VFACTS sales data released today shows 2019 was the most challenging year for Australia’s new-vehicle market since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), having declined by 7.8 per cent year-on-year.
That said, more than one million vehicles were sold in a year for the 12th time in 2019 (1,062,867), so wasn’t all doom and gloom despite some serious challenges.
“2019 reflects a tough year for the Australian economy, with challenges including tightening of lending, movements in exchange rates, slow wages growth and, of course, the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber.
Despite sales of SUVs backtracking by 2.4 per cent last year, they still increased their market share to a commanding 45.5 per cent (+2.5%).
Sales of traditional passenger cars were unsurprisingly hardest hit in 2019, declining by 16.5 per cent, reducing their market share to 29.7 per cent (-3.1%).
For reference, sales of light-commercial vehicles dipped by 5.2 per cent last year, although their market share did improve slightly, at 21.2 per cent (+0.6%).
As predicted, Toyota was market leader for the 17th year in a row in 2019, recording 205,766 sales (-5.2%).
Brand T's winning effort was partly thanks to the best-selling model in Australia for the fourth year in a row, the HiLux ute (47,759 sales, -8.1%), which outsold the rivalling Ford Ranger (-2.8%) by 6799 units.
The Corolla small car also played a key role for Toyota, selling 30,468 units (-13.7 per cent), which were enough for third overall and the title of most popular passenger car.
A steady Hyundai i30 small car (28,378 units, +0.7%) and an improving Mitsubishi Triton (25,819, +3.7%) rounded out the top-five models, helping their brands achieve third (86,104, -8.6%) and fourth position (83,250, -2.0%) respectively.
The Mazda CX-5 (25,539 units, -2.4%) barely defended its title of best-selling SUV, outselling a resurgent RAV4 (+9.5%) by just 1279 sales and helping its brand to second position (97,619, -12.3%) in a tough year.
Ford (-8.4%) took fifth place, with a whopping 64.7 per cent of its 63,303 sales accounted for by the aforementioned Ranger.
The Blue Oval managed to keep Kia (61,503 units) at an arm's length, with the South Korean brand the only member of the top 10 to record growth (+2.0%).
Conversely, Holden registered the biggest loss in the top 10, with its 43,176 sales representing a 28.9 per cent dip.
The most popular brands of 2019
The best-selling models of 2019