THE final VFACTS report for 2018 wasn’t great reading for the motoring industry, with overall sales considerably down compared to the previous year. In fact, 36,005 more vehicles were purchased in 2017. The passenger car led the slide, posting a considerable drop of 15.9 per cent from 2018 to 2017 (378,413 versus 449,949).
The reason for the slide in sales can be attributed to a number of core issues, according to Tony Weber, Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). “New vehicle sales results in 2018 reflect a challenging climate across the Australian economy including a slowing housing market, tightening of money lending and the drought,” he said.
Despite the sluggish year for new vehicle sales, more SUVs and Light Commercial Vehicles were sold in 2018 than the previous year. A total of 237,972 new LCVs found owners throughout the year, up from 236,609 in 2017 – marking a slight growth of 0.6 per cent.
It was the Toyota Hilux which not only claimed the best-selling 4x4 gong for the year, but also the best-selling overall vehicle when combining 4x4 and 4x2 variants. With 51,705 sales, the Hilux 4x4/4x2 was trailed by the Ranger 4x4/4x2 (42,144) and Toyota Corolla (35,320). In the 4x4 market, the Hilux (38,580 sales) was joined on the podium by the Ranger (36,883) and Triton (21,976).
Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) also bucked the dipping sales trend in 2018, posting a sales increase of 7.1 per cent compared to 2017.
The trusty D-Max 4x4 netted 13,226 sales for the Japanese brand, up from the previous year’s 12,795, giving it a 7.6 per cent share of the PU/CC 4x4 market. In December 2018, the D-Max was the fourth best-selling 4x4.
Isuzu also retained the mantle for the best-selling ute-based SUV, with its MU-X achieving 9090 national sales during 2018 (a 12.4 per cent increase on 2017).
4x4 comparison: MU-X vs Pajero Sport
“The Australian market is unique, with over 70 automotive brands bidding for a spot in customers’ garages nationwide.” commented IUA Managing Director, Mr. Hiro Kuramoto. “However, the sentiment towards Utes and SUVs has never been stronger and are the leading segments within the market — the exact segments the D-MAX and MU-X sit — and in 2018 we witnessed our strongest result in 10 years, with more customers choosing an Isuzu than ever before.”
Both the D-Max and MU-X were among the 10 best-selling 4x4s for 2018.