THE bubble has well and truly burst for new car sales in Australia – and that could point to bargain buys from some of the industry’s biggest players as the end of the year draws closer.
New vehicle registrations – which include passenger cars, SUVs and light commercials – totalled 90,718 for the month of October, down 5045 units or 5.3 percent from the same time last year, a dip which analysts say reflects a corresponding slump in house prices.
Passenger cars once again brought the brunt of the decline, falling almost 24 percent over the same period last year to 27,802 sales. The SUV market continues its meteoric rise, though, with 39,849 sales representing an 8.1 percent jump for the same period.
Crucially, private new car sales were down by 12 percent which, according to the Australian Financial Review, is due the ‘wealth effect’ that’s directly influenced by house prices. The property bubbles in both Sydney and Melbourne, in particular, were punctured earlier this year, leading to a more pessimistic consumer outlook.
It would take a far bigger drop in house prices to harm Toyota’s fortunes, though. The Japanese car-making giant enjoyed 17,811 sales to top the charts, ahead of a resurgent Mazda (8172), and Hyundai (7432).
The Toyota HiLux (4401), Ford Ranger (3511) and Toyota Corolla (2663) were again the three biggest selling vehicles. HiLux and Ranger defied overall trends to be 15 percent up on October 2017 figures, but the Corolla – despite a new model launching this year - is down 13.8 percent.
Mazda recovered from a poor September that saw it drop from second place to fourth, with sales jumping from 7070 to 8172 in October. The gains were mainly thanks to strong CX-5 sales, which leapt from 1506 in September to 2000 last month to reclaim best-selling SUV honours.
Embattled Holden also fared better last month, with sales up from 4651 in September to 5256 in October. The figures included 203 registrations of the new Holden Acadia, most of which were destined to be dealer demonstrators around the country.That jump saw Holden consolidate sixth spot, and close the gap on Ford’s top-five placing down to 106 units.
Toyota has dominated year-to-date sales across the industry, holding an 18.8 percent market share with 182,799 sales. Second is Mazda (94,246), while Hyundai (80,552), Mitsubishi (70,685), Ford (58,332), Holden (50,804), Kia (49,957), Nissan (47,835) and Volkswagen (47,616) trail behind.
Honda rounds out the top 10 with 43,604 sales, just ahead of Subaru (42,644).
Of the top 10 manufacturers, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen and Honda are all up in 2018, compared to the same period last year.
While housing prices have affected mainstream car sales, it seems to have had little impact on the well-heeled, with 142 sports cars priced beyond $200,000 sold. That’s a 47.9 percent jump compared to October 2017.
Of these, 43 were Porsche 911s, a jump from 19 in October last year. And if you think you’re seeing more Ferraris out and about, you’re not imagining it, with 28 registered last month compared to five the same time last year. The Prancing Horse has sold 197 cars in Australia so far this year, up 41.7 percent year-to-date.