* See the Top 20 best-selling models and Top 48 All-brands by clicking on the title! *
For the first time since December 2011, new car sales in Australia slow down at -2% year-on-year to 92,662 registrations, which means the year-to-date total is now up ‘only’ 3% on 2012 at 849,449 units (still a record at this stage of the year) and * shock, horror! * a new all-time high year could be in jeopardy if the market continues to drop. Now that the Federal election is over and Australia has a new Prime Minister, the uncertainty over changes to Fringe Benefits Tax rules (see explanation here) should not have affected sales negatively anymore, especially given interest rates fell to a new low and cars are more affordable than ever.
Car experts are scratching their heads over this decline and some wonder whether the weaker sales in the main mining states – Queensland, West Australia and the Northern Territory – down by between 5.5 and 8.2% year-on-year, are enough to explain it. I will venture a much simpler reason. Mazda’s hugely successful annual sale day (the M Day) was brought forward a month to August this year, resulting in a 25% decline for the brand or 2,800 units less in September 2013 vs. 2012. The overall market is down 2,100 units on September 2012 so without Mazda’s decline it would be in positive.
In September the Toyota Corolla lodges its third month in pole position for the year thanks to 3,443 sales and 3.7% but more importantly it’s the 5th time in the last 6 months it beats the Mazda3, 2011 and 2012 leader, down to #3 and 3,052 units this month, bringing its year-to-date lead to 1,258 units at 32,039 vs. 30,781. If the Corolla maintains this lead over the Full Year, it will be the first ever year it finishes at #1 in Australia, becoming only the 2nd imported model to ever top the Australian sales charts with the Mazda3. You can also check out a post I wrote last year: Australia: Could 2013 be the year of the Toyota Corolla?
Utes are back in force this month, with the Toyota Hilux at #2 and now threatening the Mazda3 for 2nd place year-to-date, the Nissan Navara up 7 spots to #6 and Ford Ranger up 6 to #8. The Holden Commodore seems to have stabilised around 3% share, is now #6 year-to-date and should overtake its assembly line partner the Holden Cruze next month. Very nice result for the VW Golf helped by a $22,990 drive-away promotional pricing, delivering its first Top 10 finish in almost a year at #9, seemingly showing that Volkswagen may have bounced back from its recall controversy earlier this year.
Hyundai passes Mazda to become the third most popular brand in the country this month below Toyota and Holden with sales up 13% on September 2012. The Korean manufacturer places the i30 in 5th position with 2.9% share, the ix35 up 78% year-on-year to #13 and the i20 topping its segment at #15 thanks to sales up 56% to 1,566 units. Finally, the Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to impress at an estimated 19th place.
Previous month: Australia August 2013: Mazda3 #1, Toyota RAV4 hits all-time high
Full September 2013 Top 20 models and Top 48 All-brands Ranking Tables below.