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Australia January 2019: Mitsubishi shines, Kia breaks records in 10th consecutive market decline

The new generation Mitsubishi Triton has landed in Australia.

The Australian new vehicle market is sinking deeper into recession as months go by, with January sales down another 7.4% year-on-year to 81.994 units, marking the 10th consecutive month of decline, a negative streak unseen this decade (the worst so far was 8 straight declines between January and August 2014). Rental sales, surging 109.1% to 3.465, and government deliveries up 12.6% to 2.939 avoid an even more ghastly fall for the month, just as private sales tumble down 12.2% to 39.965 and business sales crumble 9.1% to 33.430. Once again SUVs (-5.1%) improve their share to 43.8% vs. 42.8% in January 2018 even though they lose volume too, but it’s a much better hold than passenger cars (-12%) falling to 34.2% share vs. 36% a year ago just as light commercials (-5.8%) improve slightly to 19.3% vs. 18.9% in January 2018.

All states and territories are in negative bar the smallest – Northern Territory, up  3.7% to 679. The two largest states in the country fall faster than the national market: New South Wales (26.643) and Victoria (23.854) both drop 8.1%. Queensland is down 6.1% to 16.188, Western Australia down 5.8% to 6.971, South Australia down 5% to 5.049, Tasmania down 7.5% to 1.312 and the Australian Capital Territory down 16.8% to 1.298. When looking at the origin of cars sold in Australia, Japan comes first with 27.953 units (+4.1%), ahead of Thailand at 21.136 (-10%), South Korea at 11.491 (-16.3%), Germany at 5.880 (-18.2%), the US at 3.049 (-2.9%), the UK at 2.037 (-22.7%), South Africa at 1.212 (+48%), Czech Republic at 1.087 (+82.7%), Mexico at 1.070 (+48.6%), Spain at 905 (-16.5%) and China at 844 (+93.1%). Sales of locally-made cars are logically dying off as none is produced in Australia anymore: -99.3% to just 10 units.

Kia breaks into the monthly Australian Top 5 for the first time in history.

Market leader Toyota (+4.3%) ignores the surrounding gloom, posting its first gain since last September to hit a solid 19.5% share, while Mazda (-6.2%) is in line with the market, traditionally strong in private sale-heavy January, hitting 11.6% share which is its second highest in Australian history below the 11.9% it reached in January 2016 and 2017. Mitsubishi surges 26.7% – the largest gain in the Top 18 and the only double-digit one in the Top 16 – to climb back onto the podium for the third time in the past 11 months – and potentially ever – after last March and last September. Hyundai (-12.9%) is knocked down to #4 but Kia (+2.6%) breaks a couple of records this month: the Korean carmaker slides into the monthly Australian Top 5 for the first time at #5 and hits a new all-time high market share at 5.7%, eclipsing the 5.5% it hit last May. This means the Top 5 is 100% Asian for only the second time ever, after last September. The rest of the Top 18 bar BMW (-2.4%) and Suzuki (-5.2%) all fall faster than the market, with Holden (-27.1%), Ford (-21.7%), Mercedes (-25.4%), Nissan (-19.2%), Subaru (-19.1%) and Audi (-18.7%) hit the hardest. Further down, Ram (+922.2%), MG (+849.1%), Great Wall (+688.9%), Haval (+54.2%), Jaguar (+53.5%), Citroen (+28%), Skoda (+23.6%), Lexus (+15.8%) and Volvo (+12.8%) are the most dynamic in market.

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux (+4.8%) enjoys a 15th consecutive monthly win and the only gain in the Top 4, widening the gap with the Mazda3 (-11.6%), Ford Ranger (-21.3%) and Toyota Corolla (-12.9%). This is the longest stretch of consecutive #1 finishes in almost 14 years: since the Holden Commodore ranked #1 for 22 consecutive months between October 2003 and July 2005. The Hilux also wins the battle of 4×4 utes (Australian slang for pickup truck) at 2.993 units (+3.9%) vs. 2.243 (-22.4%) for the Ranger. The Mazda CX-5 (+9.1%) cements its status as Australia’s favourite SUV at #5 overall, with the Mitsubishi ASX (+108.5%) catching up fast, up 9 spots on December to #7 and the Toyota RAV4 (+1.1%) at #8. The Mitsubishi Triton (+10.7%) and Holden Colorado (+11.1%) round up the Top 10 in very dynamic fashion. Further down, the Subaru Forester (+65.7%), Toyota Camry (+64.1%), Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (+54.8%), Mitsubishi Outlander (+38.2%), Holden Astra (+31.7%), Honda Jazz (+26.2%), Toyota C-HR (+21.1%), Toyota Yaris (+19.9%),  Toyota Prado (+15.5%) and Mercedes C-Class (+15.2%) are the most dynamic nameplates in the Top 50. Newcomers aren’t very lucky this month: none manages to crack the Top 70, with the Holden Acadia (#72), Mazda CX-8 (#77), Volvo XC40 (#88) faring the best. Launched last month, the Ford Endura is already down 51 spots to #175 with a paltry 32 sales for the month.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2018: Toyota Hilux 3peats and breaks records, SUVs up 6.4% and cars down 15.9% in market down 3%

One year ago: Australia January 2018: Toyota and Honda shine in record market

Full January 2019 Top 46 All-brands and Top 275 All-models below.

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