July 2018 vehicle sales: winners and losers

New vehicle sales have dropped for the fourth consecutive month, suggesting that Australia’s car sales boom could be over. However, SUVs and some manufacturers are bucking the trend

Vfacts Cerato Jpg

July was a good month for dealers to take their annual holiday, with just 85,551 vehicles sold compared 130,300 in June, according VFACTS figures released by the Federal Chamber of Motor Industries today.

Such a drop in sales isn’t unusual for the start of the new financial year, though numbers were also down by 7203, or 7.8 percent, from July last year.

Calendar year-to-date sales are also down slightly – 691,073 compared with 692,306, which has been the trend since April, after being in positive territory for the first quarter of 2018.



Kia has continued its solid year with an 8.3 percent jump in year-to-date sales. That upward trend continued in July ranking it one of the mainstream manufacturers to sell more cars than in July 2017 – 4403 compared to 4266, a jump of 3.2 percent.

July also saw Kia become the sixth most popular vehicle brand in Australia, its highest position to date, despite its biggest selling model, the Cerato, has effectively only half launched, with just the sedan versions available until the hatch arrives in the New Year.

Kia Australia spokesman Kevin Hepworth told WhichCar the brand’s success is down to consistency, with no “chopping and changing” with models, pricing or marketing, while its unmatched seven-year warranty continues to lure potential buyers to showrooms.


VW was also in positive year-to-date territory, finishing July in eighth position, selling 3981 cars ahead of Holden (3927) and Subaru (3366). However, Volkswagen Australia spokesperson Paul Pottinger said the company is actually disappointed with July sales, which were held back due to a limited supply of the popular Polo and Tiguan models.

The Polo is sold out in Australia, with just 76 available for sale in July, with a new stocks expected to arrive this month. Last July it sold 526 Polos, which, if replicated this month with the new model, would have seen VW overtake Nissan and Kia to claim sixth spot.

Golf sales (1714) were up 60.2 percent compared with July last year, making the German hatch the fourth most popular small car after the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and Hyundai i30 usual suspects.


High-riders now occupy 42.8 percent of the market, up from 39.9 percent at the same time last year. One reason has been the influx of brand-new models that weren’t around 12 months ago such as Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Hyundai Kona, Jaguar E-Pace, Holden Equinox, Range Rover Velar and Mazda CX-8.

As usual, the big sellers included the Mazda CX-5 (2233), which overtook the Hyundai i30 to claim fifth spot overall, followed by the Toyota RAV4 (1853) and Nissan X-Trail (1603).


The Japanese motoring behemoth is down on year-to date-sales, but there’s still daylight between it and second-place Mazda, with the two recording July sales of 16,915 and 8920 prospectively.

But while sales are down from last July, market share is up from 19.3 to 19.8 percent, with five badges in the top-10 sales list including Hilux at number one with 3747 sales. Corolla (2594) is again the top-selling passenger car despite big drop in sales due to all-new model’s pending arrival that almost saw it cede its crown to the Mazda 3 (2443). The LandCruiser family sold 1903 wagons, troop carriers and utes, up 11 percent from last year, while the RAV4 (1853) was the second-biggest selling SUV.

The Camry (1317) and Prado (1434) topped their segments, with the Kluger (1256) finishing second to the latter in the large SUV category.




The Aussie brand had its worst-ever monthly result last month, after ending the the 2017-18 financial year on a high, sitting in sixth spot for both 2018 year-to-date and June sales. While almost all manufacturers saw a drop in July, Holden’s had one of the biggest slides, going from 7385 to 3927, down almost 47 percent, despite the company introducing a standard five-year/unlimited km warranty across the range.

Holden sold 557 ZB Commodores, compared to 1633 Aussie-built VF Commodores in July last year, with other significant models also down including the Astra, which sold 588 compared with 1125 in July last year. The Colorado ute provided some good news with 1237 sold, up 12 percent from this time last year. 

Passenger cars

Holden’s woes are partly to blame on the impact the SUV boom continues to on passenger cars sales, which totalled 28,547 in July to account for 33.4 percent of the market, down from 38.6 percent in July 2017.

The small-car market accounts for half the passenger cars sold, which includes sports cars, with the 18.1 market share holding steady from 18.3 percent a year ago. Small cars are still the biggest individual segment, though medium SUVs are fast catching up with 17.6 percent market share, up 0.9 percent from last year.

Top-10 manufacturers, July 2018

  1. Toyota - 16915
  2. Mazda - 8920
  3. Hyundai - 7061
  4. Mitsubishi - 5908
  5. Ford - 5481
  6. Kia - 4403
  7. Nissan - 4260
  8. Volkswagen - 3981
  9. Holden - 3927
  10. Subaru - 3366
  11. Honda - 3222

Top-10 vehicles, July 2018

  1. Toyota HiLux - 3747
  2. Ford Ranger - 2950
  3. Toyota Corolla - 2594
  4. Mazda 3 - 2443
  5. Mazda CX-5 - 2233
  6. Hyundai i30 - 2178
  7. Toyota Landcruiser 200/70 - 1903
  8. Toyota RAV4 - 1853
  9. Volkswagen Golf - 1714
  10. Nissan X-Trail - 1603


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