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Australia April 2019: Kia hits highest share, Cerato up to record #7 in 13th straight market drop

The Kia Cerato breaks its ranking and share records this month. Picture exhaustnotes.com.au

It’s a 13th straight month of decline for new vehicle sales in Australia, down  a painful -8.9% year-on-year to 75.500 units, the weakest April volume since 2011. Year-to-date, the market is now down -8.1% to 344.088 units, the lowest at this stage of the year since 2012. Private sales take the market with them at -9.2% to 32.506 units and 43% share, while business sales fare even worse at -11.8% to 31.407 and 41.6% share vs. 43% a year ago. Government sales drop a more moderate -5.1% to 2.911 while this month it’s rental sales (+9.2%) that post the only uptick to 5.783 units and 7.6% share vs. 6.4%. Year-to-date, rentals are up 6.4% to 20.275, governments are up 1.2% to 12.238 but private deliveries are down -8.8% to 159.719 and business sales down -10.3% to 140.595. Looking at the source of cars sold in Australia, Japan (-9.6% to 23.840) leads the way again, ahead of Thailand (-7% to 18.566), South Korea (-15% to 10.981), Germany (-3.9% to 6.702), USA (-9% to 2.956), UK (-7.7% to 1.897), Mexico (+36.9% to 1.210), Czech Republic (+60.7% to 1.159) and China (+39.8% to 1.004).

Passenger cars dive -13.5% to 23.816 in April to 31.5% share vs. 33.2% a year ago, and an even harsher -16.9% YTD to 108.016 and 31.4% vs. 34.7% in 2018, while SUVs are also in difficulty at -8.2% to 33.190 and 43.9% share vs. 43.6% and down -4.6% so far in 2019 to 152.082 and 44.2% vs. 42.6% over the same period last year. Light commercial fare the best at -3% to 15.601 and 20.6% share vs. 19.4% and just -1% YTD to 72.729 and 21.1% she vs. 19.6% last year. The remainder of the market is held by heavy commercial vehicles. All Australian States are in negative bar Tasmania up 4.4% to 1.241, while the two largest states New South Wales (-10.6% to 24.136) and Victoria (-10.7% to 21.231) lose the most volume. Northern Territory (-24.2% to 671) and the Australian Capital Territory (-11.9% to 1.087) both also fall faster than the national market, while South Australia (-2.4% to 5.002), Queensland (-5.9% to 15.643) and Western Australia (-8.1% to 6.539) resist better. YTD, Tasmania (+1.2%) is once again the only State in positive with South Australia (-0.4%), Queensland (-5.9%) and Western Australia (-6.3%) posting the slimmest declines.

Skoda’s Australian sales soar 38.3% year-on-year in April.

In the brands ranking, Toyota (-9%) matches the market, scoring a high 20% share, almost double #2 Mazda (-1%) resisting extremely well as does Ford (-0.4%) in 4th place. The hero of the past few months Mitsubishi (-14.4%) is knocked down 3 spots on March to #5 while Hyundai (-9.3%) is up one to #3 but fall faster than the market. Kia (+0.4%) edges up to snap the only year-on-year uptick in the Top 12, breaking its all-time market share record at 6% (previous best: 5.7% last January). Below, Nissan (-0.1%) is almost immobile but Subaru (-25.2%), Holden (-23.9%), Mercedes (-21.2%), Honda (-12.8%) and Volkswagen (-10.5%) hit the brakes hard. Further down, there are only three additional gainers in the Top 22: Skoda (+38.3%), Volvo (+20.8%) and Isuzu Ute (+9%). Among smaller brands (holding 0.5% share or less), Ram (+817.6%), Haval (+263.6%), MG (+126.7%), Great Wall (+114.9%), Lamborghini (+90%) and Aston Martin (+44.4%) are among the best performers.

In the models aisle, the Toyota Hilux (+0.7%) goes agains the grain with a slim uptick, celebrating 18 straight months in the Australian pole position. This is the longest streak of consecutive top spot finishes in a whopping 14 years, since the Holden Commodore ranked #1 22 consecutive times between October 2003 and July 2005. Another Hilux exploit: for the third month in a row, it outsells the entire Holden range (3.627 vs. 3.483). In 2nd place, the Ford Ranger (+7.7%) posts the largest gain in the Top 6 but remains at a fair distance from its archenemy the Hilux. The Toyota Corolla (-18.5%) reclaims the #1 passenger spot despite a hefty loss, distancing the Mazda3 (-2.9%) and Hyundai i30 (+0.4%) both resisting much better. The Mazda CX-5 (+5.9%) is unshakable as Australia’s best-selling SUV, a safe gap separating it from its followers the Toyota Prado (-13.3%), Hyundai Tucson (-25.4%) and Toyota RAV4 (-14.3%).

The BMW X7 has landed in Australia.

The Kia Cerato (+24.8%) records the largest gain of any nameplate in the April Top 23 and breaks its ranking and share records at #7 and 2.2%, its first time across the symbolic 2% mark, eclipsing the #9 and 1.9% hit in June 2018. The Isuzu D-Max (+17.1%) scores its third ever Top 10 finish at #10 after December 2016 (#10) and 2018 (#5), with the Subaru Forester (+34.3%), Mitsubishi Outlander (+19.3%), Mercedes GLC (+18.6%), Toyota Camry (+14.4%), Toyota Land Cruiser Ute (+13.4%) and Holden Equinox (+11.3%) the only double-digit gainers in the remainder of the Top 50. The Holden Acadia (#77), Mazda CX-8 (#84), Ford Endura (#96) and Lexus UX (#106), although very discreet, are the most popular recent launches (<12 months). The BMW X7 lands at #181 and the Genesis G80 at #207.

Previous month: Australia March 2019: Mitsubishi (+15%) up to record #2, places 3 models in Top 9 in 12th straight market decline (-7.1%)

One year ago: Australia April 2018: Tucson and Prado shine, Holden back up to #6

Full April 2019 Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 All-models below.

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