AS THE dust settles from businesses rushing to grab an end-of-financial-year bargain last month, SUV and passenger car sales have narrowed the void on trade utes in the month of July, while Holden experienced its worst sales month to date.
The increase in more conventional passenger vehicle popularity wasn’t enough to knock the tradie favourite one-tonne ute from the top two spots, with the Toyota Hilux once again reclaiming the title as Australia’s favourite car with 3747 registrations, swapping spots with last month’s winner the Ford Ranger, with 2950.
The Mitsubishi Triton, however, which was sitting in third position last month. has been relegated 11 rungs to 14th position down from 3919 sales to 1418, allowing passenger models and SUVs to move in to shrink the dual-cab dominance.
Small hatchbacks fought back for attention with the Toyota Corolla sitting at third place overall with 2594 registrations just ahead of the Mazda3 and 2443 and Hyundai i30 (2178) re-enacting the three-way battle that used to play out at the top of the table before the rise of tradie trucks.
Small cars might be the dominant individual segment, but SUV sales continue to dominate passenger cars overall with 36,625 versus 28,547 in July, While the figure for SUVs is about the same for July 2017, the passenger sales tally is down 7245 from the same point last year.
Australia’s favourite SUV in July was the Mazda CX-5 with 2233 registrations, followed by the Toyota’s Landcruiser family and RAV4 with 1903 and 1853 respectively, and the Nissan X-Trail (1603). The Hyundai Tucson was the only other SUV to rank in the top 15 models with 1490 sales to its name.
A July downturn in sales is expected following the end of financial year, but last month’s national VFACTS data shows an overall slowing of new car registrations. Year to date sales to the end of June totalled 691,073 compared with 692,306 to the same point last year and continues a slow decline since early 2018.
While almost all manufacturers are feeling a sales downturn, the lull has driven Holden registrations to an a new low. With 3927 for the month, the company has not had a more disappointing monthly result.
Despite the cooling off of the market a number of models bucked the trend including the Volkswagen Golf which was up 62 percent from July 2017 to 1628 sales and ninth place overall, BMW’s 3 Series rose 42 percent with 316 sales and the Holden Colorado was the only lion badged model to lift, up 12 percent to 1237 for the month. The good result will only partially take the sting out of the overall ominous slide for Holden.
Kia managed to oppose the falling tide of compact hatchbacks with the Picanto up 58 percent and 353 sales along with Mitsubishi’s Mirage – up 40 percent with 158 finding new driveways locally helped by the demise of the Holden Spark.
On the subject of defying trends, whatever is causing the decline in national sales doesn’t seem to be effecting Australia’s well-heeled, with supercar sales taking a universal jump. Lamborghini’s sales almost doubled compared to July 2017, McLaren found no customers last July but six last month and Ferrari’s registrations were also up nearly 17 percent.
Read next: VFACTS: Toyota extends its dominance in 2018
It wasn’t such good news for Holden. With the exception of its Colorado one-tonner which, at last seems to be attracting the attention it deserves, all models were down, with the same story applying to Subaru, Jaguar and, if it weren’t for the marginally increased 6, Mazda too. It is a similar scenario for Audi with the niche A5 the only model to not dip after last month’s rush.
Arch rival Ford, while doing better in the overall stakes (down 12.6 percent versus Holden’s 39.3 percent drop for the month) had a few surprises. It’s resoundingly successful Mustang sportscar sold 546 examples in July compared with 919 during the same month last year, despite the arrival of the updated version.
Ford attributes the anomaly to a combination of the recently arrived 2019 version still coming up to speed and the unprecedented reception following the model’s introduction in 2016 that’s unlikely to be repeated despite the new more powerful and enhanced Mustang, which is now on sale.
Overall, the nation’s sales are collectively down a fraction of a percent across all states except NSW, the Northern Territory and SA which are up between 0.4 and 4.2 percent.
Top-10 manufacturers, July 2018
- Toyota - 16915
- Mazda - 8920
- Hyundai - 7061
- Mitsubishi - 5908
- Ford - 5481
- Kia - 4403
- Nissan - 4260
- Volkswagen - 3981
- Holden - 3927
- Subaru - 3366
- Honda - 3222
Top-10 vehicles, July 2018
- Toyota HiLux - 3747
- Ford Ranger - 2950
- Toyota Corolla - 2594
- Mazda 3 - 2443
- Mazda CX-5 - 2233
- Hyundai i30 - 2178
- Toyota Landcruiser 200/70 - 1903
- Toyota RAV4 - 1853
- Volkswagen Golf - 1714
- Nissan X-Trail - 1603