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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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