Australia June 2015: Hyundai i30 surprise leader in record market

Hyundai i30 Australia June 2015. Picture courtesy Hyundai i30 is the best-selling vehicle in Australia for the first time in history.

* See the Top 48 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

Despite hiccups in the overall economy and mining in Western Australia slowing down drastically, never before had Australians purchased that many new vehicle in a single month: the 125.850 registrations of June are the highest-ever monthly score in the history of automobile in the country, up a full 6% year-on-year and on the previous June 2013 record of 118.758 units. Halfway through the year, new car sales add up to an all-time high of 578.427 deliveries, up 3% on 2014 and 0.8% ahead of the previous best of 573.711 sales established in 2013. At this rate, 2015 will be the best year in history in Australia, beating the 2013 record of 1.136.227 registrations. SUVs keep pushing the market up with sales up 15% year-on-year to 42.256 units and a 33.6% market share. Australian website quotes FCAI chief executive Tony Weber: “According to CommSec, car affordability in Australia is the best it has ever been. Coupled with offers such as capped-price servicing and low interest rate finance, now is a great time for Australians to buy a new car.”

Hyundai Excel Australia 1998. Picture courtesy motoburg.comThe last (and only) time a Hyundai topped the Australian sales charts was in June 1998.

Before we go into the detail of the brands and models ranking, let’s get straight to one of the biggest surprises in recent years: the Hyundai i30 taking the lead of the Australian models ranking for the first time with an astounding 5.521 sales and 4.4% share, up 70% on June 2014. This result, coming on the back of a $19,990 drive-away with free auto promotion, is exceptional both in absolute terms as a pure sales performance and relative terms for Hyundai. The i30 achieves the highest monthly volume of any nameplate in Australia in 8 years, since June 2007 when the Toyota Corolla clocked up 5.89o deliveries… It is the first time since December 2008 (Holden Commodore – 5.413 units) than a car manages to sell over 5.000 units in a single month in Australia. It is only the 2nd month in Australian history that Hyundai places one of its models atop the sales charts, the only previous one being June 1998 when the Excel popped up at #1.

Mazda CX-3 Honda HR-V Australia June 2015. Picture courtesy CX-3 helps Mazda sales up 23% and the HR-V boosts Honda deliveries up 70%.

Toyota maintains its stranglehold over the brands ranking with sales up 3% to 21.501 and 17.1% share, ahead of Holden back up two spots on May to #2 and 9.5% despite a 3% year-on-year decline, Mazda up an impressive 23% to 9.2%, Hyundai up 10% to 8.7% and Mitsubishi up 9% to 7.2%. Ford freefalls 17% to #6 and also slips below Mitsubishi to #6 year-to-date, Volkswagen is up 8% and Honda leaps 70% thanks to the success of the HR-V. Notice also Subaru up 17% (#10), Mercedes up 20% (#12), BMW up 28% (#13), Isuzu up 26% (#14), Audi up 22% (#16), Renault up 36% and Lexus up 60%. Reversely Nissan drops 17% and Jeep slips 15%.

Subaru Outback Australia June 2015. Picture courtesy Outback

In the models ranking, below the stunning performance of the Hyundai i30, the Toyota Hilux drops just one spot to #2 with sales stable year-on-year to 4.281 and the runout mode approaching in the wake of the launch of the new generation in October. The Toyota Corolla manages to edges back past its archenemy the Mazda3 at 4.152 deliveries (-11%) vs. 4.127 (+2%) and maintains its year-to-date overall leadership with 21.750 sales (-2%) vs. 20.417 (-9%) for the Mazda3. The Mitsubishi Triton (#5) and Ford Ranger (#6) both drop one spot but remain solid, as opposed to the Holden Commodore down 12% to #7 and dropping from #4 to #6 in the year-to-date ranking. The VW Golf (+19%), Mazda CX-5 (+14%) and Nissan X-Trail (#11) all shine, as do the Honda Jazz (1.439 sales), HR-V (1.300), Subaru Outback (1.257) and Mazda CX-3 (955)

Previous month: Australia May 2015: Discounted Toyota Hilux takes the lead

One year ago: Australia June 2014: Corolla #1, Mitsubishi Triton breaks records

Full June 2015 Top 48 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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Australia May 2015: Discounted Toyota Hilux takes the lead

Toyota Hilux Australia May 2015. Picture courtesy Hilux is the best-selling vehicle in Australia in May.

* Now updated with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 15 models *

The Australian new car market ends three consecutive months of growth in May at -1% to 93.327 registrations, however the year-to-date total remains in positive territory at +2.5% and 452.577 units. A testimony to the scheduled death of local manufacturing in Australia, out of all new vehicles sold in the country, 26.807 were manufactured in Japan, 20.090 in Thailand, 10.523 in Korea, 7.560 in Germany and only 7.139 at home in Australia. May sales confirm the rise and rise of SUVs at +6% and 32.530 deliveries, adding to 157.415 so far in 2015 (+13%) while passenger cars keep on falling at -7% and 40.592 units this month and 204.366 year-to-date (-5%).

Mitsubishi Triton Australia May 2015. Picture courtesy month of Australian sales for the new gen Mitsubishi Triton.

Even though they were up just 1% year-on-year, light commercial vehicles – namely pickup trucks or “utes” as they are called here – are the heroes of the month in Australia. According to FCAI, LCVs were popular with government (+6%) and business buyers (+3%) while sales to private buyers declined 3%. Private purchases of light commercials are still up 11% year-to-date. Business purchases traditionally tend to surge with the arrival of the end of financial year on June 30. The Toyota Hilux takes the overall lead of the model sales charts for the first time since June 2013 despite sales down 4% year-on-year to 3.173, just as the next generation model was unveiled simultaneously in Bangkok and Sydney on May 21. The Hilux dominates the Mazda3 (-13%) and Toyota Corolla (-31%) which however remains #1 year-to-date.

Nissan Navara Australia May 2015. Picture courtesy new Nissan Navara just launched in Australia.

There are two more utes in the Top 5: the Mitsubishi Triton is up 19% to reach a fantastic 4th place with 2.683 sales. Just as the new generation hit Australian dealerships on May 1, the outgoing Triton is still on Mitsubishi’s catalogue, starting at a bargain basement $20.990 and will continue to be available alongside the new model (priced at $24.490-47.490) for at least the rest of this year, potentially beyond. The Ford Ranger, also entering the vivifying run-out mode waters before the new gen comes out in September, is up 4% to #5, passing the Hyundai i30 year-to-date and now threatening the Holden Commodore for the #4 spot in 2015 at 10.772 deliveries vs. 10.997. The new Nissan Navara has just launched and the new generation Hilux will be available in Australian showrooms in October, so a lot of activity planned for the Australian ute market for the remainder of the year.

Ford Ranger Australia May 2015. Picture courtesy Ford Ranger now ranks at a best-ever #5 so far in 2015 in Australia.

The arrival of the small crossovers such as the Mazda CX-3 (1.035 sales this month) and Honda HR-V (910 deliveries) is substantially impacting the small car segment in Australia: sales of small cars under $40.000 are in freefall at -17% year-on-year in May. Most best-sellers fell sharply this month: in order of popularity the Mazda3 (-13%), Toyota Corolla (-31%), VW Golf (-9%), Hyundai i30 (-35%), Holden Cruze (-25%), Nissan Pulsar (-20%), Ford Focus (-51%) and Honda Civic (-48%) display unusually high decline rates. Only the Kia Cerato (+94%), Mitsubishi Lancer (+44%) and Subaru Impreza (+14%) keep their heads out of the water but for each of them this is because of large price-cuts or very strong driveaway deals.

Hyundai i20 Australia May 2015The Hyundai i20 ranks #9 in May.

In the brands ranking, Toyota remains sovereign, however its sales are down a slightly worrying 11% year-on-year to 16.4% share vs. 17.6% year-to-date. Reversely, Mazda is pushed up 12% by the CX-3 and CX-5 and Hyundai, #3 again, is threatening to kick Holden out of the 2015 podium at 39.092 sales so far this year (-1%) vs. 39.809 (-10%). Mitsubishi gains 3 spots on April to #5, distancing Ford (-14%), Volkswagen (+13%) and Nissan (-29%). Subaru is up an excellent 14% at #9, Honda is lifted by the HR-V (910 deliveries) and up 22%, Kia up 15%, BMW up 29%, Audi up 23% and Renault up 20%.

Previous post: Review of the Australian Tesla Model S

Previous month: Australia April 2015: Mazda CX-3 only 10 units off Top 10

One year ago: Australia May 2014: Jeep Grand Cherokee breaks into Top 10

Full May 2015 Top 50 All-brands and Top 15 models below.

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Tesla Model S: Believe the hype? Yessir.

Tesla Model S Sydney 2015Which one looks more expensive?

The Tesla Model S is without a doubt one of the most impressive success stories of the past 24 months. It ranked #1 in Norway not once, but 3 times: in September 2013, December 2013 and March 2014, totalling 22.000 worldwide sales in 2013, up to 33.000 in 2014 and on track for 40.000 this year. Tesla’s market valuation has been the subject of much talk, being more akin to a high tech company than a car manufacturer: at $26 billion, it is higher than that of Fiat Chrysler ($20 billion) and just under half that of Ford or General Motors, whereas Tesla produces in one year what GM or Ford produce in one day. All this while posting a $US154 million loss in the first quarter of 2015, a three-fold increase over the same period in 2014 and not expecting to make a profit until 2017…

Tesla Sydney dealershipThe Tesla Sydney dealership, one of only 3 in Australia – the two others are in Melbourne.

Should we all believe the hype? There’s only one way to find out. As the Model S rolled out in Australia in early 2015, it’s time for me to test drive this baby and make up my mind once and for all. Despite repeated requests, Tesla won’t communicate official sales figures for Australia (you may have noticed the carmaker does not appear in the local sales charts), citing global quarterly reports instead. Reading between the lines while speaking with the Tesla Sydney team, I learnt that Tesla sales in Australia are not as limited as I expected, with over a hundred shipped in only a couple of months instead of the few dozen I had anticipated. A figure in line with the 178 Infiniti and 177 Maserati sold in the country over the first 4 months of 2015.

Telsa Model S Blue. Picture courtesy exists in blue…

I drove the Tesla Model S P85+ fitted with the $7990 optional high-performance, which lifts its price to AUD$ 135.880 (US$ 105.330). Seems like a lot, but it’s not, because in terms of refinement and performance, it’s roughly equivalent to a BMW M6 Gran Coupe worth $300k here. I wanted to test the Tesla Australia experience as a whole so signed up for a rather anonymous test drive enquiry to test their website’s claim that “We’ll do our best to reach you within one day.” Promises, promises. Fact is, a Tesla rep was on the phone with me only a few hours after my enquiry. Once they realised I was media, my enquiry was fast-tracked and I picked up my burgundy Tesla for the day less than a week after that. So far so good Tesla. I did slap myself on the wrist though when Tesla politely refused to lend me the car for two days. Right. It’s not like I can refuel in the middle of nowhere Australia and come back the next day.

Tesla Charging stationsTesla charging stations: still way too few of them in Australia.

Australian charging stations are still far and few between. In fact, apart from the Sydney store there is only one additional Tesla charging location in town, near the city centre so no use to me on the day. Let’s get the range anxiety out of the way first: no I did not fall flat and embarrassed in the middle of nowhere, but it was a close call. I opted for a 130km return trip to Royal National Park south of Sydney, which should have been well within the bounds of my ride’s claimed 500km range. However with a couple of hours of city driving, a few hardcore accelerations and a peak of 160km/h on the highway, the battery indicator had turned to a very uninviting dark brown by day end: the car’s own way to let you know that you are in deep sh.. I mean trouble. To its credit, it kept me constantly updated km after km and for each trip you input it gives you the return trip consumption. Very handy and making it almost impossible to run out of power. The claimed 500km range is indicated by a nice red line on the central console, but unless you spend the entire day braking (and therefore recharging the batteries) it is almost impossible to stick to that level, supposedly reached at a constant 105 km/h. It didn’t work quite that way for me, even on the highway.

Tesla Model S. Picture courtesy it just me or the Tesla’s rear could be mistaken for a Jaguar?

Stepping inside the Tesla, you instantly forget this is a 4-door sedan as it does feel like a sports car all through and through. The seating position, the instruments and most of all, the acceleration. The range topping P85D, in Australia next month, is said to be the fastest-accelerating production sedan ever, hitting 100 km/h in only 3.4 sec. The P85+ I drove does this in 4.4 sec. And I can confirm that this mind-blowing figure that shatters all pre-conceived ideas I had about electric cars, is legit. My eye sockets still bear the imprints of my astonished eyeballs retracting inside as I reached the next block in less time than it took to write these last 3 words.

Happy Tesla driverImpressed Tesla driver.

Why so surprised? I hear you ask. The one single reason, apart from the fact that you don’t expect that kind of behaviour from a two tonne sedan, is the total absence of noise. Hitting 0 to 100 km/h in just over 4 sec without hearing a hint of exalted roaring from an engine finally unleashing the torque it’s been gagging for is somewhat of an alien experience. In fact I have never experienced such a thing before. It catches you almost every time because absolutely nothing from the car tells you it’s working hard. Effortless yet earth-shatteringly fast. It’s a different sensation altogether, and I now understand why a lot of punters are saying Tesla is manufacturing the car of the future, today. I was worried silence would kill the excitement of driving a fast car, but you have to drive it to realise this is as it should be, and as it should always have been.

Tesla Model S interior. Picture courtesy’s giant central LCD console is as impressive in real life as it is here.

The dashboard’s oversized touchscreen was perhaps the main feature I wanted to see to believe, and if it feels a little distracting for the first ten minutes, it is surprisingly user-friendly and becomes a second nature after half an hour on the road. It controls pretty much everything you want to control in the car, from the suspension mode to the rooftop opening, navigation, voice recognition, music… You name it, it does it. It’ll be hard to get back to anything less. Exterior design has never been Tesla’s forte in my opinion, but that’s just my opinion because as soon as I launched the car, people started pointing and showing their friends. I was the attraction in town, even during a quick drive to one of the wealthiest suburbs in Sydney, Mosman. Although I think it just kinda looks like a Jaguar, a surprisingly high amount of people are clearly trained to it and notice it very quickly. If you want to show off in a car, in 2015 Australia you’d be better off buying a Tesla than a Porsche, so common these days.

No engineNo engine under the bonnet…

It’s always fun to open the bonnet and find storage space, in addition to an already cavernous boot. There are no spare tyres: “One call and a Tesla rep will come and change the tyre for you”. But what if I’m miraculously in Alice Springs all of a sudden? Like the constant broadband wifi connection that goes with the car for the first two years, it’s also little things that show Tesla is taking a different route to reach luxury nirvana and I have to say I’m liking almost everything I’m seeing. Almost, because of the near absence of storage inside the cockpit (yes it’s a sports car but I need somewhere to put my latte so it doesn’t spill pretty please), and the handles supposedly coming out of the doors when sensing your approach having a few hiccups, which actually prevents you from opening the door: until they retract, there are no handles to handle. But fear not: like a computer, the Tesla Model S gets software updates around the clock so it’s easy to fix teething issues. I told you, the future. Can I keep it?

Australia 1946-2014: More detailed Historical Data now available

1958-1968 Wheels magazine covers featuring Japanese models (click on image to enlarge)

1960 Holden and Ford Falcon

* The direct links to 48 Australian Historical Data articles are below *

Australia has now become one of the most complete Historical Data countries on BSCB, covering the past 70 years in detail with official data going back as far as 1946. There is now official annual models rankings for the past 30 years without interruption: from 1986 onwards, a Top 50 from 1991 onwards, and every single monthly Top 20 from July 2002 onwards, that’s over 150 consecutive rankings.

Hyundai Excel Australia 1986The very first Hyundai advertisement in Australia, in April 1986.

Make sure you explore the four Vintage Photo Reports featuring dozens of original pictures: 1949-1959, 1960-1968, 1959-1968 special Japan and 1969-1976… Witness the launch of the Holden, ‘Australia’s own’, in 1949, the arrival of the Ford Falcon in 1960 to challenge the Holden domination, the landing of Japanese brands in the late fifties (Australia was Toyota’s very first export market), the arrival of Hyundai in 1986 (“posing very little threat to existing cars” according to the local press), the crowing of Toyota for the first time monthly in October 1990 and annually in 1991, and the arrival of Chinese manufacturers in 2009…  See how the Holden Torana and Kingswood perform and watch the Datsuns that managed to climb on the models ranking podium in the seventies…

Ford Falcon Australia 1983. Picture courtesy fotostation.ru1983 Ford Falcon

1988 Holden Commodore

From 1978 to 2008, witness one of the longest and most intense model battles in the world between the Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon… If the Commodore took the advantage at the start, the Falcon led the way during most of the eighties, while in the nineties the fight got intense: only 191 units separated the two in 1992, with the Falcon the lucky winner that year. All in all, the Falcon peaked at 15.3% market share in 1987 while the Commodore hit a personal best of 12.8% in 1996 and sold 94,642 units in 1998, a record for any nameplate ever sold in Australia.

2011 Mazda3

From 1996 onwards it was the Commodore who took the reigns of the market, and did so for 15 consecutive years up until 2011 when the Mazda3 became the first imported model to rank #1 in Australia since World War 2… It got worse in 2012 with no local model on the podium. Look into the context in which the Hyundai Excel delivered one of the biggest surprises in the Australian automotive industry when it led the monthly ranking in June 1998The Toyota Corolla ranked #1 for the first time in September 2005 and dislodged the Ford Falcon from the 2nd place in 2006 to finally top the annual ranking in 2013 and do it again in 2014, marking 4 consecutive years with an import in first position.

Australia Historical Data:

Australia 1946-1947: Ford V8 tops post-war sales charts

Australia 1948-1949: Austin A40 dominates sales

Australia 1949-1959: Holden ‘Australia’s own’ launches

Australia 1960-1968: Ford unveils Falcon to challenge Holden

Australia 1958-1968: Toyota and Japan’s first export market

Australia 1969-1976: Ford catches up on Holden, a Datsun on the podium

Australia 1977: Ford Falcon dislodges long-term leader Holden Kingswood

Australia 1978: Holden Kingswood reclaims lead, Commodore #1 in December

Australia 1979-1981: Holden Commodore an instant hit

Australia 1982: Ford Falcon beats Holden Commodore

Australia 1983: Ford Falcon reigns

Australia 1984: Ford Falcon holds onto pole position, Ford Laser on podium

Australia 1985: Ford Falcon increases gap with Holden Commodore

Australia 1986: Hyundai lands, “posing very little threat”

Australia 1987: Ford Falcon hits all-time high 15.3 market share

Australia 1988: Ford Falcon at 13.3% share, holds off new Holden Commodore

Australia 1989: Holden Commodore on top, start of the ‘Falcadore’ era

Australia 1990: Holden Commodore #1, Toyota first Japanese carmaker #1 in October

Australia 1991: Toyota becomes #1 carmaker for the first time

Australia 1992: Ford Falcon passes Commodore for 191 units!

Australia 1993: Ford Falcon leads at 11.7%, Mitsubishi Magna #3 at 6.8%

Australia 1994: Holden Commodore reclaims top spot

Australia 1995: Last year of reign for Ford Falcon – hits 12.7%

Australia 1996: Commodore at record 12.8%, Hyundai Excel #3

Australia 1997: Commodore and Falcon down, Kia lands

Australia 1998: Commodore hits highest ever volume, Hyundai Excel #1 in June!

Australia 1999: Commodore leads but down 10%

Australia 2000: Commodore enjoys 5th year in a row at #1

Australia 2001: Commodore, Falcon and Toyota Corolla on podium

Australia 2002: Commodore in command, breaks monthly record

Australia 2003: Ford Falcon teases Holden Commodore

Australia 2004: Commodore undisputed leader

Australia 2005: Commodore and Falcon still dominate but slow down, Corolla #1 in September

Australia 2006: Commodore limits fall thanks to new gen, Falcon down to #3!

Australia 2007: Commodore resists new Corolla assault in millionaire market, Falcon down to #5

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

Australia 2009: Commodore hits lowest volume ever, Mazda3 #1 in January, the Chinese arrive

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

Australia 2011: Mazda3 breaks Holden Commodore domination and The best-sellers Sate by State

Australia 2011: The Chinese have well and truly landed

Australia 2012: Mazda3 #1, no local model on podiumAll-models ranking, and State by State

Australia 2013: Toyota Corolla finally tops record market, and The best-sellers State by State

Australia 2014: Toyota Corolla holds onto top spot, and The best-sellers State by State

Australia: 1984-2014 Nameplates records now available

Australia April 2015: Mazda CX-3 only 3 units off Top 10

Mazda CX-3 Australia April 2015. Picture courtesy expected, the Mazda CX-3 is an instant hit in Australia.

* See the Top 15 best-selling models and Top 48 All-brands by clicking on the title *

Each month Australian car buyers fall a little more in love with SUVs, solely responsible for the market year-on-year gain in April. Overall sales are up 1% to 81,656 registrations this month and up 3.5% to 350.250 year-to-date. SUV sales account 36.3% of the Australian market vs. 42.9% for traditional passenger cars, with every SUV segment gaining at least 11% year-on-year and the small SUV segment taking off at +31%. Reversely, passenger cars fall 10.3% with upper large (-30%), micro (-27%), large (-17%) and small cars (-14%) faring the worst. We are witnessing a complete turnaround in the format preference of Australian consumers.

VW Golf Australia April 2015. Picture courtesy Golf helps Volkswagen hit its highest Australian ranking in potentially 40 years…

Brand-wise, Toyota once again sells more than the next two marques combined at 15.299 (+2%), with Mazda getting a 15% boost to 8.068 and Hyundai (-5%) keeping Holden (-12%) off the podium for the third consecutive month. Hyundai is now only 1.030 sales below Holden year-to-date. Ford (-20%) is still in great difficulty but is back up to the 5th place it held over FY2014, followed by Volkswagen (+14%) hitting its best Australian monthly ranking (#6) in potentially 40 years – the German manufacturer last ranked that high annually in 1967, peaking at #3 overall from 1958 to 1961, during the heyday of the Beetle, then produced locally. Its Golf is up 26% year-on-year to #7 while the Polo is up 85%, the Jetta up 28% and the Amarok up 13%. Finally, notice Mercedes (+17%) edging past Honda (+9%) to claim a spot in the Top 10.

Small SUV Australia April 2015. Picture courtesy SUVs are all the rage in Australia.

The Toyota Corolla takes a clear advantage over its pursuants in April despite sales down 2% on a year ago (3.238), distancing the Toyota Hilux (2.789) and Mazda3 (2.365). The Corolla leads the race for the title of 2015 best-seller with 14.910 units after 4 months vs. 13.424 for its archenemy the Mazda3, which seems to have been impacted full frontal by the astonishing success of the Mazda CX-3, shooting up directly to #11 for its 2nd month in market with a fantastic 1,396 sales and 1.7% share, only… 3 units off a historical Top 10 ranking. This is the best ranking the CX-3 has achieved in the world so far, being only at #22 at home in Japan in March. The CX-3 already ranks third SUV overall below fellow stablemate the CX-5 – not impacted at all at +21% and 1,868 units – and the Toyota RAV4 at 1,399 sales.

Previous post: Australia 1st Quarter 2015: Mazda2 soars to segment lead

Previous month: Australia March 2015: SUV sales push market up 8%

One year ago: Australia April 2014: Toyota Prado, RAV4 hit all-time high rankings

Full April 2015 Top 15 models and Top 48 All-brands below.

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Australia 1st Quarter 2015: Mazda2 soars to segment lead

Mazda2 Australia March 2015. Picture courtesy Mazda2 now leads its segment in Australia.

* See the Top 295 All-models ranking by clicking on the title *

As is the tradition every quarter on BSCB, I can now share with you an All-models ranking for Australia. A very dynamic market up 4% year-on-year to 277,594 registrations over the period, Australia gets a constant flow of new models with great sales potential and the 1st Quarter of 2015 is no exception as we’ll see further down. Just outside the familiar Top 10, the Nissan X-Trail gets a very sizeable boost due to the new generation, up 9 spots on its Q4 2014 ranking to #11 and 4,989 sales, landing at a very impressive 2nd place in the overall Australian SUV ranking over the period – it is only beaten by the Mazda CX-5 improving further to #7. Also thanks to a much-needed facelift, the Mazda2 is up 10 spots on the previous quarter to #16 with 4,049 sales, catapulted into its segment’s lead above the Toyota Yaris (#17) and Hyundai i20 (#20).

Mercedes C Class Australia March 2015. Picture courtesy of Mercedes C-Class is up to #23 over the period.

The Mercedes C-Class goes from strength to strength: from #55 in Q3 2014 to #33 in Q4 to #23 now thanks to a stunning 3,254 sales, leaving its direct competitors in the dust: the BMW 3 Series is #72 and the Audi A4 #93. The Nissan Qashqai gains 15 spots over last quarter to an excellent #25, the Subaru Outback sells more in this quarter (2,595) than in the whole of last year (2,457) as does the Subaru Liberty (1,085 vs. 1,041) both thanks to new models, the Jeep Cherokee gains a further 12 spots to #34, the Kia Sportage is up a surprising 20 ranks to #38, the Audi Q3 jumps to #74 and the Mercedes GLA cracks the Top 100 at #92, however the Hyundai Genesis (#170) and Lexus RC (#180) have plateaued already.

Mazda CX-3 Australia March 2015The Mazda CX-3 has landed in Australia.

There are 9 all-new nameplates making their first appearance in the Australian ranking over the period, frankly led by the Honda HR-V landing directly at #41 with 2,122 sales including 1,081 in March alone. A tremendous start for Honda’s baby SUV, instantly placing it at the same level as the brand’s veteran blockbuster CR-V (#36). There may be an even more promising new entrant in the sales charts: the Mazda CX-3 arrives at #77 with 865, Australia being one of the first countries in the world to get this pocket rocket SUV after Japan. The Hyundai Sonata (#140), Renault Captur (#148) and Suzuki Celerio (#162) are the only other new nameplates to make it into the Top 200, along with one very exciting newcomer that you will discover below the jump…

Previous post: Australia March 2015: SUV sales push market up 8%

Previous Quarterly update: Australia 4th Quarter 2015: Nissan X-Trail back in Top 20

One year ago: Australia 1st Quarter 2014: Now with Top 300 All-models ranking

Full Q1 2015 Top 295 All-models ranking vs. Q4 2014 and FY 2014 full sales below.

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Australia March 2015: SUV sales pull market up 8%

Subaru Outback Australia March 2015Subaru Outback sales are up a staggering 411% year-on-year in March.

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 25 brands by clicking on the title *

Just as Autumn settles in, the Australian new car market is back to shiny growth rates in March at +8% to 105,054 registrations, a new all-time March record and the first time the market is above 100,000 units in March, bringing the first quarter total to 277,594 units, up 4% on 2014. Looking at the results by state, Queensland (Brisbane) at +12% and New South Wales (Sydney) at +10% lead the way, while Western Australia (Perth) drops 3% as the mining boom there continues to cool off. The sign of a healthy growth, rentals (+13%), private and government sales (both at +9%) pull the market up while business sales are up 6%. The SUV segment continues to post ever-stronger sales: up 15% in March to 35,503 units or a 33.8% market share, light commercials are up 10% and passenger vehicles are up 2%.

Toyota Corolla Australia March 2015Thanks to record March sales, the Toyota Corolla claims the #1 year-to-date spot.

Despite progressing slower than the market at +4%, Toyota leads by far once again with 19,082 units and 18.2% share, followed by Mazda up 11% to 10,217 units, to BSCB’s knowledge the first time the all-imports Japanese carmaker crosses the monthly 10,000 deliveries mark in Australia. Hyundai is up 1% to 8.3% share, remaining above Holden down a harsh 13% to 8.2%, however Holden holds onto its third position year-to-date so far at 8.9% vs. 8.5% for the Korean manufacturer. Nissan is up a very dynamic 19%, Mitsubishi up 16%, keeping Ford stuck in a paltry 7th place at 6,203 sales, down 12% on March 2014. Volkswagen (+20%), Audi (+22%), Suzuki (+25%), Mercedes (+30%), Isuzu (+50%), Honda (+75% thanks to a very strong start of the HR-V at 1,081 sales), Porsche (+87%), Mini (+99%) and Maserati (+263%) all lodge very impressive year-on-year gains.

Honda HR-V Australia March 2015. Picture courtesy Honda HR-V confirms its strong start with 1,081 sales this month.

In the models ranking, the Toyota Corolla posts its best-ever August score at 4,261 sales, enabling the nameplate to reclaim the year-to-date pole position off the Mazda3 at 11,672 units (+13%) vs. 11,059 (-9%). The Toyota Hilux rounds up the podium at 3,346 sales just above the Mitsubishi Triton in full runout mode at 2,940 units, while Mazda CX-5 up 21% to #7, the VW Golf up 69% to #9, Nissan X-Trail up to #11, Mercedes C-Class up 166% and Subaru Outback up 411% thanks to the new model also impress.

Previous month: Australia February 2015: Toyota Corolla #1, Mazda CX-5 hits record #6

One year ago: Australia March 2014: New sedan pushes Toyota Corolla up to #1

Full March 2015 Top 10 models and Top 25 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Australia February 2015: Toyota Corolla #1, Mazda CX-5 hits record #6

Mazda CX-5 Australia February 2015. Picture courtesy Mazda CX-5 reaches its all-time highest ranking in Australia this month.

* UPDATED with detailed SUV sales data *

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 47 All-brands by clicking on the title *

Flat January sales make room for a strong result in February in Australia: +4% year-on-year to 90,424 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 2% to 172,540 units. This has now become a habit: regular passenger car sales are down this month whereas SUV and luxury vehicle sales are in great shape. Brand-wise, just as it celebrates 6 million vehicles sold since its arrival in the country in 1958, Toyota is stable at 16,243 sales and 18% share, above Mazda at 10%. Hyundai overtakes Holden to climb back on the podium at 8,003 sales (+3%) vs. 7,809 (-10%) for the Australian brand. It is the 4th time in the past 6 months that Hyundai outsells Holden “at home” in Australia – a sign of things to come?

1965 Toyota Corona 2015 Toyota Camry Australia February 2015Toyota celebrates 6 million vehicles sold in Australia since its debut here in 1958.

Lifted by a discounted runout Triton (#7), Mitsubishi is up 33% to #5 at 6.9% share, Nissan is up 34% to #6, meaning both Japanese manufacturers distance Ford down to a lowest-ever #7 and 5.6% share, down a depressing 20% on February 2014. Since Ford’s announcement 18 months ago that it would stop local manufacturing by 2017, the brand’s sales have been in freefall, as it was the case for Mitsubishi back in 2009 when faced with the same decision of abandoning manufacturing in the country. Next in line is Holden which shouldn’t keep its hopes for a podium ranking in FY2015 too high.

Foton Tunland Australia February 2015Foton launched a mine-spec of its Tunland ute in Australia.

Strong performers in February include Honda up 9% thanks to the all-new HR-V debuting with a very strong month (825 sales), Mercedes boosted by the all-new C-Class (842 sales) up 15% to #11, BMW also up 15% and back above Audi (+9%) at #14, Jeep up 11%, Suzuki up 21%, Mini up 22%, Renault up 28%, Peugeot up 43%, Isuzu up 54% and Skoda up 63%. Foton (#28) is the best-selling Chinese manufacturer for the 2nd straight month above LDV (#36) while Great Wall (#39 at -93%) disintegrates and ranks below Chery (#38) for the first time ever. The announced launch of SUV-exclusive Haval in the country cannot come soon enough!

Toyota Corolla RZ Australia February 2015The Toyota Corolla reclaims the #1 spot in Australia in February.

The Toyota Corolla is back atop a models ranking in led in 2013 and 2014 thanks sales up 18% year-on-year to 3,939 units while the Mazda3 is down 9% to 3,598 but keeps the year-to-date lead for now at 7,501 deliveries (-12%) vs. 7,411 (+18%) for the Corolla. The Toyota Hilux remains 3rd despite sales down 15%, the Holden Commodore (-9%) is up two spots on last month to #4 but the performance of the month is delivered by the Mazda CX-5, once again the best-selling SUV in Australia and hitting its best-ever monthly ranking in the country at #6 thanks to sales up 19% to 2,085 (previous best: #7 in January and July 2014). This may be the last few months at this level for the CX-5 as Australia is one of the first countries in the world to receive the smaller CX-3 which will undeniably steal sales from its big bruva. Notice also the Nissan X-Trail extremely strong at #11 and the Mitsubishi ASX surprisingly up 154% year-on-year in February.

Previous month: Australia January 2015: Mazda3 leads, Holden Cruze up to #5

One year ago: Australia February 2014: Mazda3 remains most popular

Full February 2015 Top 10 models and Top 47 All-brands below.

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Australia January 2015: Mazda3 leads, Holden Cruze up to #5

Mazda3 Australia January 2015. Picture courtesy Mazda3 starts the 2015 race in front.

* UPDATED – Discover the Top 20 best-selling models and Top 47 All brands *

New car sales in Australia are steady in January at -0.2% to 82,116 registrations, however this masks greatly varying behaviours by segments: passenger cars are down 4% while SUVs continues their climb, up a splendid 7% year-on-year to 27,679 registrations or 33.7% market share vs. 31.5% a year ago. Light (+15%) and medium (+13%) cars perform the best, with small SUVs up 18%. Toyota is master in command once again with 16.6% share, Mazda remains 2nd with 11% share despite sales down 4% and above Holden down 5% to 10.2% share. Hyundai holds onto the 4th spot it held over the Full Year 2014, Ford is down a catastrophic 21% to just 6.5% share while Nissan (+7%), Volkswagen (+9%) and Honda (+9%) all perform strongly inside the Top 10.

Mercedes C Class Australia January 2015. Picture courtesy of new C-Class pushes Mercedes up 28% in Australia.

Mercedes once again knocks a the Top 10’s door with sales up an extravagant 28% year-on-year to 2,594 units and 3.2% share, mainly due to the success of the new C-Class and CLA. Jeep drops to #13 and sees its exponential growth of the past couple of years subdued at ‘just’ +14% to 2,283 sales, the main culprit being the Grand Cherokee down a harsh 27% this month. Audi continues to evolve at record heights with sales up 14% to #14, overtaking BMW up 12% to #15.

Ford Falcon Australia January 2015. Picture courtesy new model doesn’t prevent the Ford Falcon to sink to its lowest-ever monthly volume.

Leader in 2011 and 2012 but #2 in 2013 and 2014, the Mazda3 starts the race to the 2015 title of best-selling nameplate in Australia in front despite a January score 14% lower than a year ago at 3,903 units and 4.8% share vs. +18% and 3,472 sales for its archenemy the Toyota Corolla. The Mazda3 is used to strong starts early in the year: it has now ranked #1 in January for the third straight year, and reaching this level in January is in no way an indication of the Full Year ranking: the 3 ranked #2 in 2011 and finished the year on top while ranking #1 in 2013 and 2014 and ending the race in 2nd place.

Toyota Hilux 2016. Picture courtesy Toyota Hilux pictures were leaked online less than 24 hours ago.

After being shockingly outsold by the Mitsubishi Triton in December, the Toyota Hilux reclaims the #1 pickup spot in January at #3 overall despite sales down 8% to 2,331. Just as spy shots of the new generation Hilux are starting to leak online exactly a year ahead of its 2016 scheduled launch in Australia, the Hilux is bracing for a tough 2015 as the majority of its competitors will relaunch with markedly improved models. In fact, the Ford Ranger is up 10% this month to #7, the Holden Colorado is up 7% to #10 and the Mazda BT-50 is up 22% to #14.

Holden Cruze Australia January 2015Helped by its facelift, the Holden Cruze is back up to #5.

Benefiting from a dubious facelift going on sale on January 20, the Holden Cruze is back inside the Australian Top 10 and above its stablemate the Holden Commodore in 5th place with sales up 34% on January 2014 to 1,870. This is the Cruze’s best ranking at home since July 2013 and only its third time inside the Top 5 in the past two years. Notice also the good performances of the Hyundai ix35 at #9 and the Nissan X-Trail more than doubling its sales year-on-year to #15 thanks to the new generation.

Holden Commodore Ford Falcon Ute Australia January 2015. Picture courtesy specialty: Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon Utes

Onto bad news now: Ford has refreshed the Falcon for the last time before local production is scheduled to end in 2017, launching the ‘swan song’ FG X generation last December. For its first full month on sale in January, the Falcon only manages a disastrous 381 sales across Australia, the worst monthly sales performance in the 65-year-old nameplate’s history. This is below the last low of 396 in October at a time when the previous generation FG Mk2 was deep in runout. All of the Blue Oval’s locally made vehicles dropped sharply, with the Falcon Ute falling even further (-31%) and the Territory down 6%. Add to this the very weak starts of the Focus (-44%), Fiesta (-40%) and Kuga (-43%) and Ford is on track to lodge an 11th consecutive year of Australian sales decline in 2015, an uninterrupted stretch since 2004 when it sold 135.172 units, reduced to 79,703 in 2014. Ford is paying dearly the price of stopping local production and is not assimilated as ‘truly Australian’ anymore by carbuyers here.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2014: Discover the best-sellers State by State

Original FY2014 post: Australia Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla holds onto top spot

Previous month: Australia December 2014: Discounted Triton outsells Hilux

One year ago: Australia January 2014: Mazda3 up to highest market share ever

Full January 2015 Top 20 models and Top 47 All-brands below.

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Australia Full Year 2014: Discover the best-sellers State by State

Toyota Hilux Australia 2014. Picture courtesy of Hilux

* See each State’s Top 50 best-selling models & Top 30 brands by clicking on the title *

For the 4th consecutive year on BSCB I can share with you the best-sellers in each Australian State/Territory, this time extending the data to the State Top 50 models and Top 30 brands. This is exclusive data you won’t find anywhere else on the web! Like in 2013, the Toyota Hilux is the only nameplate to top 3 States, with the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 each winning in two and the Holden Commodore in one. The overall Australian market dipped by 2% in 2014 to 1.113.224 sales with Toyota, Holden and Mazda dominating the manufacturers ranking and the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Toyota Hilux atop the models sales charts. However sales by State/Territory vary greatly…

VW Golf Australia 2014. Picture courtesy outsells Holden in ACT and the Golf is #2.

Australian Capital Territory (Canberra)

New car sales in ACT are down 3% to 17,277 units and much more fragmented than nationally: Toyota holds just 12% market share (vs. 18.3% nationally) just above Mazda at 11.2% and Hyundai at 8.9%. The big surprise is Volkswagen lodging by far its best performance in the country: only 25 sales off a podium finish and overtaking Holden at 8.8% share. Notice also Jeep (3.2% share), BMW (2.3%) and Audi (2.2%) clearly over-performing on their national level while Mercedes (1.9%) is markedly below.

Illustrating the German manufacturer’s exceptional performance in ACT, the VW Golf is up 10% and two spots on 2013 to finish #2 nameplate below only the Mazda3 while both the VW Polo (#19) and Amarok (#20) find their way inside the Top 20. The Hyundai i30 drops one spot on 2013 to #3, still its highest ranking state-wise, and is followed by the Toyota Corolla and Holden Commodore. The Mazda CX-5 also hits its best State ranking at #6 thanks to sales up 26%, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee breaks into the Top 10 – ACT being the only State/Territory where it does so.

Audi A3 Australia 2014. Picture courtesy Audi A3 is among the 50 most popular nameplates in New South Wales.

New South Wales (Sydney)

NSW reinforces its role as the new vehicle locomotive of the country, the only State to see its volume improve on 2013 with sales up 1.5% to 356,174 units. Below Toyota still sovereign at 18% share (but down from 19.1% in 2013), Mazda remains #2 while Hyundai passes Holden to snap up a podium ranking. At #12, Jeep is up even faster than nationally (+47%), while Audi is above BMW. Confirming New South Wales sets the tone for the national market, the Top 10 models is identical to the national one except for the Mazda CX-5 (#8) and Toyota Camry (#9) exchanging spots. The Audi A3 lodges its only Top 50 State ranking, doubling its sales vs. 2013 to #47 and 2,199 units.

Toyota Land Cruiser PU Australia 2014The Toyota Land Cruiser Ute is #6 in Northern Territory…

Northern Territory (Darwin)

Expanding from the top North of the country all the way to Alice Springs and Uluru/Ayers Rock, the Nothern Territory is however a minuscule market: down 3.5% to just 10,993 registrations in 2014. Northern Territory is Toyota Territory: the Japanese manufacturer holds an out-of-this-world 38.8% market share here and sells almost 5 times the amount of the #2: a surprisingly strong Mitsubishi. Holden comes in third while Hyundai, Mazda and Nissan all outsell Ford. Suzuki is inside the Top 10, Great Wall is down 48% to #15 but ranked at #10 in 2013 and Foton lands at #21.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Australia 2014. Picture courtesy…and the Toyota FJ Cruiser is inside the Top 50.

The NT models ranking is a testimony to the implacable domination of Toyota, holding all the Top 6 spots and placing 8 models in the Top 9! The Hilux grabs 11.3% of the market, above the Corolla and Prado. The Land Cruiser Pickup is at a State-best #6 with 2.9% share, as is the Land Cruiser Wagon at #8 and 2.7%. The Hyundai i20 is the best-selling non-Toyota passenger car at #11, a real success with rental companies, while the Mazda3 is down 32% and 8 ranks on 2013 to a paltry #12. The Great Wall V-Series Pickup is down 43% to #28 but ranked #13 in 2013. Finally, notice the Toyota FJ Cruiser lodging its only State Top 50 ranking at #47 and the Nissan Patrol Wagon at #49.

Holden Colorado Australia 2014. Picture courtesy of Holden Colorado reaches its highest State ranking in Queensland.

Queensland (Brisbane)

Sales in Queensland suffer in 2014 at -4% year-on-year but remain well above the 200k mark at 223,519 units. With no recent history of local automotive manufacturing in the State, import-strong carmakers hold more share in Queensland: Toyota sells more than double any other brand at 20.4%, followed by Mazda and Hyundai, then Holden. Mitsubishi remains strong at #5 and 7.7% share vs. 6.2% nationally, while Ford tumbles down to #7 and 6.2% vs. #5 and 7.2% nationally. Isuzu is #13 vs. #17 nationally, whereas Mercedes, BMW and Audi are all frankly weaker than their national levels.

Queensland is the kingdom of pickup trucks, nicknamed “utes” in Australia (for utility): they are 5 in the Top 10 best-sellers. The Toyota Hilux logically takes the lead with just under 10,000 sales, the Mitsubishi Triton remains 5th, the Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado both gain one spot on 2013 to rank #6 and #7 respectively and the Nissan Navara is #10. Add to these the Mazda BT-50 at #14 and the Isuzu D-Max at #17 for the complete picture.

Holden Commodore Australia 2014. Picture courtesy Holden Commodore is #1 ‘at home’ in South Australia.

South Australia (Adelaide)

The South Australian new vehicle market is down 1% this year to 69,625 sales. This is where Holden started as a saddlery manufacturer in 1856, and will continue manufacturing cars until 2017 in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide. As such, Holden is logically much stronger here but still surrenders the #1 brand title to Toyota, and by a large margin: 9,885 sales and 14.2% vs. 13,157 and 18.9% for the Japanese manufacturer. Once also manufacturing in the State, Mitsubishi was still on the SA podium in 2013 but is down to #4 this year, below Mazda but above Ford and Hyundai, relatively weak here. The Holden Commodore snaps its only State win here like in 2013, comfortably reinforcing its advantage over all other nameplates thanks to sales up 23% to 3,695 units. The Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla follow, with the Ford Ranger (+26%) just below the Toyota Hilux. The Holden Cruze tumbles down 31% and 4 spots to #6 which is still its best State ranking.

Ford Ranger Tasmania 2014. Picture courtesy Ford Ranger outsells the Toyota Hilux in Tasmania.

Tasmania (Hobart)

New car sales in Tasmania are the hardest hit in 2014: down 10% year-on-year to 17,571 registrations. Below Toyota at 16.4%, Mitsubishi lodges its best state result in Tasmania in 2nd place with a very strong 10.4% share, improving on the 9.8% it held in 2013. Follow Hyundai (+8%), Holden (-10%) and Ford, down a devastating 34% while Subaru at #8 is also at its State best with 5.9% share. The Toyota Corolla wins the State but is threatened by the Ford Ranger, only 19 units below and outselling the Toyota Hilux in its first and only Australian State this year. The Mitsubishi Triton (#4), Hyundai i20 (#6), Mitsubishi ASX (#7) and Subaru XV (#11) all lodge their highest State ranking here in Tasmania.

Mercedes C Class Australia 2014. Picture courtesy holds 4.2% of the Victorian car market vs. 2.4% outside.

Victoria (Melbourne)

The Victorian new car market remains above the 300k mark – but just, at -1.5% to 302,722 units in 2014. Here Toyota is weaker (15.7%), Holden stronger (10.5%) and Ford, based and still manufacturing in Geelong south of Melbourne, is logically much stronger than nationally: on the podium despite sales down 11% to 26,669 and 8.8% share. Mazda and Hyundai improve their share on 2013 but are a notch below their national levels. Victorian carbuyers have distinctly posher tastes: Mercedes is up to #9 and 4.2% share vs. 2.4% in the rest of the country, Victoria accounting for a whopping 40% of its national sales.

Renault Clio Australia 2014. Picture courtesy of half of all Renault buyers in Australia are in Victoria.

Similarly, BMW sales in Victoria account for 38.9% of its national total at 2.9% share vs. 1.7% outside of the state and Renault has found 45.6% of its Australian customers in Victoria at 4,564 sales and 1.5% share vs. 0.65% in the rest of the country. The Mazda3 takes the crown in Victoria like in 2013, the Holden Commodore is back above the Toyota Corolla thanks to sales up 13%, the Hyundai i10 is up 4 spots to #4, and the Ford Ranger up 7 to #7. The Mercedes C-Class at #23 and BMW 3 Series at #37 lodge their only 2014 Top 50 State ranking here.

Hyundai i20 Australia 2014. Picture courtesy holds just under 12% of the Western Australian market.

Western Australia (Perth)

Covering almost half the country, Western Australia is however only the 4th largest-selling state, down a tough 8% on a year ago to 115,343. Toyota reaches its highest market share in Western Australia at 20.7% as does Hyundai at 11.8%, also hitting its highest State ranking at #2. Holden, Ford and Mazda follow while Jeep lodges its very first State Top 10 ranking thanks to 3,591 sales and 3.1% share. Fiat (+53%), Renault (+72%) and, bizarrely, Opel (+47%), now discontinued, are some of the biggest gainers in the Top 50. Toyota holds the two top spots in the models ranking with the Hilux and Corolla, the Hyundai i30 is down 14% but stays on the podium above the Mazda3, the Ford Ranger stays 5th, the Toyota Prado is up 3 spots to #6 and the Hyundai ix35 reaches its highest State ranking at #7, one of 3 Hyundais in the Top 8 along with the i20 at #8.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla holds onto top spot

Previous year: Australia Full Year 2013 by State: Toyota Hilux tops 3 states

Two years ago: Australia Full Year 2012: Now with exclusive rankings by State!

Full Year 2014 Top 50 models & Top 30 brands in ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC & WA below.

All rankings include Full Year 2013 figures as well.

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