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Holden slumps in February’s new car sales race

By Barry Park, 05 Mar 2018 News

Holden slumps in Februarys new car sales race

Preliminary data shows the once proud lion became a bit of a toothless tiger in the sales race

HOLDEN has taken a dive to its worst sales performance in almost 20 years, the latest preliminary numbers for February’s new-car sales show.

It was a month in which SUVs continued their march ahead of traditional passenger cars, exactly a year after the high-riding vehicles overtook their showroom rivals for the first time.

Preliminary sales data for the month shows the market fell one sale short of 96,000, but almost 500 sales short of 2016’s record month. However, the market is still almost 10,000 sales ahead of last year’s record pace thanks to January’s strong numbers.

All the heat in the market came from either the SUV segment (39,800 sales) or the light commercial vehicle segment (18,707). Sales to businesses in all segments grew, with SUVs jumping by 22 percent and commercial vehicles by 19 percent.

The Toyota Corolla was Australia’s best-selling passenger car, accounting for 3270 units as the fleet buyers who take a back seat in January flooded back into the market. However, its performance was outshone by the trade utes, with the Toyota Hilux (4426) and Ford Ranger (3544) outclassing it.

Mazda performed strongly, with the 3 small hatch and sedan (2935) and CX-5 midsize SUV (2191) rounding out the top five.

Once again, the introduction of imported versions of what were once locally made cars sapped the market. The Toyota Camry (1381) and Holden Commodore (737) were both usually in the top 10 when made locally, but Camry only managed 20th when trade utes are pitched into the mix, and the Commodore 42nd.

That low number for the Commodore turned into a horrendous month for Holden with just 4689 sales. After finishing January in the number two spot, it slumped to eighth on the top 10 brands list, its worst result in the almost 20 years of VFACTS records.

Holden spokesman Mark Flintoft told Wheels the company planned for a slower start to the year in terms of sales, with VF Commodore stocks drying up before the new model began arriving in showrooms in late February.

"February’s result is unnatural in that new Commodore is only just reaching dealerships and while Equinox enquiry and test drives are growing, we are still establishing the nameplate," he explained.

“We’re also waiting on the diesel Equinox which arrives at the end of the month. We’ve got our strongest product line-up ever, with more in the pipeline, so we expect to bounce back quickly.”

Toyota topped the manufacturers’ charts with a big jump to 18,281 sales in February, followed by Mazda (9913), Hyundai (8001), Mitsubishi (7142) and Holden’s longtime rival Ford (6059). Honda (4962) and Nissan (4863) also finished in front of Holden.

Saving Holden was the Colorado trade ute (1039) and Astra small car (1008), which between them accounted for almost half the brand’s February sales. Its newest entry to the Australian market, the Mexican-built Equinox, snared just 364 sales as it was outsold by the smaller Trax (438).

Ford, meanwhile, raised its numbers via the Ranger, which accounted for almost three out of every five of the marque’s sales, with the Mustang (492), the Everest (475) and the Escape (471) adding significant volume. Only two Falcons were sold for the month; very few are believed to remain on the car maker’s books. No sales of the once locally made Territory were recorded this month.

Hyundai did well, rising to third spot (8001) as the Accent city runabout (1782) and i30 small car (2812) helped build numbers.

Alfa Romeo appears to be preparing for the launch of its first-ever SUV, the Stelvio, later this month. It has registered a single car. And despite having 40 dealers on its books, SsangYong recorded no sales for the month. Year to date sales for the brand are a single car, a Korando, sold in January.


RANK  BRAND                       Feb 2018         Feb 2017

  1. Toyota                          18,281         16,308
  2. Mazda                            9913             9923
  3. Hyundai                          8001             7001
  4. Mitsubishi                       7142             5758
  5. Ford                               6059             5669
  6. Honda                            4962             3196
  7. Nissan                            4863             4425
  8. Holden                            4689             5724
  9. Volkswagen                     4671             4618
  10. Kia                                 4664             4174
  11. Subaru                           3901             3746
  12. Mercedes-Benz               2764             3059
  13. BMW                              2010             2006
  14. Isuzu Ute                       1822             1326
  15. Audi                              1812             1711
  16. Suzuki                           1487             1605
  17. Land Rover                      973               1277
  18. Renault                           759               804
  19. Lexus                             724               758
  20. Jeep                                643               639


RANK  BRAND                       Feb 2018         Feb 2017

  1. Toyota Corolla                3270             3392
  2. Mazda3                          2935             3143
  3. Mazda CX-5                    2191             1933
  4. Hyundai i30                    2182             2003
  5. Toyota RAV4                  1841             1726
  6. Hyundai Accent              1782             1206
  7. Volkswagen Golf             1649             1306
  8. Nissan X-Trail                 1622             1500
  9. Mitsubishi Outlander       1611             798
  10. Hyundai Tucson              1604             1596
  11. Mazda CX-3                   1562             1468
  12. Kia Cerato                     1491             1513
  13. Toyota Kluger                1420             680
  14. Honda Civic                   1409             829
  15. Honda CR-V                  1381             554
  16. Toyota Camry               1381             1473
  17. Toyota Prado                1323             1320
  18. Kia Sportage                 1102              1127
  19. Honda HR-V                 1067             982
  20. Subaru XV                    1045             501