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Australia March 2018: Mitsubishi snaps first podium this millenium, Holden at lowest-ever #10

The Triton hops to its best ranking in 4 years, helping Mitsubishi to a record #3.

* Now updated with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 280 All-models – click on title to see *

New car sales in Australia edge up 1.5% year-on-year in March to 106.988 registrations, a new record for the month, beating last year’s high mark of 105.410 units. This is the 9th monthly record in the past 11. The year-to-date volume is also a new record at 291.538 sales, up 4.4% on the same period last year and erasing the previous three-month record of 285.328 established in 2016. It’s only a little over than a year ago in February 2017 that SUVs outsold passenger cars for the first time, and since then they have set sail never to be seen again. SUVs are up a further 9.7% to 45.525 and 42.6% share vs. 39.4% a year ago while passenger cars are down 7.3% to 36.120 and 33.8% share vs. 37% in March 2017, a spectacular volte-face in the Australian market. Meanwhile light commercials – including utes, local slang for pickup trucks – edge down 0.4% to 21.897 and 20.5% share vs. 20.9% a year ago. Year-to-date, SUVs are up 10.9% to 123.214 and 42.3% while passenger cars are down 5.7% to 102.470 and 35.1% and light commercials are up 9.4% to 57.380 and 19.7%.  The remaining 3% of the market go to heavy commercials.

The Nissan X-Trail is the #1 SUV in Australia for only the 2nd time ever. Picture

In terms of sales channels, private sales drop 1.8% to 47.996, adding up to 139.215 YTD (-1.5%), business sales are stable to 44.690 adding up to 121.042 YTD (+9.9%), rental sales surge 40.7% to 7.386 and 13.785 YTD (+20.6%) and government sales fall 4% to 3.470 and 9.022 YTD (-2.8%). Petrol sales total 67.761, diesel 37.859, hybrid 1.202 and EV/PHEV 166 excluding Tesla which doesn’t communicate Australian sales. Looking into the origin of new car sales sold in Australia, Japan is tops at 33.539 (+9.1%) ahead of Thailand at 28.589 (+8%), South Korea at 15.021 (+2%), Germany at 8.461 (+6.8%), USA at 3.787 (-8.1%) and UK at 3.427 (-10.8%). Noteworthy is the fact that Hungary, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, Poland, China (765) and Argentina  are now above Australia as local production ended in 2017 and 709 runout Australian-made cars were sold in March. Looking at Australian states an territories, New South Wales/Sydney is first again at 34.754 (-2.6%) above Victoria/Melbourne at 31.105 (+6.3%), Queensland/Brisbane at 21.591 (+1.8%), Western Australia/Perth at 8.821 (+1.3%), South Australia/Adelaide at 6.332 (-0.9%), Australian Capital Territory/Canberra at 1.816 (+7.9%), Tasmania/Hobart at 1.502 (-2.2%) and Northern Territory/Darwin at 1.067 (+12.8%).

The last time Mitsubishi was that successful in Australia, its best-seller looked like this.

Toyota remains by far the most popular carmaker in Australia in March but drops 3.9% to 17.6% share, nevertheless hitting its highest first quarter volume in a decade at 52.465 (+8.1%). Mazda follows at 9.1% but falls 7.2% whereas Mitsubishi soars 16.2% to 8.2% and a new March volume record, snapping the third spot overall off Hyundai down 3% to 7.9%. After extensive research in our Australian archives, we are the first media outlet to be able to point out that Mitsubishi ranks on the Australian podium for the first time this millenium. It is not Mitsubishi’s highest share of late: it hit 8.8% last December, its highest since June 2003 when the brand held 9.1% of the market (#4). The last time Mitsubishi’s share surpassed 10% was in September 2002 (10.4%), ranking 4th again. Then, Mitsubishi was a still local producer – its operations ran from October 1980 to March 2008 – and had seen its market share slump significantly since becoming a full importer. During the eighties and nineties, the Australian market was obliterated by Holden, Ford and Toyota, so it is entirely possible that Mitsubishi had actually never ranked #3 monthly before. At the time, Mitsubishi regularly posted market shares of around 12%, as it was the case in 1986, 1987, 1988 when the Magna alone held 7.8% of the market, and 1993.

The new Commodore can’t prevent Holden from falling to its lowest ever ranking at home.

Below Ford (-2.4%), Nissan gains 10.2% to reclaim the 6th spot it holds year-to-date and the best performer in the Top 20 is once again Honda up a whopping 79.8% to #7 with 5.2%. Subaru (+3.8%) is up three spots to #8, distancing Volkswagen (+0.3%). But there are more big news in the Australian brands ranking: after falling to its lowest ever ranking and share at home last month, Holden hits another new low in March. With deliveries down a steep 29.1% year-on-year the Australian brand is down a further two spots to #10, seeing its share fall to a lowest-ever 4.8%. Holden could fall outside of its home Top 10 for the first time in the coming months as Kia, which outsold it in February, is only 32 sales below at #11 in March. The two new launches that Holden is counting on to revive its record-low sales are sputtering: the Commodore is down 52% on the previous gen a year ago – with 516 of its 990 monthly score being the new imported model – and the Equinox has been down month-onmonth ever since launch at just 327 units vs. 364 in February, 384 in January and 679 in December… This despite aggressive market campaigns for both nameplates including seven-year warranty and roadside assist. Further down the ranking, Chinese LDV (+242.8%) and MG (+167.9%), Lamborghini (+180%), Alfa Romeo (+44.6%), Volvo (+35.5%), Isuzu Ute (+24.4%) and Audi (+23.3%) make themselves noticed.

Thanks to the new ZS, Chinese MG sales are up 168% year-on-year in March.

Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Hilux (+2%) signs its 10th monthly win over the past 12 months but loses the 4×4 ute battle to its archenemy the Ford Ranger (3.224 vs. 3467) itself up 6% and accounting for a record 61% of Ford sales in Australia this month. Below the Toyota Corolla (-10%), the Mitsubishi Triton is up 16% to #4, its highest ranking since June 2014 when it hit #3 and only its third Top 4 finish in the past 5 years – and ever (add May 2013). The Nissan X-Trail surges 41% to a record 7th place (previous best: #8 in January 2017 and January 2018), snapping the title of best-selling SUV in the country for only the second time ever after November 2015. Just below, the Mitsubishi ASX soars 69% to #8, equalling its record ranking also reached in December 2015. The Mazda CX-5 (+7%) comes in at #9 and #3 SUV – but retains the segment lead YTD – followed by the Toyota RAV4 (+5%) rounding out the Top 10. Just outside, the Isuzu D-Max is up 23% to #12, just below its all-time high of #11 hit last December, while the Honda CR-V is propelled up 241% by the new generation, with the Subaru XV (+88%), Honda Civic (+86%), Honda HR-V (+32%) and Toyota Prado (+21%) also in great shape inside the Top 30. The Hyundai Kona (#39) tops all recent launches (<12 months) ahead of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (#57).

Previous month: Australia February 2018: Holden drops to lowest ranking and share ever

One year ago: Australia March 2017: Hilux leads, SUVs beat passenger cars again

Full March 2018 Top 50 All-brands and Top 280 All-models below.

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Australia February 2018: Holden drops to lowest ranking and share ever

Holden is counting on the new Commodore to reverse its freefall at home. Picture

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 All-models – click on title to see *

The Australian new car market shoots up 7.8% year-on-year in February to 95.999 units, narrowly missing out on the February record of 96.443 dating from 2016. The year-to-date volume however is a new record at 184.550 registrations, up 6.1% on the same period in 2017 and smashing the previous best of 180.816 established in 2016. One year ago, SUV registrations overcame passenger cars for the first time in Australian history. It has now become the norm, with SUV sales up 12.1% year-on-year to 39.800 units or 41.5% share vs. 34.491 (-0.7%) and 35.9% for passenger cars, while light commercials soar 13.3% to 18.707 sales. In terms of sales channels, private sales edge up 0.1% to 45.720 units just as business sales surge 16.7% to 39.597, rental sales are up 18% to 4.737 and government sales down 5.8% to 2.943. Petrol sales amount to 61.963 vs. 29.979 for diesel, 951 for hybrid and 104 electric (excluding Tesla who does not share sales data for Australia).

The CR-V (+149%) helps Honda to potentially its highest ranking ever in Australia at #6.

Looking into the origin of new car sales sold in Australia, Japan comes first once again with 29.229 sales (+11.1%), followed by Thailand at 25.675 (+19.6%), South Korea at 14.181 (+5.1%), Germany at 7.636 (+6.5%) and the U.S. at 3.853 (+7.3%), all stepping in as Australia shut down its local operations last year. New South Wales/Sydney remains the largest state in the country in terms of new car sales with 31.252 sales (+3.4%) ahead of Victoria/Melbourne at 28.451 (+14.2%), Queensland/Brisbane at 18.516 (+6%), Western Australia/Perth at 8.276 (+10%), South Australia/Adelaide at 5.665 (+5.8%), Australian Capital Territory/Canberra at 1.578 (+9.7%), Tasmania/Hobart at 1.491 (+11.8%) and Northern Territory/Darwin at 770 (+1.3%). All Australian states and territories are up this month.

The Toyota Hilux posts a 10th monthly Australian win in the past 12. 

Toyota unsurprisingly remains the most popular carmaker in the country, even outpacing the market with a 12.1% year-on-year gain in February to 19% share, followed by Mazda (-0.1%) at 10.3% while Hyundai soars 14.3% to 8.3% in third place. An excellent performance also for Mitsubishi surging 24% to 7.4% share at #4. Ford (+6.9%) takes 5th place above Honda delivering the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 at a gigantic +55.3% and snapping the 6th spot overall, the carmaker’s highest ranking in Australia this decade according to BSCB records. Chinese LDV (+126.5%), Alfa Romeo (+45.3%), Isuzu Ute (+37.4%), Mini (+24.5%), Haval (+20.9%), Peugeot (+17.3%), Kia (+11.7%) and Nissan (+9.9%) also outpace the market. Reversely, Infiniti (-76.5%), Jaguar (-44%), Citroen (-44%) and Land Rover (-23.8%) struggle.

Not since it introduced its first model in 1948 has Holden ranked that low in Australia.

But the main event in the Australian brands ranking this month is the demise of the only true Australian carmaker: Holden. Ending local production in October 2017 after 69 continuous years, Holden has now almost exhausted its stock of locally-made vehicles and is waiting for the full effects of the new imported Commodore, a locally-tuned rebadge of the new gen Opel Insignia that started hitting dealership at the end of the month. Now a pure importer, Holden crumbles 18.1% year-on-year in February to fall outside the Top 5 (#8) and below 5% share for the first time in its history, since the first Holden car was introduced in the country in 1948. If it weren’t for tiny advantages over #9 Volkswagen (18 units) and #10 Kia (25 units), Holden could have fallen further to #10. Saving the day are the Colorado ute (local slang for pickups) at 1.039 sales and the Astra at 1.008 while the newly launched Equinox doesn’t seem to be able to take off just yet at only 364 sales vs. 384 in January and 679 in December.

The Mitsubishi Outlander more than doubles its sales year-on-year.

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux takes off at +31% year-on-year to post a 10th win in the past 12 months, confirming it now has an iron-tight grip on the Australian market. Like in 2017, the Ford Ranger follows with sales up 21%, representing 59% of Ford’s sales in Australia this month. The Toyota Corolla (-4%) is the best-selling passenger car in the country above the Mazda3 (-7%) and Hyundai i30 (+9%) while the Mazda CX-5 holds onto the #1 SUV title, even gaining 13% and distancing the Toyota RAV4 (+7%) and Nissan X-Trail (+8%). The Hyundai Accent soars 48% to #10, the Nissan Navara is up 53% to #11, while further down the ranking the Holden Astra (+153%), Honda CR-V (+149%), Mitsubishi Lancer (+137%), Subaru XV (+109%), Toyota Kluger (+109%) and Mitsubishi Outlander (+102%) all more than double their score vs. February 2017.

The Hyundai Kona remains the most popular recent launch in Australia, outselling the Toyota C-HR.

The Hyundai Kona continues to dominate recent launches (<12 months) but drops 10 spots on January to #32, that’s still better than direct rivals the Mitsubishi ASX (#33), Nissan Qashqai (#34) and most significantly the Toyota C-HR (#43) still lagging bizarrely behind whereas it would seem to have been designed with an Australian clientele in mind. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross gains 17 ranks on last month to already break into the Top 50 for its third month in market, ranking #2 new launch. The Holden Equinox (#71), LDV T60 (#95, first Top 100), Kia Stinger (#102), Range Rover Velar (#107) and Skoda Kodiaq (#114) follow. Finally, we welcome the Volvo XC40 at #249 and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio at #272.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2017: Exclusive State by State rankings

Previous month: Australia January 2018: Toyota and Honda shine in record market

One year ago: Australia February 2017: SUVs above passenger cars, market dips 7.7%

Full February 2018 Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 All-models below.

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Australia Full Year 2017: Exclusive State by State rankings available

The Toyota Hilux is #1 in 5 Australian States out of 8 in 2017. Picture

* See each State’s Top 10 best-selling brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

For the 7th year in a row on BSCB we can share with you the best-sellers in each Australian State/Territory, and for the first time we are able to add in brands rankings. This is exclusive data you won’t find anywhere else on the web. The Toyota HIlux has been topping the same three States (Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory) every year since 2008, but in 2017 the star pickup from Toyota, #1 nationally for the 2nd year in a row, adds two more wins: the country’s largest State, New South Wales, as well as South Australia, topping both States for the very first time. The Ford Ranger maintains its hold on two States (Victoria and Tasmania) while the Mazda3 is the only passenger car managing a State win in 2017: in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Ford Ranger is #2 in New South Wales and #1 in Victoria.

New South Wales (Sydney)

With stable sales (-0.1%), New South Wales remains the largest Australian state in terms of volume at 397.273. The brands ranking is very close to the national order with the Top 5 identical: Toyota (+3.1%), followed by Mazda (-5.2%), Hyundai (-5.1%), Holden (-15.3%) and Ford (-1.8%). Mitsubishi (+10.5%) is above Volkswagen (+3.2%) while Kia (+34.3%) is above Subaru (+8.3%) and Nissan (-13%). Model-wise, after four consecutive years of Toyota Corolla reign, the NSW charts is dominated by a pickup for the first time: the Toyota Hilux indeed signs its very first win here thanks to deliveries up 13% whereas the Corolla is down 8% to #2. The Ford Ranger is up 22% and two spots to #3, overtaking the Mazda3 (-11%) and Hyundai i30 (-27%). As it is the case nationally, the Mazda CX-5 is the #1 SUV in NSW at #6 (+2 on 2016) with the VW Golf (-5%) remaining at #7.

Mercedes ranks #8 in Victoria, its only Top 10 State finish for 2017. Picture  

Victoria (Melbourne)

Victoria posts the largest year-on-year gain of all Australian States in 2017 at +4% to 339.343 units, that’s also the largest volume gain (+13.074). Toyota (+2.2%) trails the market and its national score with a weak 15.3% share, distancing Mazda (+4.5%) at 9.6%. Holden surprises with a 12.4% year-on-year gain keeping the brand on the podium at 9.5% share vs. 7.6% nationally. Ford (-3.7%) is also strong at #4 and 7.7% vs. #6 and 6.6%, followed by Hyundai (+4.2%), Nissan (-18.5%) and Mitsubishi (+13.3%). If Kia surges 35.5% to #9, the clear performer in Victoria is once again Mercedes, up 8.3% to post its highest State ranking and only Top 10 finish at #8. This year, Mercedes delivers 42% of its Australian total solely in Victoria vs. 38% in 2016. The Ford Ranger (+22%) is the best-selling model in Victoria for the 2nd consecutive year, widening the gap with the Mazda2 (-4%) from 737 to 3.395 sales. The Toyota Hilux gains four spots to land at #3, meaning it now ranks on the podium of all States bar ACT. The Holden Commodore (-6%) manages to improve its ranking to #5, overtaking the Toyota Camry (-11%) while the Mazda CX-5 (+12%) remains the best-selling SUV in the State at #8. Victoria is the only State where the Holden Astra returns to the Top 10 at #9 vs. #25 nationally while the Mercedes C-Class gains 29% to break into the Top 20 at #20.

The Holden Colorado hits its highest ranking in Queensland. Picture

Queensland (Brisbane)

Queensland new vehicle sales are stable in 2017, up just 75 units to 233.101 registrations. Toyota (+4%) performs stronger here than nationally with a 20.5% share vs. 18.2%, with Mazda (-5.1%) at similar levels at 10.2% and Hyundai (-9.9%) almost one percentage point higher at 9%. Mitsubishi (+7.4%) over-performs at #4 but Holden (-9.3%) and Ford (-1.6%) are weaker. With no recent history of car manufacturing in the State, Queensland buyers don’t have any particular attachment to brands perceived as local, and as a result only two nameplates in the Top 22 are not Asian: the Ford Ranger (#2) and Holden Colorado (hitting a State high at #7). Queensland remains the kingdom of pickup trucks, affectionately nickamed “utes” in Australia (for utility), with no less than 6 of them placing in the Top 11. The Toyota Hilux celebrates 11 consecutive years as the best-seller here, improving by 16% above the Ranger (+12%). The Toyota Corolla (-6%), Hyundai i30 (-26%) and Mazda3 (-13%) round up the Top 5 while the Hyundai Tucson (+23%) overtakes the Mazda CX-5 (-0.1%) to become the State’s best-selling SUV and the Isuzu D-Max is up 10% to #9.

The Hyundai Tucson posts its only Top 5 finish in Western Australia. Picture

Western Australia (Perth)

The Western Australian market continues its descent into hell with a 4th consecutive year-on-year drop at -2.5% in 2017 to 97.773 units, having now lost 22% of its annual volume since a high of 125.544 sales in 2013. Below Toyota (+4.6%) very robust at 22.4% share, Hyundai drops 7.2% year-on-year but hits both its highest ranking in any State (#2) and it only share above 10%. Mitsubishi surges 8.7% and three spots to land on the third step of the podium at 8.3%, only 14 units above Mazda (-5.6%). Western Australia is the only State where Ford (-8.1%) outsells Holden (-9.8%) and also did so last year. Similarly to Queensland, Western Australia’s rugged terrain favours four-wheel-drives and the Toyota Hilux celebrates 10 consecutive years in pole position here, even widening the gap with the Ford Ranger from 683 to 1.071 sales thanks to deliveries up 13% vs. +6% for the Ford ute. The Toyota Corolla (-1%) edges up one spot to claw its way back onto the podium, dislodging the Hyundai i30 down 18% to #4. The Hyundai Tucson (+1%) hits its highest State ranking here at #5, snapping the title of best-selling SUV off the Toyota Prado. The Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi ASX and Toyota RAV4 also make it to the Top 10 while the Holden Colorado is up 10% and 4 spots to #8. The Mitsubishi Outlander (#11 vs. #20 nationally), Toyota Land Cruiser Wagon (#15 vs. #28) and Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup (#20 vs. #44) also over-perform in WA.

The Holden Commodore (2018 model pictured) clocks in its only podium in South Australia.

South Australia (Adelaide)

The South Australian new vehicle market is up 1% this year to 72.426 units. A long history of manufacturing in the State means some brands are at their strongest nationally here. Toyota is up 7.1% to 19.9% share vs. 18.2% nationally and Mazda is up 8.3% to 11.4% vs. 9.8% but Holden – which manufactured here from 1856 to 2017- frankly over-performs despite sales down 7% to a round 10% share vs. just 7.6% nationally. Similarly, Mitsubishi, once a local manufacturer, is up 8.8% to a stunning 9.8% share, three percentage points above its national level. Ford (-12.9%) and Hyundai (-4.5%) follow while Subaru stuns with a 7th place and 7.8% share, distancing Nissan (-13.1%), Volkswagen (-0.2%) and Honda (+13%), all below their national levels. The Toyota Hilux is up 9% and three ranks to lodge its first ever victory here, with the Ford Ranger (-1%) remaining in second place and the Holden Commodore (-4%) posting its only podium ranking anywhere in Australia. Leader in 2016, the Mazda3 tumbles down to #4. The Toyota Camry soars 21% to a nation-high #6 (also hit in Victoria), with the Mitsubishi ASX (#9), Outlander (#11) and Mazda CX-3 (#12) also posting strong showings.

The Mitsubishi ASX hits its highest ranking in Tasmania at #2. Picture

Tasmania (Hobart)

New vehicle sales in Tasmania edge up 0.8% in 2017 to 19.901 units. Toyota dominates here too but drops 7% to a weak 16.6% share whereas Mitsubishi soars 13.6% to a nation-best 11.5% share vs. just 6.8% nationally, distancing Mazda up 8.1% to 7.6%. But the best performer here in 2017 is without contest Subaru up 7.8% and three ranks to #4 with 7.6% share and only 11 units off a historical podium ranking. This is by far the best ranking Subaru has managed anywhere in Australia. Holden (-8.8%), Hyundai (-22%) and Ford (-7.9%) follow while Volkswagen soars 12.4% to 5.8% vs. 4.9% nationally and Kia is up 32.6% to #10. The Ford Ranger (-0.3%) is the best-selling vehicle in Tasmania for the third straight year but this time it is followed by the Mitsubishi ASX up 11% and one spot to #2 vs. #13 nationally, by far its best State ranking in 2017. The Mitsubishi Triton (#4 vs. #10), Outlander (#6 vs. #20), Isuzu D-Max (#7 vs. #17), Subaru XV (#11 vs. #37) and Outback (#12 vs. #35) also hit their highest State ranking, here in Tasmania. The Toyota Hilux is up 6% to #3, the Toyota Corolla down 26% and three ranks to #5, the Nissan X-Trail up 64% and 13 spots to #9 and the Hyundai Tucson up 100% and 19 ranks to #10.

The Mazda3 signs the only 2017 State win by a passenger car in the ACT.

Australian Capital Territory (Canberra)

From a record 18.816 registrations in 2016, sales in the ACT edge down 1.5% in 2017 to 18.540. Toyota is in the lead but frankly under-performs with a slim 0.4% improvement and 13.4% share, almost 5 percentage points below its national level. Mazda on the other hand is 2 percentage points above its national share at 11.8%, with Hyundai rounding up the podium at 8.6%. Volkswagen posts a stunning 8.3% share (vs. 4.9% nationally) in 4th place, distancing Mitsubishi, Honda and Subaru while Holden (#8) and Ford (#9) are particularly shy. The Mazda3 is the best-seller here for at least the 7th consecutive year despite sales down 10% while the VW Golf (-5%) ranks at its highest anywhere in Australia, reclaiming the 2nd spot it held in 2015 by overtaking the Hyundai i30 (-24%). It ranks 14th nationally. The Toyota Hilux (+3%) nudges up one rank to #4, the Mazda CX-5 (+9%) is up two to #5, both passing the Toyota Corolla (-9%). The Kia Cerato (+17%) breaks into the Top 10, followed closely by the Honda Civic (+68%) at #11 vs. #23 nationally, the VW Tiguan is up 96% to #15 vs. #38 nationally and the Subaru Impreza up 138% to #19 vs. #32.

Toyota holds 40.6% of the Northern Territory market, placing the Prado at #4… 

Northern Territory (Darwin)

Home of Uluru, the Northern Territory is Australian nature at its purest. Larger than France, Germany and Spain put together, it is populated by just 243.700 inhabitants, 60% of them in its capital, Darwin. The smallest market in Australia, Northern Territory saw its sales gain a tiny 0.2% in 2017 to 10.759, still a notch below the high of 11.393 hit in 2013. The Northern Territory is Toyota territory: the Japanese manufacturer more than doubles its national market share here at a mammoth 40.6% vs. 18.8%, selling almost four times the amount of its immediate follower: Mitsubishi, itself posting a stunning score at 10.3% share with the help of strong rental sales. Holden (+4.9%), Mazda (-6.5%) and Hyundai (+2.5%) round up the Top 5 while Kia (#7 vs. #9), Suzuki (#9 vs. #16) and Honda (#10 vs. #11) are higher than their national levels.

…and The Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup at #10 vs. #44 nationally. 

Logically, Toyota owns the NT models ranking with 6 nameplates in the Top 7 and 8 in the Top 11. The Hilux celebrates 20 consecutive years in the NT pole position with 10.8% share, the highest of any model in any State, and is followed this year by the Corolla (-15%), RAV4 (+24%) at #3 vs. #12 nationally and Prado (+27%) at #4 vs. #22 – both nameplates hitting their highest State rankings here – with the Ford Ranger (-4%) down two spots to #5. The Land Cruiser Wagon (+2%), also hitting its highest position here at #6 vs. #28 nationally, and Camry (+17%) both advance whereas the Mitsubishi ASX (-10%) and Triton (-0.3%) skid down. The Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup soars 23% to return inside the Top 10 at #10 vs. #44 nationally. Notice also the Mitsubishi Outlander up 51% and 9 spots to #12 vs. #20 nationally, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport up 100% and 15 ranks to a State-high of #18 vs. #47, the Holden Trailblazer up to #32 vs. #83 and the Toyota C-HR landing at #45 vs. #55, its only Top 50 State finish for 2017.

Australia post: Australia Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux first ever “ute” to lead annual sales

Previous year: Australia Full Year 2015: Exclusive State by State rankings available

Two years ago: Australia Full Year 2014: Exclusive State by State rankings available

Full Year 2017 Top 10 brands and Top 50 models in each Australian state vs. Full 2016 figures below.

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Australia January 2018: Toyota and Honda shine in record market

The Hilux (+43%) helps Toyota to its highest January volume in 10 years.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 45 All-brands and Top 280 All-models – see title *

Australia starts 2018 at a record pace: January sales are up 4.3% year-on-year to 88.551 units, a new record for the month eclipsing the previous best of 85.430 established in January 2013. SUV sales have now carved themselves up a solid advantage, up 10.9% to 37.859 vs. just 31.890 (-8.7%) for passenger cars. Note that a year ago in January 2017, SUVs still had never surpassed passenger cars. Light commercials soar 20.3% to 16.776. 4×4 utes (local slang for pickup trucks) are up 26.6%, small SUVs up 25.5% and medium SUVs up 19.2%. Private sales are down 3% to 45.482, business sales up 17.1% to 36.772, government sales up 2.2% to 2.609 and rental sales down 22.3% to 1.662. The leading sources of vehicles sold in Australia this month are Japan up 5.3% to 26.846, Thailand up 19.5% to 23.482, South Korea up 7.7% to 13.732, Germany up 6.3% to 7.187 and the U.S. down 15.9% to 3.141. The ranking by State is as follows: New South Wales (Sydney) down 0.2% to 28.995, Victoria (Melbourne) up 5.4% to 25.961, Queensland (Brisbane) up 9.8% to 17.246, Western Australia (Perth) up 5.2% to 7.401, South Australia (Adelaide) up 3.5% to 5.314, ACT (Canberra) up 8.5% to 1.561, Tasmania up 6.1% to 1.418 and Northern Territory up 0.4% to 655.

The CR-V is up 167% year-on-year, propelling Honda to its largest share this decade.

In the brands ranking, market leader Toyota surges 21.9% on January 2016 to post its highest volume for the month since 2008 at 15.306. Mazda (+0.5%) follows with a strong 11.4% ahead of Hyundai up 6.2% to 8%. Holden, which had a record December fuelled by demo sales, falls back to earth in January: down 20.4% to 6.5%. Ford (-4.5%), Mitsubishi (+3.7%) and Nissan (-6.1%) follow while Honda soars 32% to 5.2%, potentially its highest monthly share in Australia this decade and Kia is up 12.9% to an all-time record 5.1% share, beating the 5% hit last April and June. Notice also Chinese LDV up 154.3% to #23 thanks to the new T60 ute and D90 SUV, Ferrari up 107.7%, Alfa Romeo up 71.7%, Isuzu Ute up 39.4%, Chrysler up 28.6%, Jeep up 28.1%, Mini up 13%, McLaren up 11.1% and Mercedes up 10%. At the other end of the scale, Ssangyong is down 92.3%, Great Wall down 57.1%, Lamborghini down 41.2%, Ram down 40%, Infiniti down 36.5% and Citroen down 32.4%

The CX-3 ranks at #10, helping Mazda to 11.4% market share.

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux is the best-selling vehicle in Australia in January for the first time, surging 43% to a new record volume for the month, just as it enters its 50th year in showrooms. Like in FY2017, the Hilux is followed by the Ford Ranger up 24% year-on-year, but the Ranger wins in the 4×4 ute segment, although by just 12 units at 2.892 vs. 2.880. #1 in the country every January since 2012 due to its strength with private buyers, the Mazda3 (-8%) drops to #3 this year ahead of the Toyota Corolla (-6%) while the Mazda CX-5 (+12%) reclaims the title of best-selling SUV in the country at #5 overall. The Toyota RAV4 (+28%) and Nissan X-Trail (-5%) follow at #7 and #8 respectively.

The Holden Equinox makes its first official appearance in the Australian sales charts.

Below the VW Golf up a strong 25% to #9, the Mazda CX-3 (+6%) makes it three Mazdas in the Top 10 like in January 2017. The Nissan Navara is up 63% to #11, the Mitsubishi Triton up 33% to #11 and the Honda CR-V up a gigantic 167% to #13 thanks to the new generation. Further down, notice the Honda Civic (+48%), Subaru XV (+78%) and the Hyundai Kona up 10 spots on December to lead all recent launches (<12 months) by a large margin at a record 22nd place. The next best thing is the Toyota C-HR at #44 (+3 on December), followed by the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross at #63 (+51). We welcome four new nameplates in the Australian charts this month: the Holden Equinox at #67, the Hyundai Ioniq at #170, the Jaguar E-Pace at #182 and the BMW X2 at #213.

Previous post: Australia Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger top record market

Previous month: Australia December 2017: Holden up 57.7%, Astra and Colorado hit records

One year ago: Australia January 2017: SUV sales only 800 units below passenger cars

Full January 2018 Top 45 All-brands and Top 280 All-models below.

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Australia Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger top record market

The Toyota Hilux is the #1 vehicle in Australia for the 2nd straight year. Picture

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands, Top 350 All-models and Top 50 All-medium and heavy commercial vehicles – click on title *

Consult over 70 years worth of Australian Historical Data here

The Australian new vehicle market marks a third consecutive all-time record year in 2017, up 0.9% on the previous record established in 2016 to lift it to 1.189.116 units. One of the most striking evolutions of the Australian market in 2017 is the fact SUVs outsold passenger cars for the very first time in history. With sales up 5.6% to 465.646, they account for 39.2% of the market this year vs. 37.4% a year ago. Reversely, passenger cars are down a steep 7.5% to 450.012 or 37.8% share vs. 41.3% in 2016. Light commercials, mainly composed of pickup trucks, are even more dynamics than SUVs with a 8.6% year-on-year gain to 236.609 and 19.9% share vs. 18.5% a year ago. Looking at sales by State, the most dynamic is Victoria (Melbourne) with deliveries up 4% to 339.343, with the next best performer being South Australia (Adelaide) at +1% to 72.426, Tasmania up 0.8% to 19.901, Northern Territory (Darwin) up 0.2% to 10.759 and Queensland (Brisbane) stable at 233.101. All other States are in negative: New South Wales (Sydney) down 0.1% to 397.273, Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) dow 1.5% to 18.540 and Western Australia (Perth) down 2.5% to 97.773.

The Ford Ranger soars 16% to a best-ever 2nd place in 2017.

Brand-wise, Toyota remains unreachable, even outpacing the market at +3.3% to 18.2% share, marking 21 years in the Australian pole position including the past 15 straight years. Toyota eclipses 200.000 annual sales for the sixth consecutive year and the 13th time in the past 14 years (record: 238,983 in 2008), keep in mind this is a milestone no other carmaker has ever managed to reach in Australia. Mazda remains in 2nd place – its highest ranking anywhere in the world – despite a 1.6% drop, while both Hyundai (-4.5%) and Holden (-4.2%) retract relatively significantly. Mitsubishi advances almost 10% to return inside the Top 5 most popular brands, knocking Ford (-3.8%) out.

Kia posts the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 at +28.3%.

Volkswagen (+2.5%) overtakes Nissan (-15.3%) while Kia posts by far the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 at +28.3% to hit another annual volume record (54.737) and ranking (#9). Honda (+14.6%), Subaru (+11.7%) and Isuzu Ute (+10.4%) also post double-digit gains in the Top 20 whereas Jeep (-34.5%), BMW (-15.7%) and Audi (-9.3%) are in difficulty. Further down, Great Wall (+270.6%), Haval (+148.3% for its first full year), Lotus (+100%), Chinese LDV (+68%), Maserati (+53.2%), Alfa Romeo (+48.7%), Ram (+36.3%), Aston Martin (+25.2%), McLaren (+24.7%), Rolls Royce (+21.6%), Bentley (+15.3%), Skoda (+12.4%) and Ferrari (+11.7%) post impressive gains. MG comes back to Australia as a Chinese brand and makes its first appearance in the official sales ranking at a discreet (for now?) #34 just below Haval.

The Mazda CX-5 is the best-selling SUV in Australia for the 5th consecutive year. 

In 2016, the Toyota Hilux became the first ever “ute” (local slang for pickup truck) to top the annual Australian sales charts. It repeats this feat in 2017 thanks to sales up 12% to break a new volume record for the nameplate at 47.093 and, in a first ever “ute 1-2” in history, is now followed by the Ford Ranger, up 16% to hit ranking, share and volume records. The Ford Ranger even snapped its very first monthly #1 in September., the first non-Asian nameplate to top Australian charts in over six years and only the 9th nameplate in the past 40 years to top the Australian monthly charts at least once. The Toyota Corolla (-7%), Mazda3 (-9%) and Hyundai i30 (-24%) follow but all decline, illustrating the exodus from passenger cars Australian car buyers are showing.

First ever annual Top 10 ranking for the Hyundai Tucson in Australia. 

The Mazda CX-5 celebrates five consecutive years as Australia’s favourite SUV thanks to deliveries up 5% to a new record, and reaching the highest year-end position of any SUV in history at #6. It is however followed closely by the Hyundai Tucson (+18%) breaking into the annual Top 10 for the fist time at #7 and also breaking volume and share records. In fact, the Top 5 best-selling SUVs all break their volume record this year in Australia and 6 of the Top 7: the Toyota RAV4 (+8%), Mitsubishi ASX (+7%), Nissan X-Trail (+0.3%) and Mitsubishi Outlander (+34%), the latter breaking into the annua Top 20 for the first time at #20. The Holden Colorado (+17%), Kia Cerato (+42%) and Isuzu D-Max (+8%) also hit all-time high volumes inside the Top 20.

The Toyota C-HR during a trip to the Australian desert we will report on shortly. 

Further down, the Honda Civic shoots up 109% to #23 thanks to the new model, the Holden Astra leaps up to #25 thanks to a new generation and even ranked to a nameplate record 2nd place overall in December likely thanks to dealer self-registrations. The Kia Sportage (+23%), Subaru Impreza (+1525), Mercedes C-Class (+22%), Subaru XV (+23%), VW Tiguan (+68%), Ford Mustang (+48%), Mazda CX-9 (+76%), Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup (+26%) and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport also make themselves noticed inside the Top 50. Even though it still lags well below its direct competitors the Mazda CX-3 ($#19) and Honda HR-V (#33), the Toyota C-HR (#55) is the most popular new launch in Australia for 2017, ahead of the Ford Escape (#64, technically launched in late 2016), Hyundai Kona (#93), and Audi Q2 (#108).

Previous post: Australia December 2017: Holden up 57.7%, Astra and Colorado break records

Previous year: Australia Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux first ever “ute” to lead annual sales and The State by State best-sellers

Two years ago: Australia Full Year 2015: Mazda first full importer to #2 in record market and The State by State best-sellers

Full Year 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 350 All-models vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

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Australia December 2017: Holden up 57.7%, Astra & Colorado hit records

The Holden Astra breaks a 16 year-old ranking record this month.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 280 All-models – see title *

The November 2017 post has also been updated with Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models

New vehicle sales in Australia are up 4.1% year-on-year to 102.820 units, leading to another annual record as we will report in a separate update. Australian December data is always heavily swayed by end-of-year manipulations by some manufacturers eager to meet annual targets, such as extensive demo sales or stock sales of cars that then appear in the second hand market early in the new year. This unmistakably leads to freak events: over the past couple of years, Toyota distinguished itself by placing the Camry at a very unusual #1. This time Holden stands out just as it ended local production a few months back, with deliveries up 57.7% year-on-year to 11.8% share. This is the first time Holden holds more than 10% of the Australian market since January 2015 (10.2%) and it hits its highest share since December 2011 (12.4%). In the remainder of the brands ranking, Peugeot (+236%), LDV (+117.2%), Mitsubishi (+33.6%), Land Rover (+25.4%), Kia (+20.9%), Honda (+19.2%), Lexus (+14.6%), Isuzu Ute (+12.7%) and Volkswagen (+12.5%) also shine.

The Holden Colorado hits record ranking, volume and share this month.

The models ranking bears the marks of Holden’s artificial year-end push: below the Toyota Hilux (-3%) posting its eighth monthly win of the year, the Holden Astra shoots up 23-fold on December 2016 to an incredible – because artificial – 2nd place at 3.533 sales and 3.4% share. Last month the Astra reappeared in the Australian Top 20 for the first time in 9 years (since February 2009) and this month it simply beats the nameplate’s 16 year-old ranking record and 12 year-old monthly volume records. The Astra’s previous bests were #3 (first reached in 2001, last in February 2005) and 3.359 sales (August 2005). This is the Astra’s first Top 10 since July 2008 (#8), first Top 5 since October 2005 (#5) and best market share since October 2005 (3.9%). The Astra’s highest annual ranking in Australia so far is #4 in 2001, at a time when the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon obliterated the sales charts.

Holden has another record on its hands with the Colorado ute: up 166% year-on-year to #4 with 3.222 sales and 3.1% share, these are all new records for ranking (previous best: #8 in April 2017), volume (pb: 2.411 in June 2017) and share (pb 2.2% in April 2017). This year, the Colorado breaks its annual volume record (21.579), share record (1.8%) and equals its annual ranking record (#11, also hit in 2015). In other news, the Colorado makes it three utes (local slang for pickup trucks) in the Top 4 with the Mitsubishi Triton up 26% to #6 making it four in the Top 6. The Mitsubishi ASX is up 43% to remain at #9, the Honda Civic is up 64% to #15, Toyota Prado up 33% to #16, Mitsubishi Outlander up 32% to #17, Nissan Navara up 50% to #18 but the Hyundai i30 implodes down 48% to #19.

Previous month: Australia November 2017: All-time high November = annual record likely

Full December 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 280 All-models rankings below.

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Australia: 1984-2017 Nameplates records now available

Holden Commodore SS Australia 1998The Holden Commodore sold a record 94.642 units in Australia in 1998.

* See the Top 75 most successful nameplates in Australia by clicking on the title *

This ranking has now been updated with 2017 figures and official sales data spanning the past 34 years. Thanks to a new volume record, the Toyota Hilux leaps from #6 to #4 most popular nameplate over the period in Australia below just the Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon and Toyota Corolla and leapfrogging the Mazda3 and Hyundai Excel. The Hilux is now 900 units away from becoming the most popular Toyota ever in Australia annual volume-wise. The Ford Ranger for its part jumps from #10 to #7 thanks to new volume, share and ranking records. The Mazda CX-5 breaks its volume and ranking records, the Hyundai Tucson breaks all records, with the Holden Colorado, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Cerato, Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Outlander also hitting all-time high volumes in 2017.

Consult over 70 years worth of Australian Historical Data here

Toyota Hilux Australia 2016. Picture courtesy of Ford Ranger is only the 5th nameplate to rank #1 in the past 33 years.

The original post starts here: Now that year-end detailed models rankings for Australia are available without interruption since 1984, I can give you a summary of the most popular nameplates over the period. They are ranked by yearly volume record, with info on their record market share and position also included. No surprise on top: the Holden Commodore holds the nameplate all-time record with 94.642 units sold in 1998. It’s fair to say that this record is in safe hands: with the fragmentation of the market, last year’s leader has sold just under 44.000 units.

The Ford Falcon holds the Australian market share record in the past 30 years at 15.3%.

Note that the Commodore’s market share record is a nowadays-impossible 12.8% reached in 1996, while the Ford Falcon, whose volume record was reached in 1995 (81.366), holds the all-time market share record at 15.3% in 1987. The Toyota Corolla is the third most popular nameplate in Australia over the past 34 years with a record of 47.901 sales in 2008. The Mazda3 follows, ahead of the Hyundai Excel, Toyota Hilux and Camry and Mitsubishi Magna.

Toyota Corolla in Broken Hill, Australia – April 2008

See the Top 50 most successful nameplates in Australia in 1984-2017 below.

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Photo Report: Driving a Tesla Model X along the Australian East Coast

Kangaroo meets Tesla Model X

Two and a half years ago, I test drove the Tesla Model S and had one thing to say: believe the hype. This time around I want to take the Model X on a longer trip to also evaluate the burgeoning network of charging stations around Australia. Although Tesla won’t communicate sales figures for Australia, anecdotal spotting on the streets and a recall earlier this year indicate the American manufacturer has already sold north of 1.500 units in the country, a real success. Worldwide, the Tesla Model X is simply one of the top selling electric vehicles, up there with the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, BYD Qin and BAIC EC-Series. There is one Telsa store in Sydney, located in the northern suburb of St Leonards, “north of the bridge” as Sydneysiders would say.

Taking stock of the beastOur itinerary: Sydney to Byron Bay and back, covering 1.765km / 1.100miMikey posing next to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour

Don’t get me wrong, getting such an impressive car on the road is an impressive feat in itself. It’s a car for early adopters, the kind of buyers that don’t bat an eyelid when learning the Model X’s price tag. According to the spec sheets sent by Tesla PR, this is a Model X P100D and it comes in at a demoralising AUD 278.025 (US$209.000, 177.400€), including AUD 43.612 worth of Luxury Car Tax, a local specialty. That’s double the price of the Model S I tested before and an awful lot of money indeed. The base price is AUD 203.600, to which metallic paint (AUD 1.400), 22″ Onyx Black Wheels (AUD 7.600) and Six Seat interior configuration (AUD 8.300) were added. For comparison, for this price in Australia you can get two top-spec Volvo XC90, two top-spec Toyota Land Cruiser 200, almost three base-spec Porsche Cayenne and three top-spec Jaguar F-Pace S. Ex-Luxury Tax, it costs roughly the same as a Mercedes GLS 563 AMG or a Range Rover Sport SVR and is significantly dearer than any BMW or Audi SUV, including the X6 M (AUD 197.900) and SQ7 (AUS 153.300).

Joey in his mum’s pocketMikey gets acquainted with the locals

Needless to say that for that price, I will expect top-notch quality and performance, but also some serious off-roading capabilities. Judging by the puzzled look and unmistakably paler face of the Tesla salesperson when I inquire about exactly how much off-road driving we can do with the Model X: not at all. Her response: “What do you mean by off-roading?” Hmm never mind. This is a performance car that happens to be shaped like an SUV. But first, a name for our expensive ride: after Ivanhoe the Haval H9, Joey the Toyota Hilux, Kaitlin the Peugeot 208 and Lars the Volvo V90 we need a somewhat Australian name starting in M, a male name as this is an SUV, therefore a truck which has a masculine gender in my native tongue, French. We will go with Mike, but Australianised as ‘Mikey’.

Tesla Supercharger in Heatherbrae near Newcastle

We start the trip with 3.503 km / 2.177 miles on the odo, and although the sticker on the windscreen says 542 km / 337 miles of range, we’ll never reach that figure and full charge allows us a maximum of 430 km / 286 miles. Organising a road trip with an electric car is, for now, a completely different experience than with a combustion car. The deep Australian outback and its iconic red earth is out of the equation as there aren’t enough charging stations out there. We have to stick to the coast and take the direction of Brisbane. Another option could have been joining Melbourne, but we judged that to be a lot less eventful. A rule of thumb is that you should never miss a supercharger when you reach one. With these, a full charge is achieved in 30 mins so it’s a little like a lunch stop. Except that the businesses that house the superchargers have not yet cottoned up to the opportunities and do not offer quick meal options tailored to Tesla users. Weird.

Mikey in Worimi National Park NSW

Our first stop is the Morisset Reserve, which has to be one of the only places in Australia where you can actually pet wild kangaroos (only if you have carrots to offer). Very shy in nature, the quintessential Australian animal is surprisingly tame here. A secret spot 1h30 north of Sydney I warmly recommend to all of you visiting the city, or the country for that matter. The Reserve, open to the public, is located on the grounds of one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Australia and I came to imagine that living this heart-warming experience with the kangaroos could be therapeutic for the patients. After supercharging in Heatherbrae near Newcastle, we head towards Worimi National Park, home of the largest sand dunes in Australia. We dare not drive onto the sand so we have to do with some snaps with a sandy background (above).

Hotel charging in GraftonGrafton car landscape

The first night has to be spent at the Fitzroy Motel Inn in Grafton as this the only Destination charging station around. These are slower chargers (approx 5 hours to full charge) usually placed in the carpark of hotels, that you can only use if you are a patron of the hotel (in most cases, some are free for all). But you must call in advance to make sure the station is reserved for you as most only have one or two stations. These added elements can make or break a trip as arriving to a fully booked charging station can mean you have to delay your departure by half a day. By now the car landscape has well and truly tilted towards pickup trucks with the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger kings of the Australian countryside. Roo bars protecting against kangaroos are also common.

Mikey sitting on the easternmost point in continental Australia in Byron BayIn Lennox Head

Eager to figure out whether the Model X can match the safety features of the Volvo XC90 and Volvo V90 CC I drove recently, I am disappointed. The press cars have the autopilot mode deactivated, which means no line assist, no emergency braking and, most irritatingly, no adaptive cruise control. Granted, it is an exceptionally smooth ride and the 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in less than 4 sec and 0 to 160 km/h (0 to 100 mph) in under 9 sec are experiences I was so keen to rekindle with and left me very satisfied indeed. Even though it doesn’t offer loads of storage options, the cockpit is a lot more practical than the Model S which was my main criticism then, with many cup holders for example. And the giant central touch screen console is so hypnotising, easy to use and stylish that it’s really hard to be mad at the Model X.

Ferry crossing in Lawrence NSWGreat Wall V-Series Pickup Ford Ranger

Also, the windscreen extends above your heads to end up atop the rear seats, creating a unique impression of space and awesome upward visibility. The Falcon Wing doors are mighty impressive but really just a gimmick in my eyes. However there were some negative surprises. The cabin was surprisingly noisy especially on the passenger side with a constant wind noise sounding like the door was still open (when it’s well and truly shut). For large swaths of the trip – which was almost entirely done in heavily populated areas – the GPS does not recognise the Pacific Highway although new construction has been done with for almost two years. Surprising given Tesla’s “constant update” policy. And for half a day the GPS voice froze and was stuttering out of control, taking an overnight stop to reset it. Automatic high beam needs fine tuning as it goes off abruptly and a lot of times unnecessarily, whereas the low beams are too weak, actually creating a dangerous situation when there was none.

Posing with a vintage lot near Grafton NSW

I was also surprised when it became apparent that windscreen wipers don’t trigger automatically with rain, a function that exists in 20 year-old entry level cars such as the Peugeot 206 for example. The user manual says this “will be available in a later software update”… This is so weird that a Tesla owner we met and chatted with at one of the supercharging stations (these locations do create a Tesla community) asked us about it. He also told us that his previous Model S did have the function. I console myself by indulging in yet another ludicrous acceleration: never, ever will I get tired of this.

Foton Tunland in Brooklyn NSWToyota Hilux in Ballina

We soon reach Byron Bay and get Mikey to pose near the local lighthouse which is the easternmost point in the whole of continental Australia. Popular vehicles around here include the Nissan Navara, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Kluger, VW Amarok, Mitsubishi ASX and of course the Toyota Hilux, national best-seller in 2016 and headed towards a second consecutive year on top in 2017. But one nameplate that seemed to be everywhere during this trip is the Hyundai Tucson, up 20% to #7 in the country so far this year with its frequency on the streets fully reflecting its position in the sales charts. Finally, both the new generation Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are already well established here, and Chinese pickups such as the Great Wall V-Series and Foton Tunland are not uncommon,

We then drive back to Sydney via a ferry crossing in Lawrence and a last night in Brooklyn NSW in the Hawkesbury River region. We return to St Leonards with 5.269 km / 3.274 miles on the odo after swallowing 1.766 km / 1.097 miles in four days. So. What is the Tesla Model X doing well, and not so well?

  • Ludicrous accelerations either from 0 or at any speed make overtaking a little too enjoyable. The force at which the car speeds up, flattening you against your seat, is an experience I cannot forget
  • Handles truly better than most combustion sports cars
  • Central giant touch screen console is brilliant and stylish yet does not divert your attention from driving too much as it is really easy to use
  • Interior sober sophistication invites luxury. More practical than the Model S
  • Giant windscreen gives impression of space above head
  • Falcon Wing doors are fun to watch but relatively impractical
  • Easter eggs such as the Holiday song and dance to the Wizards of Winter in the video above are unique to Tesla, entertaining a special link with its customers
  • Supercharging is fast (30 mins) and the 430 km range helps with range anxiety once you are accustomed to bending your trip to meet charging locations and destinations
  • Excellent sound system

  • Autopilot deactivation means we couldn’t test any safety features as it also cancels adaptive cruise control. These functions should be separated
  • Windscreen wipers don’t trigger with rain
  • GPS is lost and can’t find main arteries such as the Pacific Highway for a large part of the trip
  • GPS voice froze and took an overnight stop to reset
  • Its extravagant price reserve the Model X to fanatics of the “concept” Tesla offers, not pragmatic buyers that will prefer it a true luxury off-roader such as the Range Rover
  • Noisy cabin with wind noise on passenger side
  • No sunnies holder above your head
  • Indications on the touch screen such as the time, distance and time to destination (pretty essential) are too small and hard to find
  • Automatic high beam too sensitive and low beam too weak
  • Door opening system with a key in the shape of the car, is impractical
  • Range, although satisfying, is over 100 km less than announced by Tesla

Stay tuned for our next test drive: a Toyota C-HR in the Australian desert.

Tesla Model X in Ballina Motel

Australia November 2017: All-time high November = annual record likely

First appearance of the Holden Astra nameplate in the Top 20 in almost 9 years.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models – click on title *

New vehicle sales in Australia establish a new November record for the third consecutive year thanks to deliveries up 2.5% year-on-year to 101.365 units, the first time in Australian history that November registers a six-digit sales figure (previous record: 98.639 in 2016). Similarly, the market is on track to hit a third consecutive all-time annual record with year-to-date sales up 0.6% over the same period last year to 1.086.296 registrations. Private sales are down 3.4% year-on-year to 45.729 whereas business sales are up 5.6% to 41.350, rental sales shoot up 22.9% to 7.225 but government sales are down 4.5% to 3.432. Going from strength to strength, SUVs hold a commanding 40.2% market share in November vs. just 36.4% for passenger cars and 19.8% for light commercials (mainly pickup trucks or “utes” as they are called here).

The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling vehicle in Australia for the 7th time in 2017. 

Where is Australia sourcing its vehicles? From Japan at 29.587 sales (+8.3%), Thailand at 24.963 (+0.9%), South Korea at 15.749 (+17.9%), Germany at 8.024 (+7.4%) and home at 4.089 (-45.4%), the latter being at 100% composed of existing stock as automotive production has ended in Australia in October 2017. Looking at sales by state and territory, Western Australia is the most dynamic this month with a 13.4% gain to 8.685 sales, followed by Tasmania up 6.2% to 2.021, Queensland up 2.1% to 19.134, New South Wales up 1.4% to 33.463 and Victoria up 1.2% to 29.332. The country’s two territories are down in November: the Australian Capital Territory is down 1.2% to 1.611 units and Northern Territory is down 2.3% to just 789.

Thanks to the new T60 pickup, Chinese LDV is up 157.9% in November. 

Toyota remains the uncontested leader of Australian sales charts, even beating the market with a 3.5% year-on-year gain to 18.6% share vs. 18.4% so far this year. The Japanese carmaker crosses the 200.000 sales milestone for the 13th year in a row and is the only manufacturer to have ever managed that feat in Australia. Mazda reclaims the #2 spot it holds YTD off Hyundai despite a 5% drop while the Korean marque is up a solid 9.9% on its November 2016 score. Volkswagen (+10.3%), Mitsubishi (+13.7%), Kia (+20.5%) and most impressively Honda (+26.5%) post the only double-digit gains in the Top 10. Holden resists at +2.6%, posting its 2nd positive month in a row (and this year) despite the demise of the Commodore, now on stock and full imported from February 2018. Skoda (+20.4%) and Isuzu (+21%) also deliver solid results, while among smaller brands Haval (+34%), Porsche (+67.9%), LDV (+157.9%), Alfa Romeo (+251.5%) and Peugeot (+361.3) are the best performers. It’s a stunning month for luxury brands: Aston Martin (+37.5%), Ferrari (+69.6%), Maserati (+90.6%), McLaren (+125%), Lamborghini (+300%) and Rolls-Royce (+350%) all post spectacular gains.

The Mitsubishi ASX is up 27% to #9 in November. Picture

After being seriously shaken in October (Hyundai i30 to #1), the Australian models ranking returns to normal this month with the Top 4 best-sellers replicating the YTD order: the Toyota Hilux leads for the seventh time this year, up 7% to 4% share, ahead of the Ford Ranger (+5%), Toyota Corolla (-9%) and Mazda3 (-14%). The Mazda CX-5 is up 21% to 5th place, headed towards a fifth consecutive year as Australia’s best-selling SUV, whereas the Hyundai i30 (-12%) slumps down five spots to #6. The Hyundai Tucson (+10%), Toyota RAV4 (+22%) and Mitsubishi ASX (+27%) make it four SUVs in the Top 9. Further down, notice the Holden Colorado up 35%, VW Golf up 27% Mitsubishi Triton up 21% and Isuzu D-Max up 20%. The Holden Astra shoots up 381% year-on-year to land at #18 now that both the sedan and sportwagon variants complete the lineup, the first time the Astra nameplate appears inside the Australian Top 20 since February 2009.

Previous month: Australia October 2017: First pole position for the new gen Hyundai i30

One year ago: Australia November 2016: Hilux vs. Ranger the new iconic battle

Full November 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.

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Australia October 2017: First pole position for the new gen Hyundai i30

The Hyundai i30 is the best-seller in Australia in October. Picture

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The Australian new vehicle market is up 2.6% year-on-year in October to 95.763 registrations, beating the pervious October record established five years ago (95.584 in October 2012). The year-to-date tally is on track for a third consecutive record year, up 0.5% on the same period a year ago to 984.931 units. SUVs outsell passenger cars again with 38.5% of the market (+1.2%) vs. 38% (-3.8%) while light commercials are up 18.5% to 20% share, pulled by a stunning 25.2% growth from 4×4 pickups, or “utes” as they are called here. Private sales are down 0.5% to 42.419 units or 44.3% share vs. 45.7% a year ago whereas business sales are up 3.5% to 39.639 or 41.4% share vs. 41% in October 2016. Rental sales amount to 7.199 and government sales to 3.097.

As of October 20, the Australian car manufacturing industry is no more.

In terms of sales by state/territory, the biggest increase is delivered by Western Australia rallying back up 12.8% to 8.548 sales, ahead of South Australia up 7% to 5.831, Queensland up 5.9% t 17.860, Northern Territory up 4.3% to 744, Australian Capital Territory up 2.6% to 1.448, Victoria up 2% to 28.098, and New South Wales up 1.9% to 32.454 whereas Tasmania is down 3.5% to 1.870. The most popular country sources are Japan at 27.062 (+5.4%), Thailand at 22.826 (+7.4%), South Korea at 15.395 (+10.8%), Germany at 7.309 (-2.8%) and Australia at 5.129 (-28.6%). This last figure is set to thaw rapidly to zero as local manufacturer Holden has historically ended Australian production on October 20, and this after 69 years of continuous car manufacturing in the country and 161 years of manufacturing, as the the company was first started by James Alexander Holden in 1856, specialising in leather goods and saddles. More on the end of Australian car manufacturing here.

The Mazda CX-5 is back in the SUV lead. 

Brand leader Toyota outpaces the market with a 9.1% year-on-year gain to 18.6% share while Hyundai (+1.1%) climbs onto the 2nd spot for the first time in 12 months. Mazda (+1.7%) is knocked down to #3, Holden (+2.7%) is back to the 4th spot it holds year-to-date – and posts its first positive month since last January – with Ford (-11.1%) rounding up the Top 5 as is also the case YTD. In the Top 10, Mitsubishi (+6.2%), Subaru (+12.7%) and Kia (+20.1%) also shine whereas Nissan is down 17.6% but back up three spots on September to #9. Further down, Audi (+9.7%), Honda (+13.7%), Isuzu Ute (+17.5%) and Land Rover (+24.9%) make themselves noticed all the while Mercedes (-13.9%), Renault (-18.7%) and Jeep (-32.9%) all struggle. Peugeot is up 51%, Lamborghini up 50% and the fastest-growing brands in market are Chinese Great Wall (+173%), LDV (+134%) as well as Maserati (+132%) and McLaren (+100%).

Hyundai looks to be onto a smashing success with the Kona in Australia. 

Model-wise, there is a surprise atop the ranking: the Hyundai i30 shoots up five spots on September to land in pole position with sales up 47% to 4.2% share. It is the first time this generation of i30, launched earlier this year, leads the Australian charts and the nameplate’s first podium and #1 spot since June 2016. In total, the i30 has now ranked #1 in the monthly Australian charts seven times, the first being in June 2015. Add to these September 2015March 2016April 2016 and May 2016. The most impressive element in this month’s i30 victory is the fact that it was achieved without the help of cutthroat pricing as the 2015-2016 wins were accompanied with a sub-$20k drive-away pricing for a car that was in runout mode. After being outsold by the Ford Ranger last month, the Toyota Hilux reclaims the advantage both overall and in the 4×4 category (2.970 vs. 2.648 sales), cementing its YTD lead at 4% share (+14%) vs. 3.6% (+18%) for the Ranger, down to #4 in October. The Toyota Corolla (-4%) remains in third place as it is YTD (-7%).

2018 Holden Commodore. Picture courtesy 

For its last full month as a locally-produced car and before being replaced by a locally-tuned rebadge of the imported new gen Opel Insignia, the Holden Commodore is up a splendid 15% to retain its spot in the Top 5, bypassing the Mitsubishi Triton year-to-date to climb back up to #9. The Mazda CX-5, boosted up an impressive 35% by the new generation, is back in the SUV throne it has held for the past four consecutive years. With the Hyundai Tucson sinking 23% to #16 in October, the CX-5 consolidates its YTD SUV lead to just under 1.000 units. The VW Golf is up 29% to snap its first Top 10 ranking since May 2016 and the Mitsubishi Triton surges 85% to #10. Other great gainers in the Top 20 include the Honda Civic (+53%), Nissan Navara (+21%), Isuzu D-Max (+18%) and Holden Colorado (+17%).

The Kia Stinger has landed in Australia. 

Further down, the Hyundai Kona goes from 71 units during its inaugural month in September to 857 in October, breaking into the Australia Top 50 at #37 and already beating the Toyota C-HR’s best month (784 last August) and headed towards the small SUV lead held this month by the Mitsubishi ASX (1.542), Subaru XV (1.182) and Mazda CX-3 (1.106). The other September launches are also up: the LDV T60 is up 77 ranks to #132 and the VW Arteon is up 57 to #153. The Honda CR-V is up 102%, the Holden Astra up 23-fold, the Subaru Impreza up 850%, the VW Amarok up 62%, the Toyota Land Cruiser Ute up 111% and the Kia Carnival up 47%. This month we welcome the Kia Stinger directly at #92 and the Renault Zoe at #278

Previous month: Australia September 2017: Ford Ranger best-seller for the first time

One year ago: Australia October 2016: Two pickups (utes) on top for the first time

Full October 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 280 All-models below.

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