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Three utes make up Australia’s best-selling five for March

By Daniel Gardner, 05 Apr 2017 Car News

Toyota Hilux 2016 best selling car

Mitsubishi Triton joins Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger in March’s favourite five

Australia’s love affair with one-tonners is showing no signs of slowing with Mitsubishi’s Triton overtaking the Hyundai i30 in the top five best-selling models for March this year after clocking up 2670 registrations.

The move takes the total number of utes in Australia’s favourite five to three, alongside the runaway success Toyota Hilux in first position overall with 4025 March registrations and the Ford Ranger which found 3845 homes and in second position.

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Utes represented the majority of vehicles in the top five leaving the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 to carry the passenger car flag with 3574 and 3039 sales and ranking third and fourth respectively.

Toyota’s unstoppable Hilux alone is representative of Australia’s demand for one-tonne utes with 10,333 examples rolling out to driveways around the country since the start of the year, easily establishing itself as the nation’s favourite car to date in 2017.

It is chased, albeit by a substantial margin, by the Ford Ranger, which has 9398 registrations to its name this year, while the Triton has so far managed 5815.

The ute result for March mirrors the continued increasing demand for SUVs which overtook passenger cars for the first time in February and extended the margin again in March.

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With an increase of 6000 SUV registrations overall, high-riders now lead passenger car sales by 3457 compared with the gap of 559 sales at the start of the year.

It is not doom and gloom for the passenger segment however, with the entire market up a significant 18.4 percent in March to 105,410, with a notable good news story form Holden which increased sales from 5724 in February to 7211 last month.

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Surprisingly, a majority of that improvement came from the Commodore which has previously been trending a downward turn ahead of the Australian-made model’s discontinuation in October this year.

Unlike February, when the Commodore found 1566 homes, 2081 examples were registered in March, which Holden Communications Director Sean Poppitt explained was due to continued demand for the model following a less than satisfactory February result.

“It’s no secret that demand for Commodore is high, with plenty of cars already pre-sold to customers which means registration rates will fluctuate,” he said. “After a soft February, March is headed back in the right direction. Overall are we happy with our sales? No, we’re focussed on doing better.

Poppitt said that there were other models in the line-up that would be contributing to a reversed sales trend.

“We’re seeing great momentum with Colorado – up year on year and with a much richer model mix – and Astra is growing with sales doubling each month since launch. We’re still not satisfied with Astra given what a cracking car it is, but with the sedan launching soon, we’re on the right path. Trax also recorded its best ever first quarter result this year so while we’ve got a lot of work to do, plenty of positive trends”.

Other positive results were posted by another locally-made but soon to be discontinued model the Toyota Camry, which found its way back into the top ten best-selling monthly models and 2336 sales.

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Sales of alternative energy vehicles were indicative of either public perception, lack of government incentives or a combination of both, with electric vehicle private registrations down 50 percent compared with March 2016 and 86.8 percent in the non-private segment for the same period.

It’s a more positive story in the hybrid private segment with March registrations up 51.9 percent in March to 243 compared with the 160 tally in March 2016, while non-private hybrid sales remain steady at 812 sales compared with the 834 score of the following year’s March result.

Despite the overall rise in the complete market there were a number of downward spikes including typical strong contenders such as Audi which is down 14.9 per cent year to date and fellow German luxury brand BMW which as dipped by 15.4 percent. Rival Mercedes-Benz continues to enjoy growth YTD with up 3.3 percent.

Other ordinarily strong contenders are also showing reductions including Volkswagen, which is down 5.8 percent, Hyundai – 8.2 percent, and Isuzu Ute which is showing nearly 20 percent lower sales YTD.

Top ten models in March 2017

  1. Toyota Hilux 4245
  2. Ford Ranger 3845
  3. Toyota Corolla 3574
  4. Mazda3 3039
  5. Mitsubishi Triton 2670
  6. Hyundai i30 2383
  7. Toyota Camry 2336
  8. Hyundai Tucson 2156
  9. Mazda CX-5 2116
  10. Holden Commodore 2081