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China's MG rides ZS, MG3 and HS wave of momentum to boot Subaru out of the Top 10 brands in February 2021 new-car sales

MG’s sales rose by a considerable 159.4 per cent month-on-month in February 2021.

While not the biggest story to come out of February 2021, the Australian new-vehicle market registered a positive sales result for the fourth month in a row, with its volume up 5.1 per cent month-on-month, to 83,977 units.

For reference, local sales increased by 12.4, 13.5 and 11.1 per cent in November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021 respectively.

2020 was down 13.7 per cent year-on-year following 31 consecutive months of negative results. Conversely, in the first two months of 2021, it was up 7.9 per cent over the corresponding period the year prior.

Nonetheless, the biggest story to come out of February 2021 was Chinese-owned British brand MG becoming a Top 10 brand for the first time, with it finishing in eighth position with 3017 sales, up a massive 159.4 per cent month-on-month.

As a result, MG finished ahead of Volkswagen (3009 units, -17.2%) and Mercedes-Benz Cars (2815, +5.3%), which rounded out the Top 10 brands, meaning 11th-placed Subaru (2639, +1.4%) was the one that made way for the now-mainstream carmaker.

MG’s rise was underpinned by all three of its models, with the MG3 light hatchback (1313 units, +111.8%) and ZS small SUV (1302, +262.7%) within striking distance of the Top 10 models, while the HS mid-size SUV (402, +118.5%) also showed massive improvement.

That said, Toyota dominated allcomers in February 2021, finishing with three Top 10 models, including the best-selling HiLux ute (4808 units, +40.5%), which kept the rivalling Ford Ranger (2900, -9.4%) in second position once more.

Two other utes, the Isuzu D-Max (1765 units, +68.6%) and Mitsubishi Triton (1761, +5.3%) finished in seventh and eighth respectively, with sales of the former continuing to explode following the recent release of its new-generation model.

However, it was the softening Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV (2750 units, -18.5%) that made it onto the podium, with a pair of small cars, the Toyota Corolla (2427, -3.7%) and Hyundai i30 (2210, 2.7%), completing the Top 5.

Meanwhile, the Mazda CX-5 mid-size SUV (2048 units, +4.0%), Mitsubishi ASX small SUV (1489, +10.2%) and Kia Cerato small car (1468, -21.6) made up the rest of the Top 10 models.

As mentioned, Toyota (18,375 units, +3.9%) was the best-selling brand in February 2021, with it streets ahead of a rebounding Mazda (8322, +15.1%), which took home silver.

An improving Hyundai (6252 units, +5.2%) also made it onto the podium, keeping a determined Mitsubishi (6202, +12.5%) and Kia (5871, +14.7%) at bay in the Top 5, while a steady Ford (4712 units, -3.0%) and Nissan (3824, +0.5%) claimed the next two places.

Unsurprisingly, the SUV was the most popular type of new vehicle in February 2021, with a commanding 50.8 per cent share, followed by the light-commercial vehicle (23.0%) and passenger car (22.9%).

Sales in every state and territory except the ACT (-38.3%), Victoria (-8.7%) and Tasmania (+3.9%) grew in February 2021, with the Northern Territory (+32.7%) leading Western Australia (+21.7%), Queensland (+14.8%), New South Wales (+9.1%) and South Australia (+4.7%).

And it was business and private sales that drove the overall growth in February 2021, up 15.8 and 4.8 per cent, while government and rental sales were down 13.8 and 10.9 per cent respectively.

Commenting on these results, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said: “We remain confident that this trend of growth will continue in an environment where business operating conditions continue to normalise.”

The most popular brands of February 2021

RankingBrandSalesVariance %
1Toyota18,375+3.9
2Mazda8322+15.1
3Hyundai6252+5.2
4Mitsubishi6202+12.5
5Kia5871+14.7
6Ford4712-3.0
7Nissan3824+0.5
8MG3017+159.4
9Volkswagen3009-17.2
10Mercedes-Benz Cars2815+5.3

The most popular models of February 2021

RankingModelSalesVariance %
1Toyota HiLux4808+40.5
2Ford Ranger2900-9.4
3Toyota RAV42750-18.5
4Toyota Corolla2427-3.7
5Hyundai i302210+2.7
6Mazda CX-52048+4.0
7Isuzu D-Max1765+68.6
8Mitsubishi Triton1761+5.3
9Mitsubishi ASX1489+10.2
10Kia Cerato1468-21.6