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June is traditionally the biggest month of the year in Australia because of end of financial year deals, and 2018 is no exception, but at -2.9% year-on-year to 130.300 units, it couldn’t quite match the all-time record of 134.171 established a year ago in June 2017. This however is still the second largest monthly score in history ahead of the 128.569 units of June 2016. The year-to-date volume remains at record heights, crossing the 600.000 mark halfway through the year for the first time ever thanks to a 1% uplift to a best-ever 605.522. SUV sales continue to drive the Australian market growth with a 9.3% surge in June to 56.162 and 43.1% share vs. 38.3% a year ago whereas passenger cars implode once again at -17.8% to 41.561 and 31.8% vs. 37.7% in June 2017. Meanwhile light commercials (mainly pickup trucks, nicknamed “utes” in Australia, short for utilities) edge up 0.3% to 28.346 and 21.8% share vs. 21.1%. At the half-year mark, SUVs soar 10.7% to 258.508 and 42.7% share vs. 38.9% a year ago, passenger cars tumble down 11.3% to 204.350 and 33.7% vs. 38.4% and light commercials gain 3.3% to 122.895 and 20.3% share vs. 19.8%.
A look at sales by channel reveals an interesting fact: that the market would have dropped a lot more if it weren’t for an extremely dynamic (and artificial) boost in rental sales up 32.5% to 8.464 and 6.5% share vs. 4.8% a year ago. Business sales also hold steady at -1.5% to 51.244 and 39.3% share vs. 38.8% and it’s private sales that let the market down at -7.8% to 62.833 and 48.2% share vs. 50.8% in June 2017, government sales also at -5.1% but at a much less impactful level (3.528 units and 2.7% share). Year-to-date, only rentals (+19.8% to 5.6% share) and business sales (+4.2% to 41.2%) are in positive with private sales (-4% to 46.7%) and government deliveries (-4.7% to 3.2%) both retracting. The remaining volumes are held by heavy commercial vehicles.
Looking at the State by State detail, only Tasmania (+3% to 2.012) manages a year-on-year gain. In volume order, New South Wales (-4.5% to 42.361), Victoria (-1.5% to 36.695), Queensland (-1.7% to 28.272), Western Australia (-0.8% to 10.080), South Australia (-6.7% to 7.662), the Australian Capital Territory (-10% to 1.932) and Northern Territory (-3.5% to 1.286) all hit the break. The year-to-date picture is different, with Western Australia (+4.1% to 50.180), Tasmania (+4% to 9.269), Victoria (+3.4% to 174.086), Queensland (+2.7% to 123.390) and the Australian Capital Territory (+2.4% to 9.689) all frankly outpacing the national growth. The largest state in the country, New South Wales (-2.7% to 196.871) however loses ground. In terms of country origin of the vehicles sold in Australia, Japan stays in the lead at 37.805 (+3.7%), ahead of Thailand at 36.205 (+3.3%), South Korea at 19.743 (-9.7%), Germany at 11.027 (+11.3%), the U.S. at 5.040 (-17.8%), the UK at 4.598 (+34.1%) and Spain at 1.578 (-3.7%). China comes in 10th position ahead of Poland and France with 1.112 sales (+130.7%) and 4.399 YTD (+84.1%). Australian-made vehicles total 277 units, actually up 9.9% on May but set to fall to zero sometime in 2019 as local manufacturing ended in 2017.
In the brands ranking, five of the Top 6 best-sellers are in the red, with market leader Toyota down 5.6% to 17.8% share but posting its highest H1 volume since 2008 at 111.854 (+2.6%). Mazda (-0.3%) and Hyundai (-14.8%) follow with Mitsubishi up 10.4% to remain in 4th place. Ford (-15.4%) and Holden (-20.4%) deliver painful losses while Kia slows down its growth drastically to +4.6% in June but still breaks its all-time monthly volume record at 7.067 (previous best 6.737 in June 2017). Honda is the largest gainer in the Top 20 with a splendid 29.6% uptick triggered by the new CR-V. Renault (+22.7%) and Land Rover (+22%) also impress and among smaller brands the Chinese continue to deliver the largest year-on-year improvements with MG (+547.1%), Great Wall (+157.4%) and LDV (+102.6%) only matched by Peugeot (+108.7%). Citroen (+68.6%), Infiniti (+49.3%) and Jaguar (+39.9%) also make themselves noticed. In the naughty corner: Bentley (-61%), Ram (-44.4%), Haval (-43.8%), Jeep (-30%) and Porsche (-22.2%).
The Thai-built “ute” invasion is accelerating in Australia: the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton are the 3 best-selling nameplates in June: for the first time in history the Australian podium is entirely composed of pickup trucks, replicating the U.S. market structure albeit with much smaller vehicles. This is a momentous event that caps a decade of exponential progression by the format in Australia. It went like this: the Toyota Hilux topped the monthly sales charts for the first time in April 2008 and has repeated this feat 30 times since then, including the past 8 consecutive months and 14 out of the past 16 months. Logically, the Hilux became the annual #1 for the first time in 2016, repeating this feat in 2017. Pickups monopolised the Top 2 for the first time in October 2016 (Hilux/Ranger), a feat that has since been repeated 13 times out of the past 20 months, with the annual Top 2 logically becoming 100% pickups for the first time in 2017. The Ford Ranger became the second pickup to ever top the monthly Australian ranking in September 2017 but has not yet repeated this feat. This month is a logical step up to an Australian podium 100% pickups for the first time.
The records don’t stop there for utes: the Toyota Hilux (+6%) brilliantly posts its largest ever monthly volume at 5.787, beating its previous best of 5.461 hit a year ago in June 2017. These are the only two months when the Hilux crossed the 5.000 monthly sales mark. Its 4×4 variant also beats a volume record at 4.032, up 2.4% year-on-year. However this is not the all-time record for a 4×4 ute, still held by the Ford Ranger 4×4 at 4.449 in June 2017. Overall Ranger sales recede 5.6% year-on-year to 4.768 units, still its 2nd largest ever volume below the 5.051 hit in June 2017. At #3, the Mitsubishi Triton ends the month on the Australian podium for the 2nd time ever after June 2014, scoring its third largest volume at 3.919 below the 4.124 of June 2014 and 3.956 of June 2013.
The next five spots are unchanged on May: the Toyota Corolla (-1%) leads all passenger cars above the Hyundai i30 (+2%) and Mazda3 (-5%) while both best-selling SUVs in the country break their volume record this month: the Mazda CX-5 leaps up 26% to 3.136 and the Toyota RAV4 gains 9% to 2.690 just as it is about to be replaced by a new generation. Below, the Kia Cerato breaks into the Australian monthly Top 10 for the second time after April 2017, lifting its ranking record to #9 just as the new generation enters dealerships and the Honda CR-V shoots up 376% to #12, its highest ranking in over a decade: since January 2008 (#8). Also of note and relevant to the various Australian Outback explorations we have written about in the past two years – where the vehicle is a trusted icon – the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series hits a 20-year monthly high at 1.311 (91% ute).
Notice also the Toyota C-HR (+85%), Subaru XV (+64%), Mercedes GLC (+60%), VW Tiguan (+58%), Nissan Qashqai (+46%) and Toyota Kluger (+20%) posting the most impressive gains in the remainder of the Top 50 and showing that growth potential in Australia currently only really lies in the SUV segment. The Hyundai Kona is the best-selling recent launch (<12 months) for the 9th month in a row at #32 (-5), followed this time by the Holden Equinox at #54 (+7), Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross at #58 (+5), LDV T60 at #86 (0), MG ZS breaking into the Aussie Top 100 for the first time at #98 (+30), BMW X2 at #106 (+23) and Mercedes X-Class at #107 (-4). This month we welcome the Mazda CX-8 at #119.
Previous month: Australia May 2018: Kia breaks records, Holden down to #8
Full June 2018 Top 49 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.