March car sales hit new record

Booming trade ute and SUV sales have helped push Australia’s new-vehicle market into record territory during March, the latest new vehicles registration data shows

Toyota Hilux

BOOMING trade ute and SUV sales have helped push Australia’s new-vehicle market into record territory during March, the latest new vehicles registration data shows.

The VFACTS figures, revealed today, show a rush towards the likes of the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton have helped the market post 105,054 sales for the month, a new record and a jump of eight percent over the same month last year.

Light commercial vehicle sales for March were up 10 percent compared with the same month last year, with the big lift coming from private buyers – not fleets and companies – showing the strong popularity of the vehicles that have become workhorses on weekdays and family escape vehicles on weekends.

Australians are also buying SUVs as fast as they can roll out of showrooms, with sales in the sector up 15.3 percent over March last year.

In the fight for the number one best-seller title, the Mazda 3 has taken a back seat to the Toyota Corolla, after selling 3558 versus 4261 vehicles for the month respectively. The Corolla’s year-to-date sales bump out to 11,672 for the first three months of the year, with the Mazda 3’s accumulated sales numbering just 11,059.

In the battle of the brands, Toyota filled the number one spot with an 18.6 percent market share for the month, buoyed by the Corolla hatch and sedan, the HiLux ute (3346), the locally made Camry mid-size sedan (2319), and the RAV4 SUV (1525) and Yaris small hatch (1515).

Mazda placed second with a 9.7 percent share, helped by the strong-selling Mazda 3 and the RAV4-fighting CX-5 (2344 sales), while third place for the month went to Hyundai with an 8.3 percent share buoyed by the i30 hatch, i20 light car and ix35 compact SUV.

Holden led the minor placings with an 8.2 percent market share on the back of sales of the Commodore large car (2436) and Colorado ute range (1511), while Nissan placed fifth with a 6.8 percent market share for the month as its SUVs and trade utes dominate the brand’s sales.

Ford, meanwhile, slotted into seventh place (5.7 percent) behind Mitsubishi (6.0 percent).

Sales of locally made cars continued to bleed, with the market shrinking 9.3 percent compared with March last year.

Ford’s 1707 Broadmeadows-built sales for the month included 701 Falcons and 239 Falcon utes, and 767 Territory SUVs (down 7.6 percent compared with March last year); Holden sold 4148 (-19.5 percent) of its Adelaide-made Commodores (2436), utes (420) and Cruze hatches and sedans (1226), while Toyota’s Altona-built cars (2587, +10.2 percent) had a minor resurgence, with the Camry (2319) and Aurion (268) both gaining.

Our appetite for rugged-looking, jacked-up passenger cars doesn’t discriminate, with the small SUV sector growing 19.2 percent for the month compared with March last year, led by the Hyundai ix35 (1344), Nissan Qashqai (1250) and all-new Honda HR-V (1081), while the mid-size sector jumped 18.7 percent, helped by the Mazda CX-5 (2344), Nissan X-Trail (2076) and Toyota RAV4 (1525).

We also like our high-riding luxury cars in compact form, with the small SUV sector priced above $40,000 leaping 97.4 percent for the month, aided by the Audi Q3 (366), the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (201) and the recently introduced Lexus NX (197).

Brands losing ground for the month include Chrysler (-28.9 percent), Jaguar (-21.2 percent) and Proton (-74 percent), while the biggest winner was Honda, up a massive 74.5 percent for the month as its HR-V (1081) and CR-V (945) SUVs and third-generation Jazz (887 sales) win over buyers.


1. Toyota Corolla 4261
2. Mazda 3 3558
3. Holden Commodore 2436
4. Mazda CX-5 2344
5. Toyota Camry 2319
6. Hyundai i30 2098
7. Volkswagen Golf 2084
8. Nissan X-Trail 2076
9. Hyundai i20 1591
10. Toyota RAV4 1525


1. Toyota Hilux 3346
2. Mitsubishi Triton 2940
3. Ford Ranger 2424
4. Holden Colorado 1511
5. Nissan Navara 1345
6. Mazda BT-50 1278
7. Isuzu D-Max 1181
8. Volkswagen Amarok 881
9. Holden Ute 420
10. Ford Falcon Ute 239


1. Toyota 19,082
2. Mazda 10,217
3. Hyundai 8709
4. Holden 8571
5. Nissan 7138
6. Mitsubishi 6307
7. Ford 6023
8. Volkswagen 5525
9. Honda 4042
10. Subaru 4002

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