The all-new Triton ute helps Mitsubishi catch its highest market share in 16 years
There’s no sign of recovery for the Australian new vehicle market, with a negative housing market and upcoming elections combining to make February (-9.3%) the 11th consecutive month of year-on-year decline at 87.102 sales, the weakest result for the month since 2014 (86.818). This is the longest negative streak we’ve seen in Australia this decade, with the worst until now being 8 straight declines between January and August 2014. This brings the year-to-date tally down 8.4% or 15.500 units on the same period last year to 169.096, also the slowest start of a year since 2014 (169.103). A slight uptick in artificial sales – rentals up 4.8% to 4.939 and government sales up 4.9% to 3.088 – prevent the market freefall to be even more sever, as private sales drop 9.6% to 41.338 and business sales skid down 11.9% to 34.909. SUV sales fall slower than the market at -6% to 42.9% share vs. 41.5% a year ago, but passenger cars properly implode at -21.3% to 31.2% share vs. 35.9% in February 2018. Light commercials – mainly pickup trucks or “utes” as they are nicknamed here – is the only segment gaining significant ground at +6% to 22.8% share vs. 19.5% a year ago. All main States are down, with Victoria (-11.7%), New South Wales (-11%), Western Australia (-8.3%), ACT (-6.5%), Queensland (-6.1%) and South Australia (-5.1%) hit the hardest. In terms of country of origin of the light vehicles sold in Australia this month, the most popular are Japan 26.537 (-9.2%), Thailand 24.187 (-5.8%), South Korea 11.536 (-18.6%), Germany 7.042 (-7.8%) and USA 3.270 (-15.1%) while China-made cars are up a whopping 128% to 1.197.
The Toyota Hilux enjoys a 16th consecutive month at #1.
Toyota (-10.5%) falls slightly faster than the market but remains comfortably in the brands lead at 18.8% share above Mazda (-6.8%) at 10.6%. It’s another outstanding month for Mitsubishi (+18.9%) delivering the largest gain and only double-digit uptick in the Top 19 (it was Top 18 last month) to stay in third place in what is its 4th podium finish in the past 12 months – and potentially ever – after March 2018, September 2018 and January 2019. At 9.8% in February, Mitsubishi improves its market share by a whopping 1.7 percentage point on January to lodge its highest score in over 16 years, since September 2002 (10.4%) which was a time when the Japanese carmaker was still a local manufacturer out of its factory in Adelaide. Looking at the Top 5 brands by segment, the Top 5 passenger cars brands are Toyota (15.6% share), Mazda (14.6%), Hyundai (13.3%), Kia (12.4%) and Volkswagen (6.8%), for SUVs it’s Toyota (16.8%), Mitsubishi (13.7%), Mazda (11.2%), Nissan (7.2%) and Hyundai (6.5%) and for light commercials it’s Toyota (32.6%), Ford (17%), Mitsubishi (10.7%), Holden (9.8%) and Nissan (6.9%).
Mitsubishi ASX sales leap up 135.3% year-on-year to #6 overall.
Kia (+4.1%) is the only other Top 12 carmaker in positive, dropping one spot on its record 5th place from last month but staying close to its highest ever 5.7% share at 5.6% this month. Ford (-6.3%) is back to #5, while Honda (-22.1%), Nissan (-19.3%) and Volkswagen (-12.9%) all struggle mightily. Holden (-18.4%) continues to fall into oblivion, with this month marking its lowest-ever volume (3.825), market share (4.4%) and ranking (#10) in Australian history, “beating” its previous worst of 3.927 and 4.6% from last July and equalling the #10 it also hit last March and September. To add insult to injury, the best-selling model for the month, the Toyota Hilux, outsells the entire Holden lineup for the first time in history this month (see further down). The other great performers are not to be seen before #20 and Volvo (+49.5%), with Ram (+1128.6%), MG (+794.7%), Great Wall (+119.4%), Haval (+71.2%), Bentley (+66.7%), Infiniti (+53.6%), McLaren (+50%), Ferrari (+43.8%), LDV (+37.7%), Chrysler (+37.5%), Alfa Romeo (+22.1%), Skoda (+19%) and Jaguar (+18%) all put a smile on their dealers’ faces. In contrast, Subaru (-47.9%), Audi (-34.8%), Land Rover (-31.9%), Porsche (-31.8%), Jeep (-26.4%), Peugeot (-25.7%), Mini (-23.1%), Fiat (-14.1%) and Renault (-12.9%) are all in great difficulty.
The Holden Colorado is up 25.3% year-on-year in February.
Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Hilux (+0.1%) manages stable sales and celebrates 16 straight months at #1, the longest streak of consecutive top spot finishes in almost 14 years, since the Holden Commodore ranked #1 22 consecutive times between October 2003 and July 2005. The Ford Ranger (-4.7%) is back to its usual #2 and the Mitsubishi Triton (+66.6%) is boosted by a discounted outgoing generation and first sales of the new one to score its 3rd ever podium finish after June 2014 and June 2018. This means the Australian podium is 100% “ute” (aka pickup truck) for only the 2nd time in history after last June which showed an identical order. We also find the same order when looking exclusively at the lucrative 4×4 utes ranking, led by the Hilux (3.396) while the Ranger (2.938) holds onto the 2nd post by the skin of its teeth – or exactly 3 sales – above the Triton (2.935). The Mazda3 (-9.5%) remains the best-selling passenger car at #4 overall, way above a sinking Toyota Corolla (-36.7%) and the Hyundai i30 (-11.6%). The country’s best-selling SUV is once again the Mazda CX-5 (+7.6%) at #5, resisting a stunning uplift by the Mitsubishi ASX (+135.3%) at #6, the Toyota RAV4 (-11%) in runout mode before the new generation slides in, and a very healthy Toyota Prado (+18.6%). The Holden Colorado (+25.3%) and Kia Cerato (+5.2%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 20 whereas the Nissan Navara (-31.5%), Hyundai Accent (-30.9%) and Nissan X-Trail (-12.5%) dive.
Full February 2019 Top 45 All-brands and Top 20 models below.