SALES of Australian-made cars plummeted in a new-car market that grew 2.7 percent compared with the same time last year, falling just shy of its 85,430 January record, set in 2013.
Locally-produced Holdens, Fords and Toyotas accounted for only 4.9 percent of the 84,373 cars sold in January 2016, almost half of the market share Australian-made cars achieved in 2015.
For the first time ever an Australian-made car didn’t make the list of top 10 best-selling vehicles; 1242 sales for the Holden Commodore made it the top selling locally-manufactured car, enough for only 15th place.
The figures were tempered by a dismal result for the Australian-made Toyota Camry, which managed just 503 sales – less than one-tenth the Camrys it sold in December, when it was the top-selling car.
Put that down to some industry game playing; Toyota had a strong December by getting dealers to register sales before the cars had been bought by customers. Go shopping for a Camry now and there’s a good chance it’ll already be registered but not have been driven.
Indeed Toyota’s January result of just 12,453 (down 8.8 percent) was its worst performance since 2002, and the Toyota Corolla that has dominated the sales charts in recent years was outsold by the Mazda 3 (3722 to 2758), the top-selling vehicle in January.
Just nine months out from its planned stop of production, the Ford Falcon registered an all-time low, with just 235 cars sold – that’s only one sale more than the Porsche Macan.
It was another month to forget for Ford on the passenger car front, with the Kuga, Mondeo, Focus and EcoSport all posting poor results of fewer than 500 cars each.
Once again it was up to the Ranger to do the heavy lifting for Ford, accounting for 44 percent of the brand’s sales with 2418. The Ranger was also the top-selling ute, beating the new Toyota Hilux (2341) that had held the top position since going on sale in October.
The American-made Mustang also provided some rare good news for Ford, with 389 sold in January to become Ford’s third best-selling passenger car (with a waiting list of more than 12 months), behind the Territory (500) and Focus (497).
Arch-rival Holden also had a disappointing start to the year, with a meagre 6824 sales for 8.1 percent of the market, relegating it to fourth on the sales charts to slip behind third-placed Hyundai (7001).
The big winner – in a now familiar trend – was Mazda, with sales up 11.2 percent and a record 11.9 percent market share.
Luxury brands carried on their buoyant 2015 results to post another record in January 2016. Audi achieved an increase of 11.3 percent with 2142 sales, ahead of BMW on 2075 (up a whopping 19.8 percent), but it was Mercedes-Benz’s continued charge at the top with 3099 sales and 19.5 percent increase to see it knock off Honda (2898) for the last spot in the Top Ten.
Lamborghini registered 22 sales, almost double that of Italian rival Ferrari (13), while Porsche continued its surge following a record 2015, with 490 sales giving it a 31.4 percent new-year boost.
The SUV juggernaut rolled on in January with an increase of 19.5 percent. There were 33,073 SUVs sold compared with 35,214 passenger cars, the latter dropping 11.5 percent; the artificial drop in Camry sales accounted for a large chunk of that decline.
SUVs accounted for 39.2 percent of sales in January (a record high) with passenger cars down to 41.7 percent (a record low) as the gap narrows.
Hyundai had the top selling SUV with its resurgent Tucson managing 2065 sales, pipping the Mazda CX-5 (1750) that’s held the top spot in recent years.
Sales of utes – which dropped market share in 2015 – rebounded in the first month of the year. There were 12,811 utes sold, an increase of 15 percent.
January 2016 sales figures: Top 10 best-selling brands
January 2016 sales figures: Top 15 best-selling cars