* Now updated with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models – click on title to see *
On paper, the Australian new vehicle market has enjoyed a balmy end of winter with August sales up 4.6% year-on-year to 94.909 units, keeping the year-to-date tally at a record-breaking 784.380 registrations, up 3% on the same period a year ago. Looking into sales by channel though, alarm bells continue to ring as it was already the case in July. The market growth is solely sustained by business fleet sales and rental sales whereas private sales are plummeting. August fleets are up a very generous 21.5% to 38.738 and rentals are up 24.5% to 6.203 but private purchases freefall 8.3% to 43.802 As these are a more accurate barometer of consumer confidence, the truth is the sky isn’t all that sunny after all in Australia. SUV and light commercial sales continue to outpace the market at the detriment of passenger cars, with respective market shares now standing at 38.3%, 17.6% and 41%.
The best performing states are Northern Territory (Darwin) up 15% to 881 registrations, South Australia (Adelaide) up 14% to 5.785 and Victoria (Melbourne) up 10% to 27.096. New South Wales up 4% to 31.788 and Tasmania (Hobart) up 2% to 1.743 are close to the national average whereas declining states are Queensland (Brisbane) down 1% to 18.062, ACT (Canberra) down 3% to 1.410 and Western Australia (Perth) down 3% and suffering again from the deceleration of the mining industry. The most popular sources of vehicles sold in Australia this month are Japan (27.346), Thailand (22.783), Korea (12.324), Australia (7.389), Germany (6.667), the USA (4.695), the UK (3.042), Spain (1257), South Africa (1248) and Hungary (911).
In the brands ranking, Toyota stuns with a gigantic 29% year-on-year gain to 18.650 sales and a mammoth 19.7% market share – to be compared to 17.7% year-to-date – more than double its immediate follower Mazda, up a timid 1% to 9.258 and 9.8%. Holden (-3%) gets back one spot to #4 as does Ford (+28%) boosted again by the Ranger. This is the result of the crumbling apart of Hyundai (-31%) now that the i30 stock is depleting ahead of the launch of the new model in early 2017. Mitsubishi (+10%) and Nissan (+19%) drive faster than the market whereas Volkswagen falls flat (-19%). Kia reiterates its exceptional (not anymore) performance of last month by ranking at historical best 9th spot with 3.9% share thanks to deliveries up a whopping 26%.
Looking at the passenger cars segment in particular, the Top 10 brands in August are Toyota (7.793), Mazda (4.232), Hyundai (3.957), Holden (3.690), Volkswagen (2.649), Kia (2.407), Ford (2.242), Mercedes (1.981), Honda (1.592) and Audi (1.404). Best-selling SUV brands are Toyota (5.985) followed for once by Mitsubishi (4.022), then Mazda (3.963), Nissan (3.260), Subaru (2.349), Hyundai (2.233), Holden (1.983), Honda (1.498), Kia (1.303) and, surprisingly, BMW (1.262). In the light commercials aisle – keeping in mind pickup trucks are within this category in Australia – the most popular marques are Toyota (4.872), Ford (3.324), Holden (1.994), Mitsubishi (1.321), Nissan (1.312), Isuzu Ute (1.108), Mazda (1.063), Volkswagen (849) and Hyundai (346).
Outside the Top 10, Mercedes pushes up 11% to #11, Jeep implodes at -40% while Lexus (+11%), Mini (+19%), Volvo (+50%), Infiniti (+80%) and Jaguar (+202%) lead the rampant premiumisation of the Australian market. Even more exclusive, McLaren (+25%), Lamborghini (+63%), Bentley (+217%), Rolls-Royce (+300%) and Lotus (+325) all find many more customers than a year ago. After almost one year in market, Chinese SUV specialist Haval makes its grand entrance inside the Australian sales charts at #32 with 52 sales, coinciding with the brand’s first national TV advertising campaign. Haval’s lineup in Australia is composed of the H2 (#213), H8 (#234 – I took one on the Birdsville track) and H9 (#230), with the H6 Coupe just launched to the press. Haval directly places just below fellow Chinese carmakers LDV (140) and Foton (62) while Chery (1) has all but disappeared and Great Wall awaits its renaissance with the new Wingle 6 later this year.
In the models ranking, Toyota has the top two best-sellers (Corolla and Hilux) and there in the top five (Camry). The Corolla (+17%) is crowned for the 2nd straight month, the Hilux surges 69% thanks to the new generation and reclaims the #1 YTD spot. The Ford Ranger continues to impress at +41% and #3 but remains #5 YTD for now. Note the Hilux 4×4 is back above the Ranger 4×4 this month at 2.418 vs. 2.364. Hero of 2016’s First Half, the Hyundai i30 drops 11% to #8 and as a result slides from #1 to #3 YTD. Despite sales down 4%, the Mazda CX-5 remains the most popular SUV in Australia (#6) but the Mitsubishi ASX at #9 (+79%), Toyota RAV4 at #10 (+25%) and Hyundai Tucson at #11 (+324%) and Nissan X-Trail at #13 (+47%) are catching up fast.
Further down the Toyota Land Cruiser (+106%) lodes its best month in over 12 years (since June 2004) at #15 with 1.350 sales, the Mitsubishi Outlander is up 33% to #20 vs. #32 YTD, the Honda Civic is lifted up 216% by the new generation to #34 vs. #60 so far this year, the Mazda CX-9 is up 96% to #38 vs. #96, the Ford Mustang confirms its incredible success at #40: the best-selling Ford nameplate after the Ranger and the most popular new launch in Australia. Among the seven additional new launches (<12 months) in the Top 100 – an illustration of the dynamism of the Australia market – notice the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (#45), Mercedes GLC (#74), Toyota Fortuner (#79) and Ford Everest (#84). The Jaguar F-Pace paces up from #152 for its inaugural month in July to #108 in August, already accounting for 58% of the brand’s sales in Australia…
Previous month: Australia July 2016: Corolla back to #1, Hilux and Ranger fight
Full August 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.