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Australia February 2020: Toyota at highest in 7 years, RAV4 teases Hilux for pole position in 23rd successive market drop (-8.2%)

The Toyota RAV4 is up to a record 2nd place in Australia in February.

Now updated with the Top 290 All-models.

Drought, bushfires, floods and now growing coronavirus concerns have all combined to tear down the Australian new car market, February (-8.2%) marking a 23rd straight month of decline at 79.940 registrations. New vehicle sales in Australia haven’t seen a year-on-year gain since March 2018, and the year-to-date volume is also down -10.3% to 151.671, the lowest start of a year since 2011. It’s however important to note that this is the 2nd month of a new sales reporting method in Australia, cross-checking manufacturer-supplied data with actual registrations in order to weed out fake registrations of unsold vehicles (ie demo sales), a very common way to bump up figures in France for example. Private sales drop faster than the market at -11.8% to 37.348 units and 46.7% share vs. 47.4% in February 2019, business sales drop -9.4% to 32.318 and 40.4% share vs. 40.1% and rental sales gain 2.7% to 5.067 and 6.3% vs. 5.7%.

The SUV segment blissfully ignores the market crisis and shoots up 5.2% year-on-year to 39.304 and a whopping 49.2% share vs. 42.9% a year ago while cars implode -16.7% to 22.648 and 28.3% vs. 31.2% in February 2019 and light commercials sink -21.8% to 15.523 and 19.4% vs. 22.8%. All main States are down by the double-digits: New South Wales (-11.8%), Victoria (-11.5%) and Queensland (-10.6%) all crumble. Only the ACT (Canberra) manages an uptick at +1.6% due to replacement sales after a devastating hail storm at the start of the month. The main countries of origin for new vehicles sold in Australia are Japan at 26.279 (-1%), Thailand at 19.291 (-20.2%), South Korea at 11.074 (-4%), Germany at 5.783 (-17.9%), the USA at 3.158 (-3.4%), the UK at 2.131 (stable) and China at 2.012 (+68.1%).

Kia is on a streak of 61 consecutive year-on-year gains in Australia.

The brand hero of the month is without a doubt Toyota (+8.1%) managing the largest gain – and one of only 3 – in the Top 10 and lifting to 22.1% share, its highest in over 7 years – since December 2012 (22.2%). The main reason behind Toyota’s fantastic result is its hybrid lineup reaching unseen heights, up to a new all-time record of 4.497 units and accounting for over 25% of monthly Toyota sales (25.4%) for the first time in Australia’s history. Two months into 2020, Toyota hybrid deliveries are up 166% year-on-year to 7.597 and 23.4% share vs. just 8.8% at the same time last year. Even more impressive: given Mazda (-21.7%), Hyundai (-7.5%) and Mitsubishi (-35.1%) all lose significant ground, Toyota is close to selling as much as the next 3 carmakers combined: 17.679 vs. 18.688.

Kia (+5.4%) continues on its unabated growth, now stretching to an incredible 61 consecutive months of gains with no year-on-year decline since January 2015. Below Ford (-14.5%), Nissan (-3%), Volkswagen (-10.7%) and Honda (-8.9%) , Mercedes (+1.9%) advances two spots on January to crack the Australian Top 10 for the 4th time in the past 5 months. Subaru (+28.2%), BMW (+9.3%), Audi (+6.3%), Land Rover (+3.9%), Lexus (+2.3%) and Volvo (+0.8%) are also up in the remainder of the Top 20, but MG (+128%) is the best performer among them, hitting record volumes (1.163), share (1.5%) and ranking (#17). Rolls Royce (+200%), Haval (+98.9%), Maserati (+55.3%), Great Wall (+51.5%), Ferrari (+30.4%), Ram (+27.9%), Peugeot (+19.9%), Skoda (+19%) and Porsche (+17.4%) also shine further down. In February, Australian brand Holden announced it would go extinct at the end of the year, but stories of Holden dealers selling out of remaining stock due to massive GM-funded discounts were not (yet) reflected in the sales charts: the brand implodes (-64.3%) to a new low of #12.

Chinese MG hits new volume and share records in Australia this month.

In the models ranking, the Toyota Hilux (-22.8%) enjoys a 28th straight monthly win – the longest such streak in over 17 years since the estimated 50+ consecutive wins of the Holden Commodore in August 2003 – but endures a 7th double-digit fall in the past 8 months. It is also outsold by its archenemy the Ford Ranger (-5.2%) for the 11th month in a row in the lucrative 4×4 pickup battle 3.003 vs. 2.682. The star of the month is the Toyota RAV4 (+105.9%) breaking all the records it established in May 2019 at #2 (vs. #3), 3.375 sales (vs. 2.917) and 4.2% share (vs. 3.2%). The RAV4 remains the only SUV in Australian history to have ranked on the monthly podium and the only SUV to have crossed the 3% share barrier (next best is 2.9% by both the Ford Territory in December 2005 and the Mazda CX-5 in January 2019), but has not (yet) broken the SUV monthly volume record held by the Hyundai Tucson at 3.741 in June 2017. Behind the RAV4’s historic figures this month is its hybrid variant accounting for a record 62.1% of its February volume and crossing the 2.000 monthly sales milestone for the first time at 2.097. It is reasonable to expect the RAV4 to take the lead of the monthly Australian charts at some point this year, doing so would make it the first ever SUV to rank #1 here.

The Toyota Corolla (+21.7%) also posts a fantastic month in 4th place, also helped by the success of its hybrid variant representing 51.9% of its volume at 1.309, while the Camry (+11.3%) also gets a hybrid boost at 884 units or 61.2% share. The Kia Cerato (+19.5%) and Hyundai i30 (+11.6%) continue to gain significant market share, both ending the month inside the Top 7. The Mitsubishi Triton (-47%) and Mazda CX-5 (-16.5%) aren’t that lucky while the overpriced Mazda3 (-46%) is bumped outside the Top 10 for the 5th time in the past 6 months. Further down, notice the Subaru Forester (+154.7%), Mercedes A-Class (+106.8%), Toyota Yaris (+82.2%), Hyundai Kona (+53.3%), Subaru XV (+49.1%), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (+35.1%), Mercedes GLC (+35.1%), Nissan Qashqai (+13.5%) and Mazda CX-3 (+12.6%) all very solid. The Kia Seltos (#31) tops recent launches above the Mazda CX-30 (#41) and Hyundai Venue (#60).

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

One year ago: Australia February 2019: Toyota Hilux outsells entire Holden range, Mitsubishi hits highest share in 16 years in 11th consecutive market decline

Full February 2020 Top 48 All-brands and Top 290 All-models below.

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