The Astra range – a mix of a European-sourced hatchback and a Korean-made Cruze sedan – found a hugely surprising 3532 buyers in December, more than double its best result since the car replaced the locally made Cruze in October last year. In contrast, the Mazda 3 could only manage 2807 sales, and the Corolla 2641.
The December sales results are a win for the locally made Holden Commodore, placed fourth with 2229 sales despite ending production in October, and a big blow for the now fully imported Toyota Camry, with sales in December falling sharply to 1209, enough to drop the former top five contender to 17th spot. Fifth-placed is an SUV, the Mitsubishi ASX, with 2128 sales.
December sales pegged another record month – the eighth this year – to post 102,820 sales, a 4.1 percent rise over December in 2016.
The month’s real winner, though, was in the light commercial vehicle segment. It grew to 21.6 percent in December, with the Toyota Hilux (4042) and Ford Ranger (3565) both outselling the Astra. Pitch in the high-riding trade utes, and along with the Holden Colorado (3130) the tradies occupied three of the top five spots on the sales chart.
The poor performance of the Camry – down 75 percent over December 2016 – as well as softer sales results for the Corolla (2641), the traditionally strong-selling 86 sports coupe (99) and the Yaris small hatchback (858) helped Toyota to fall 14.3 percent in December to post just 17,081 sales for the month compared with the same month last year. Its month was so poor that its share of the market slipped to just 16.6 percent, though it posted an overall growth of 3.3 percent for the year.
Holden (12,179) overtook Mazda (9102) to regain second place on the charts for the month, a position it hasn’t occupied in some time. Mazda’s sales slump for the month can be attributed to a 10 percent fall in Mazda 3 sales (2807) and softening interest in the CX-3 (1286).
In contrast, Holden’s rise comes on the back of those astronomical Astra sales, vigorous interest in the Colorado trade ute (3130) and the closely related Trailblazer (382), the launch of the Captiva-replacing Equinox mid-size SUV (679), and more than a touch of pixie dust, we imagine.
Mitsubishi (9019) overtook Hyundai (6182) for fourth place, while Ford (5636) – you have to count down to the Ford Focus (454) in 48th spot to find its best-selling passenger car – continued its year to forget in sixth place, with Mustang selling just 451 units. Volkswagen (5136) and Honda (5041) weren’t that far behind.
Kia (4007) fell a tantalising 125 sales short of appearing in the list of the top 10, narrowly edged out by Subaru (4132).
In the luxury stakes, Mercedes-Benz (2999) easily beat Euro rivals Audi (2073) and BMW (1302), while traditional bottom 20 feeder Land Rover leapt up the charts to outsell BMW with 1445 sales – it has the new fifth-generation Discovery (204 sales) to thank for that.
Peugeot (541), back from the wilderness after a change of importer, also appears to have reignited its sales. It outperformed Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus (534) for the first time since June 2011.
Ford sold no Falcons for the month for the first time in more than five decades – the final reserves of the sedan appear to be tapping out – while it moved four Territory SUVs.
1. Holden Astra 3532 154
2. Mazda3 2807 3141
3. Toyota Corolla 2641 2927
4. Holden Commodore 2229 2130
5. Mitsubishi ASX 2128 1484
6. Mazda CX-5 2113 1906
7. Toyota RAV4 1823 1495
8. Volkswagen Golf 1759 1579
9. Nissan X-Trail 1737 1857
10. Honda Civic 1725 1049
11. Toyota Prado 1590 1197
12. Mitsubishi Outlander 1486 1130
13. Hyundai i30 1467 2835
14. Hyundai Tucson 1306 1384
15. Mazda CX-3 1286 1438
16. Kia Cerato 1278 1040
17. Toyota Camry 1209 4850
18. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 1164 832
19. Honda CR-V 1152 662
20. Toyota Kluger 1114 859