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Trading places: Workhorses, SUVs dominate August sales charts

By Barry Park, 05 Sep 2017 Industry

2017_Toyota_HiLux_TRD_Accessories_06hr_wide

Preliminary sales data for August shows traditional passenger cars are in even steeper decline

SUVs and trade utes have helped push the Australian new car market into positive territory in August, preliminary sales data for the month has shown.

The official VFACTS data, due later today, is expected to show the market remained almost static compared with the same month last year, growing just 0.6 percent.

Of note, the numbers of traditional passenger car sales and SUVs sold this time last year have flipped, with SUVs now commanding 39.4 percent of the market, and passenger cars only 37.0 percent.

But in a telling transformation of buyer choice, the nation’s best-selling passenger car, the Toyota Corolla, only managed third place on the sales chart, selling just 2948 units. Crushing it were the Ford Ranger (3588 sales) and the Toyota Hilux (4287) trade utes – sales of just the 4x4 versions of both utes alone were enough to outperform the Corolla.

The number two passenger car spot was taken up by an SUV – the Hyundai Tucson (2206 sales), with what is recognised as the best-selling vehicle in terms of private sales, the Mazda 3 (2163), only a narrow 20 sales ahead of the Hyundai i30.

It was a good month for Hyundai, jumping sharply on the sales charts as its all-new i30 hit its strides in the showroom alongside the Tucson. The Korean car maker (7800 sales) grew a massive 20 percent compared with its sales in August last year to push ahead of Holden to claim third spot on the brands chart behind Mazda (8511). Toyota (18,511) remained in the top spot, although its market share stalled at 19.7 percent.

There were some big movements down the bottom of the top 10 brands list, too. Volkswagen (4730), Subaru (4579) and Kia (4507) all showed double-digit growth compared with last August, while Nissan fell off a cliff, its 4095 sales sliding almost 30 percent.

The Holden Commodore – two month before its maker shuts down manufacturing – is holding onto sales, with the large sedan grabbing eighth spot (2071) behind another local, the Toyota Camry (2107), which will end local hybrid production this month. The Altona-built Toyota Aurion sold just 295 units in August as Toyota Australia’s experiment with rebadging a V6-engined Camry came to an end after more than a decade on sale.

Only six Ford Falcons were sold last month as stocks of the large car – manufacturing switched off late last year – appear to be running out. Ford is believed to have a single ute remaining on unsold inventory.

TOP 10 PASSENGER CARS FOR AUGUST*
RANK   MODEL                   SALES (AUG ‘17)   SALES (AUG ‘16)

1          Toyota Corolla            2948                       3554
2          Hyundai Tucson          2206                       1654
3          Mazda 3                     2163                       2818
4          Hyundai i30                2143                       1864
5          Toyota Camry             2107                       2458
6          Holden Commodore     2071                       1952
7          Mazda CX-5                2048                       1902
8          Hyundai Accent           1810                       1096
9          Mitsubishi ASX            1676                       1781
10        Toyota RAV4               1605                       1766
* Preliminary sales data

TOP 10 BRANDS FOR AUGUST*
RANK   BRAND             SALES (AUG ‘17)   SALES (AUG ‘16)
1          Toyota              18,511                    18,650
2          Mazda               8511                       9258
3          Hyundai            7800                       6536
4          Holden              6984                       7667
5          Mitsubishi          6649                       6136
6          Ford                  6645                       6849
7          Volkswagen       4730                       3893
8          Subaru              4579                       3362
9          Kia                    4507                       3710
10        Nissan               4095                       5616
*Preliminary data only