The brand (5116 sales) was outsold by rivals keen to pull in big numbers as they headed into the last month of the Japanese financial year, including Honda (5586), Nissan (6191) and Subaru (5195) – and even lost out to German premium brand Volkswagen (5137). Yep, pick up your jaw.
The monthly sales results, released today, show Toyota cornered 18,887 sales representing a 17.6 percent share to once again dominate a market that still has plenty of fizz in it. March’s combined sales totalled 106,988 units, a 1.5 percent gain on the same month last year. The strong result has helped push the overall market up by 4.4 percent compared with the first three months of 2017.
The Toyota Corolla (3218) was the nation’s best-selling passenger car last month, although was overshadowed once again by the stronger-selling Toyota Hilux (4384) and Ford Ranger (4064). The numbers also gloss over another significant market shift; SUV sales accounted for a huge 42.6 percent of passenger vehicle sales (to a mix of private buyers and rental companies) compared with just 33.8 percent for passenger cars. One of the big winners in the SUV set was the Mitsubishi ASX, logging 2337 sales – that’s one in every five SUVs that moved in the small SUV priced under $40K segment in March. Sales in that segment alone are up 28.6 percent compared with the first three months of last year.
Chasing the Corolla, which swaps over to an all-new hatchback in August, were the Mazda 3 (2780, and a much truer representation of private buyers’ tastes) and the Hyundai i30 (2719) that displaces last month’s No.3-ranked Mazda CX-5 (2261). Another SUV, the Nissan X-Trail (2504), rocketed up the charts to claim the fifth position.
Ducking back to the brands for a moment, Ford looks like it is settling in to the No.5 slot as sales of the Mustang (705) kick up a gear again to dominate the affordable end of the sportscars segment. It also just about doubled sales of the EcoSport compact SUV (137). The ASX’s strong result helped Mitsubishi (8810) claim third spot ahead of Hyundai (8443), which failed to capitalise on the market’s strong SUV-flavoured undercurrent.
Holden’s poor result seems to be linked to its slow path to recovery in the wake of the loss of the locally made Commodore large car – March’s sales are tainted with a mix of more than 400 locally made models, meaning only about 600 German-accented newcomers contributed to the badge’s combined 990 sales. The Captiva-replacing Equinox is also still misfiring, grabbing only 327 sales for the month.
In the battle of the premium German brands, Mercedes-Benz (3340 sales) is prospering with the A-Class (605), GLA-Class (401) and GLC-Class (431) to comfortably outstrip Audi’s (1860) heavy lifters including the A3 (338), Q5 (438) and Q7 (205), and BMW’s (2229) 1 Series (254), 3 Series (275), X1 (109), X3 (626) and X5 (242). They all easily thumped Lexus (863 sales), with it relying on the IS (129), NX (321) and RX (229) to pull in the numbers. Infiniti? It logged only 43 sales for the month, which were dominated by the Q30/QX30 pair (13) and the Q50 (18).
There were some significant wins among the more recent arrivals in March. Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio – its first SUV – has given the premium Italian brand a huge lift, adding 51 sales to its 133-sales tally for the month, and helping to push the brand 50 percent higher than where it was at the same time last year.
BMW also experienced a bump via its new X2 (81 sales), making it the most successful of the coupe-profiled SUVs scattered throughout the German luxury car maker’s showroom. Jaguar’s pioneering E-Pace found 101 buyers, almost doubling the Brit’s monthly sales, while reborn Chinese brand MG found 99 customers willing to jump behind the wheel of the ZS small SUV.
And in a surprise result, Honda squared off its 2017-18 books by selling off two of its $420,000 hybrid-engined NSX supercars, making our count of the number sold here since its launch to ... four. That’s a 100 percent gain.
RANKBRAND Mar ‘18 Mar ‘17
- Toyota 18,878 19,652
- Mazda 9723 10,472
- Mitsubishi 8810 7583
- Hyundai 8443 8700
- Ford 6687 6852
- Nissan 6191 5620
- Honda 5586 3106
- Subaru 5195 5006
- Volkswagen 5137 5122
- Holden 5116 7211
RANKMODEL Mar ‘18 Mar ‘17
- Toyota Corolla 3218 3574
- Mazda 3 2780 3039
- Hyundai i30 2719 2383
- Mazda CX-5 2261 2116
- Nissan X-Trail 2504 1780
- Mitsubishi ASX 2337 1384
- Toyota RAV4 1952 1865
- Volkswagen Golf 1713 1504
- Honda CR-V 1683 493
- Toyota Prado 1677 1383
TRADE UTES Mar ‘18 Mar ‘17
- Toyota Hilux 4384 (3224 4x4) 4245 (3115 4x4)
- Ford Ranger 4064 (3467) 3845 (3304)
- Mitsubishi Triton 3109 (2778) 2670 (2350)
- Isuzu D-Max 1747 (1233) 1424 (1132)
- Nissan Navara 1535 (1260) 1784 (1409)