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Australia February 2018: Holden drops to lowest ranking and share ever

Holden is counting on the new Commodore to reverse its freefall at home. Picture goauto.com.au

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 All-models – click on title to see *

The Australian new car market shoots up 7.8% year-on-year in February to 95.999 units, narrowly missing out on the February record of 96.443 dating from 2016. The year-to-date volume however is a new record at 184.550 registrations, up 6.1% on the same period in 2017 and smashing the previous best of 180.816 established in 2016. One year ago, SUV registrations overcame passenger cars for the first time in Australian history. It has now become the norm, with SUV sales up 12.1% year-on-year to 39.800 units or 41.5% share vs. 34.491 (-0.7%) and 35.9% for passenger cars, while light commercials soar 13.3% to 18.707 sales. In terms of sales channels, private sales edge up 0.1% to 45.720 units just as business sales surge 16.7% to 39.597, rental sales are up 18% to 4.737 and government sales down 5.8% to 2.943. Petrol sales amount to 61.963 vs. 29.979 for diesel, 951 for hybrid and 104 electric (excluding Tesla who does not share sales data for Australia).

The CR-V (+149%) helps Honda to potentially its highest ranking ever in Australia at #6.

Looking into the origin of new car sales sold in Australia, Japan comes first once again with 29.229 sales (+11.1%), followed by Thailand at 25.675 (+19.6%), South Korea at 14.181 (+5.1%), Germany at 7.636 (+6.5%) and the U.S. at 3.853 (+7.3%), all stepping in as Australia shut down its local operations last year. New South Wales/Sydney remains the largest state in the country in terms of new car sales with 31.252 sales (+3.4%) ahead of Victoria/Melbourne at 28.451 (+14.2%), Queensland/Brisbane at 18.516 (+6%), Western Australia/Perth at 8.276 (+10%), South Australia/Adelaide at 5.665 (+5.8%), Australian Capital Territory/Canberra at 1.578 (+9.7%), Tasmania/Hobart at 1.491 (+11.8%) and Northern Territory/Darwin at 770 (+1.3%). All Australian states and territories are up this month.

The Toyota Hilux posts a 10th monthly Australian win in the past 12. 

Toyota unsurprisingly remains the most popular carmaker in the country, even outpacing the market with a 12.1% year-on-year gain in February to 19% share, followed by Mazda (-0.1%) at 10.3% while Hyundai soars 14.3% to 8.3% in third place. An excellent performance also for Mitsubishi surging 24% to 7.4% share at #4. Ford (+6.9%) takes 5th place above Honda delivering the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 at a gigantic +55.3% and snapping the 6th spot overall, the carmaker’s highest ranking in Australia this decade according to BSCB records. Chinese LDV (+126.5%), Alfa Romeo (+45.3%), Isuzu Ute (+37.4%), Mini (+24.5%), Haval (+20.9%), Peugeot (+17.3%), Kia (+11.7%) and Nissan (+9.9%) also outpace the market. Reversely, Infiniti (-76.5%), Jaguar (-44%), Citroen (-44%) and Land Rover (-23.8%) struggle.

Not since it introduced its first model in 1948 has Holden ranked that low in Australia.

But the main event in the Australian brands ranking this month is the demise of the only true Australian carmaker: Holden. Ending local production in October 2017 after 69 continuous years, Holden has now almost exhausted its stock of locally-made vehicles and is waiting for the full effects of the new imported Commodore, a locally-tuned rebadge of the new gen Opel Insignia that started hitting dealership at the end of the month. Now a pure importer, Holden crumbles 18.1% year-on-year in February to fall outside the Top 5 (#8) and below 5% share for the first time in its history, since the first Holden car was introduced in the country in 1948. If it weren’t for tiny advantages over #9 Volkswagen (18 units) and #10 Kia (25 units), Holden could have fallen further to #10. Saving the day are the Colorado ute (local slang for pickups) at 1.039 sales and the Astra at 1.008 while the newly launched Equinox doesn’t seem to be able to take off just yet at only 364 sales vs. 384 in January and 679 in December.

The Mitsubishi Outlander more than doubles its sales year-on-year.

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux takes off at +31% year-on-year to post a 10th win in the past 12 months, confirming it now has an iron-tight grip on the Australian market. Like in 2017, the Ford Ranger follows with sales up 21%, representing 59% of Ford’s sales in Australia this month. The Toyota Corolla (-4%) is the best-selling passenger car in the country above the Mazda3 (-7%) and Hyundai i30 (+9%) while the Mazda CX-5 holds onto the #1 SUV title, even gaining 13% and distancing the Toyota RAV4 (+7%) and Nissan X-Trail (+8%). The Hyundai Accent soars 48% to #10, the Nissan Navara is up 53% to #11, while further down the ranking the Holden Astra (+153%), Honda CR-V (+149%), Mitsubishi Lancer (+137%), Subaru XV (+109%), Toyota Kluger (+109%) and Mitsubishi Outlander (+102%) all more than double their score vs. February 2017.

The Hyundai Kona remains the most popular recent launch in Australia, outselling the Toyota C-HR.

The Hyundai Kona continues to dominate recent launches (<12 months) but drops 10 spots on January to #32, that’s still better than direct rivals the Mitsubishi ASX (#33), Nissan Qashqai (#34) and most significantly the Toyota C-HR (#43) still lagging bizarrely behind whereas it would seem to have been designed with an Australian clientele in mind. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross gains 17 ranks on last month to already break into the Top 50 for its third month in market, ranking #2 new launch. The Holden Equinox (#71), LDV T60 (#95, first Top 100), Kia Stinger (#102), Range Rover Velar (#107) and Skoda Kodiaq (#114) follow. Finally, we welcome the Volvo XC40 at #249 and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio at #272.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2017: Exclusive State by State rankings

Previous month: Australia January 2018: Toyota and Honda shine in record market

One year ago: Australia February 2017: SUVs above passenger cars, market dips 7.7%

Full February 2018 Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 All-models below.

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