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Australia December 2015: Camry first Australian-made #1 in 4.5 years

Toyota Camry Australia December 2015. Picture courtesy Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in Australia in December. Picture

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Australian new car sales are up 3% year-on-year in December to 99.616 units, lifting the annual total to an all-time record 1.155.408 registrations which we will analyse in detail in a separate post. Australian December figures are always a biased by end-of-year promotions and carmaker demo sales aimed at meeting annual targets, and 2015 furthers this trend: business, government and rental sales are all up year-on-year whereas private sales are down. Segment-wise, the passenger car market continues its fall (-2%) to 44.3% share while SUVs are again unstoppable (+4%) to 35.6% share. Light commercials are down 2% to 17% share and heavy commercials up 0.2% to 3.1% share.

Mitsubishi ASX Australia December 2015. Picture courtesy Mitsubishi ASX hits its highest ever Australian ranking this month.

Brand-wise, Toyota (+12%) and Mazda (+11%) frankly outpace the market while Holden lodges an uncharacteristic and staggering year-on-year gain at +18%, enough to conveniently edge back past Hyundai in the annual ranking at 102.951 sales vs. 102.004. This “illogical” evolution seems to indicate a very high amount of demo sales pre-registered in 2015. Expect a very slow start of 2016 for Holden. Mitsubishi jumps to 4th overall thanks to sharp pricing on the ASX – itself hitting a best-ever #8 ranking. Mercedes is up a splendid 28% to break back into the Top 10 at #10.

Toyota Camry Australia 1995The last (and only) time the Camry topped Australian sales charts, it looked like this.

Over in the models ranking, for the first time since July 2011 – the last month the Holden Commodore topped sales at home, an Australian-made nameplate is the best-seller. The Toyota Camry has regularly delivered strong December sales: (#3 in December 2013 and #2 in December 2012) but this month is exceptional: it stuns by selling 5.321 units for a 5.3% market share, only the second time in history after January 1995 that the Camry leads Australian sales charts outright. It’s the Camry’s highest ever monthly volume in the country and its highest market share since December 2004 when it reached 5.7%. However, far from announcing a revival of the nameplate in Australia, this is a freak event closely linked to the imminent closure of the Camry Melbourne factory in 2017. Toyota is heavily discounting the Camry down to $28,990 along with 0% finance deals in order to keep demand high and ensure the Melbourne factory remains viable all the way up to its shutdown. In addition to this, there is a seasonal effect where Toyota registered a significant amount of dealer demo cars in December, cars that will only truly get a new home in the first months of 2016.

Previous month: Australia November 2015: Nissan shines in strongest November ever

One year ago: Australia December 2014: Discounted Mitsubishi Triton outsells Hilux for 1st time

Full December 2015 Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.

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