The other two double-digit performers being Chinese LDV (+224%) at a still discreet 110 sales and Kia up a stunning 31% to #11 and 3.025 sales. On the other hand, Jeep continues its freefall at -49%. Recently arrived on Australian shores, U.S. pickup manufacturer Ram sells 29 units, adding up to 83 since launch, and the Citroen C4 Cactus makes its first appearance at #215.
Previous month: Australia March 2016: Third win in 10 months for the Hyundai i30
Full April 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.