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Australia May 2017: Hilux vs. Ranger new iconic rivalry in record market

The Toyota Hilux remains the best-selling nameplate in Australia…

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 283 All-models by clicking on the title *

According to figures released by VFACTS, the Australian new vehicle market posts an all-time record May figure, up a sizeable 6.4% year-on-year to 102.901 units. As a result, the year-to-date tally is now down just 0.9% or 4.190 sales on the 2016 record to 465.381 units after five months and could get even next month in the case of a strong June showing. This month the growth is spread through private sales up 3.4% to 49.051 and business sales up 5% to 40.538. Rental fleet sales surge 48% to 5.910 and government sales are up 10% to 4.187. Looking at the country provenance of vehicles sold in Australian this month, Japan comes first with 29.907 units followed by Thailand at 25.729, South Korea at 14.868, Germany at 7.964 and Australia at 4.965.

… but its advantage over the Ford Ranger is only 85 units in May. Picture 4x4australia.com.au

Another piece of good news is the fact that in May all States and Territories gain ground bar the Australian Capital Territory (-3%). Victoria performs the best at +11.3%, followed by the Northern Territory up 8.1%, Queensland up 5.7%, New South Wales up 5.1%, South Australia up 3.1%, Western Australia up 2.8% and Tasmania up 2.5%. This result is particularly encouraging for Western Australia, a State that had been stuck in negative territory for a couple of years. SUVs resume their domination of the market and outsell passenger cars for the third time in the past four months thanks to sales up 9.4% vs. +1.6% to passenger cars. SUVs hold 38.5% of the Australian market this month vs. 37.7% for passenger cars, with light commercials (mainly “utes” or pickup trucks) also up 9.4% in May. Year-to-date, passenger cars are down 7.1%, SUVs up 3.2% and light commercials up 3.5%. Other notable progressions include business sales of SUVs up 14.9% and government purchase of light commercials up 31.7%.

The new generation helps the Mazda CX-5 remains atop the SUV sales charts in Australia.

Brand leader Toyota frankly outpaces the market with a 15.6% surge to 19.3% share vs. 18.2% year-to-date. This is Toyota’s best May result since 2012 and the fifth time in the past 11 months that the Japanese carmaker is above 19% share in Australia. Toyota sells more than double the #2, Mazda, up a timid 3.1% while Hyundai is down 7.7% on volumes boosted by deep i30 discounts a year ago. Ford is the other winner of the month with deliveries up a splendid 15.7% to 7.4% share, historically overtaking its archenemy Holden down 6.6% to 6.7% share. This is only the second time this millennium after April 2016 that Ford is above Holden in Australia, the previous one being January 1999 exactly when Ford sold 8.591 units vs. 8.335 for Holden…

Kia sales are up 41.3% year-on-year and surpass 5.000 for only the 2nd time in history.

Ranking at #9 below Volkswagen (+11.3%), the “most improved” award in the Top 10 once again goes to Kia up 41.3% to 5.005 sales, its second ever month above 5.000 units after June 2016 (5.170) and its second best market share at 4.9% below the 5% hit last month. Just outside the Top 10, Honda does even better at +43.4% thanks to the new generation Civic (1.311 sales), with Isuzu Ute (+26.2%), Renault (+40.1% thanks to the Koleos), Foton Light (+125%), Alfa Romeo (+86.5%) and Maserati (+30.6%) also impressive. At the other end of the scale, BMW (-18.9%), Jeep (-28.1%), Land Rover (-28.9%), Peugeot (-32.9%) and Citroen (-47.8%) all struggle.

The Holden Colorado (+36%) outsells the Commodore (-18%) for the 2nd straight month. 

The Australian models ranking is fast settling into a new normal: having two pickup trucks (or “utes” as they are called here) atop the sales charts. It had never happened before last October, but it’s now the third consecutive month and the fifth time in the past eight months that the Toyota Hilux (+13%) and Ford Ranger (+31%) dominate the market. This month the Hilux only wins by the skin of its teeth with a tiny 85 unit-advantage, both nameplates commanding a 4% share of the market. As it has now become the routine, the Ranger 4×4 outsells the Hilux 4×4 (3.384 vs. 3.036) while the Hilux 4×2 compensates at 1.018 vs. 685 for the Ranger 4×2.

The Mustang hits its highest volume, helping Ford above Holden. Picture caradvice.com.au

The two utes are followed by three passenger cars all in decline: the Toyota Corolla (-5%), Hyundai i30 (-29%) back up two spots on April now that the new generation is in dealerships but off an exceptionally high, rebate-boosted volume a year ago, and the Mazda3 (-20%). The Mazda CX-5 gains 9% with the help of the new model and holds onto the #1 SUV spot ahead of the Hyundai Tucson (+30%) now #7 year-to-date, the Nissan X-Trail (+30%) and Toyota RAV4 (+17%) all improving drastically and making it four SUVs in the Top 10, a record. Notice also the Toyota Camry up 54% to #7, the Holden Colorado up 36% and outselling the Commodore for the 2nd straight month, the Mitsubishi ASX up 40%, Kia Cerato up 69%, Toyota Prado up 38% and Mitsubishi Outlander up 34%. Finally, the Ford Mustang hits its highest ranking at #23 and delivers its first four-digit monthly sales figure at 1.351.

Previous month: Australia April 2017: Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger cement leadership

One year ago: Australia May 2016: Hyundai i30 leads, 133 units off YTD top spot

Full May 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 283 All-models below.

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