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Australia October 2019: Kia up to record #4, Holden outside Top 10 again, RAV4 #1 SUV in 19th market fall in a row

The Cerato (+36.5%) helps Kia up to an all-time best 4th place in October.

There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for the Australian new vehicle market coping a searing 19th consecutive month of year-on-year decline in October at -9.1% to 82.456 units, the lowest result for the month since 2010. This is the longest stretch of year-on-year decline since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009, brought along by weakening consumer confidence and tighter credit requirements, and this poor score leads to a year-to-date volume down -8% to 893.820, the lowest 10 month-tally since 2011. Sales are down across all buyer types with private sales down -5.2% to 35.395, business fleet sales down -8.2% to 34.822, rentals down -27.2% to 6.083 and government purchases down -7.3% to 3.065. Registrations are also down across all vehicle types with passenger cars down -15%, light commercials down -11% and SUVs down 3% to an improved 46.9% share.

Deliveries are also down in every single State and Territory: NSW is down -8.5% to 26.134, Victoria down -8.8% to 24.535, Queensland down -7.2% to 16.132, Western Australia down -10.3% to 7.461, South Australia down -11.4% to 4.901, Tasmania down -14.7% to 1.600, ACT down -21.1% to 1.119 and Northern Territory down -19% to 574. A slight positive note: EV and PHEV sales are up 3-fold to 273 excluding Tesla which doesn’t disclose Australian sales and hybrids are up 72.3% to 2.749, almost exclusively Toyota and Lexus models. Looking at cars sold in Australia by country of origin, we have Japan at 25.296 (-10%), Thailand at 19.495 (-12.8%), South Korea at 12.550 (-5.6%), Germany at 6.478 (-5.5%), USA at 3.577 (-10.1%), England at 1.937 (-16.8%), China at 1.602 (+41.8%), Czech Republic at 1.222 (-7.8%) and Mexico at 1.142 (-4.7%).

In the brands ranking, Toyota (-4.6%) resists slightly better than the market, resulting in a 20.6% share vs. 19.2% so far in 2019, Hyundai (+0.3%) edges up to climb to #2 for the second time in the past 3 months while Mazda (-22.1%) tumbles down to just 7.7% share vs. 9.6% YTD. The best performer of the month is once again Kia (+10.5%) posting the only double-digit gain in the Top 9 and, most importantly, stepping up to a new record 4th place overall and also breaking its all-time record Australian market share at 6.14% vs. 6.11% last June. In the remainder of the Top 10, Subaru (-24.4%), Mitsubishi (-22.6%), Volkswagen (-12.7%) and Ford (-8.8%) all fall faster than the market while Nissan (-5.4%) almost matches it.

Mercedes (+15.5%) posts the largest gain in the Top 14, stepping inside the Top 10 for the first time since April 2018. This means Holden (-41.3%), once the uncontested home-grown market leader in Australia, is locked out of the Top 10 for the 2nd month in a row and in history, only managing 3.086 sales which is its 2nd lowest-ever volume below just last month (2.863). Among smaller brands, Ram (+140.5% and almost at Jeep’s level), MG (+114.9%), Haval (+109.6%), Suzuki (+26.5%), Mini (+25.6%), Great Wall (+19.4%), Lexus (+16.6%) and Skoda (+16.2%) demonstrate it’s not all doom and gloom on the Australian market with stunning double- or triple-digit gains.

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux (-20.1%) is hit by a 6th straight year-on-year decline and (more worrisome) a 4th consecutive double-digit drop, yet it manages to celebrate 24 months in a row as Australia’s most popular vehicle – exactly two years, which is the longest streak at #1 for any nameplate in Australia in over 16 years, since the estimated 50+ consecutive wins of the Holden Commodore up to August 2003. The Ford Ranger (-10%) is also in difficulty but  snaps the 4×4 ute crown for the 7th month in a row – its longest ever streak – and 25th time since August 2015 at 2.873 units (-7.1%) vs. 2.678 (-22.5%) for the Hilux. Year-to-date, the Ranger 4×4 adds up to 30.687 (up 13 units on 2018) vs. 30.187 (-5.4%) for the Hilux 4×4. This means that even without their 4×2 variants, the Ranger and Hilux would still be the best-selling vehicles in Australia, just not in the same order.

The Hyundai i30 (+8.2%) climbs onto the overall podium for the first time since last June, outselling the Toyota Corolla (-20.5%) to remain the #1 passenger car in the country for the 2nd consecutive month. The Toyota RAV4 (+34.8%) for its part surfs on the tremendous success of the new generation (and  well deserved, see our 9.000 km Australian Test Drive here) to snap the SUV crown for the 4th time in the past 6 months at #4 overall. In fact, the RAV4 outsells the Corolla for the 2nd time this year after last May. Just below, the Kia Cerato (+36.5%) is up two spots on September to reach a record #6, also hit last June. The Toyota Camry (+33%) and Hyundai Tucson (+10.7%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 12 while the Mazda3, overall Australian best-seller in 2011 and 2012 but whose new generation, more expensive and with a polarising design, has perplexed Australian buyers, is locked out of the Top 10 for the 2nd month in a row and only the third time since July 2016.

Previous month: Australia September 2019: Mitsubishi (+17.9%), Mazda (+15.5%) impress, Holden outside Top 10 for the first time in 18th straight market loss

One year ago: Australia October 2018: Hilux most dominant nameplate in 13 years, market endures 7th consecutive decline

Full October 2019 Top 48 All-brands and Top 12 models below.

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