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Australia January 2020: Kia only gainer in Top 13 in 22nd straight market decline to weakest in 11 years (-12.5%)

The new Seltos helps Kia to a record market share. Picture

There is still no end in sight for the Australian new car market woes, with  January sales marking a 22nd consecutive month of year-on-year drop down another steep -12.5% to 71.731 registrations. This is the slowest January tally in 11 years (since the 67.079 units of January 2009) and 27% off the January record of 98.763 established in just 3 years ago in 2017. Catastrophic bushfires, hailstorms and floods – sometimes all in the same area – have combined to thoroughly disrupt the country’s economy and dealership activity in January. The local body tracking new vehicle sales in the country has also implemented a new reporting process designed to eliminate the manufacturer and dealer practice of reporting cars as sold when they are not to hit stretch targets, by comparing data supplied by car companies with national registration databases. For more detail on this new system read this. The silver lining to these aforementioned events is the fact that new car sales could see a slight uptick as owners replace vehicles affected by natural disasters. Rising home prices are another encouraging item as it lifts asset values of households and as a result boosts borrowing capacity for purchases of ‘big ticket’ items like new vehicles.

Chinese MG reaches a new market share record this month at 1.3%.

Private sales drop 13.8% to 34.560 and 48.2% share vs. 48.7% a year ago, business sales do slightly better at -11.8% to 29.383 and 41% share vs. 40.8%, rental deliveries defy the odds and gain 2.8% to 3.562 after surging 109.1% in January 2019, and government sales sink -17.8% to 2.417. SUVs continue to swim upstream, limiting their fall to just -1.5% to a whopping 49.3% share vs. -26.9% for passenger cars at 28.6% share vs. 34.2% a year ago and -11.2% for light commercials at 19.6% share vs. 19.3%. Every State and Territory is in negative including the largest 3: New South Wales (-12.2%), Victoria (-14.7%) and Queensland (-13%). The main sources of vehicles sold in Australia this month are Japan at 22.589 (-19.2%), Thailand at 18.009 (-14.8%), South Korea at 10.332 (-10.1%), Germany at 5.319 (-9.5%), the US at 3.334 (+9.3%), the UK at 1.895 (-7%), China at 1.637 (+94%!) and the Czech Republic at 1.021 (-6.1%). Finally, hybrid vehicles are taking off this month with 1.924 hybrid passenger cars (+13.9%) and 1.476 hybrid SUVs (+92.7%) led by the new RAV4.

The Toyota RAV4 is Australia’s #1 SUV for the 6th time in the past 9 months.

Toyota (-7.2%) resists to easily leads the brands ranking with 20.6% share vs. 19.4% over FY2019, but direct followers Mazda (-29.5%), Hyundai (-12.3%) and Mitsubishi (-23.4%) all take a full-frontal hit this month. Kia (+1.2%) once again stuns with the only year-on-year gain in the Top 13, securing a 5th consecutive month inside the Top 5 and smashing its market share record to 6.6% vs. previous best of 6.1% hit in June, October and November 2019. Ford (-5.7%) and Nissan (-9.4%) manage to keep their losses into the single-digits but Holden (-36.6%), Subaru (-34.6%), Honda (-15%) and Volkswagen (-10.3%) aren’t so lucky. Progressions become a lot more frequent further down, starting with Audi (+12.9%) at #14 and MG (+82.7%) shooting up to 1.3% share (previous best 1% last November) and #17 (also hit last September), both high marks for the newly relaunched brand under Chinese ownership. Haval (+443.2%), Porsche (+121.6%), Great Wall (+76.1%), LDV (+64.8%), Ram (+41.3%), Land Rover (+35.2%), Skoda (+32.4%) and Volvo (+28.3%) also impress but none reaches the symbolic 1% market share milestone.

Mitsubishi Triton sales are up 22.9%.

Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Hilux (-24.9%) scores a 27th consecutive win – the longest such streak in over 17 years since the estimated 50+ consecutive wins of the Holden Commodore in August 2003 – but it is crashing down and endures a 6th double-digit fall in the past 7 months, just as its archenemy the Ford Ranger (+2.3%) actually gains ground and reduces its disadvantage to 344 units vs. 1.384 a year ago in January 2019. More tellingly, the Ranger outsells the Hilux in the lucrative 4×4 ute battle for the 10th straight month at 2.446 sales vs. 2.296. The Toyota Corolla (-1.9%) is faithful to its title of #1 passenger car in Australia just as the Toyota RAV4 (+27.2%) surges ahead to its 6th monthly SUV crown in the past 9 months and could put an end to 7 years of SUV domination by the Mazda CX-5 by the time 2020 comes to an end. The Mitsubishi Triton (+22.9%) also posts a spending gain at #5, with the Hyundai i30 (+7.8%) and Kia Cerato (+5.2%) the only additional Top 10 models in positive as the Mazda3 (-53%) crashes and burns due to its way-too-expensive new generation. The Kia Seltos (#25) tops recent launches with a new ranking record, distancing the Mazda CX-30 (#46) landing inside the Top 50 for its very first month of sales.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2019: Kia only island of growth, Hilux #1 for 4th straight year in weakest market since 2011 (-7.8%)

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

Full January 2020 Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.

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