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Doom and boom: the surprise car brands crushing it in 2019

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Some car makers are defying the shrinking market in 2019
Some car makers are defying the shrinking market in 2019

Yes, Australia's new-car market has mostly been a tale of doom and gloom in 2019, but there are some brands that defied the shrinking market to post record sales results in March.

The headline act here is Mitsubishi which, buoyed by monster sales right across its range, leap-frogged Mazda to claim second place on the sales charts, with a staggering 10,135 vehicles sold in March, up from 8495 in February. More impressive, the results are up 15 per cent on the brand's March 2018 numbers, and put them 20 per cent up, year to date. 

Kia, too, has continued its steady climb, with its 5303 March sales up four per cent on the same month last year, and giving the brand a 3.7 per cent increase YTD.

But Mitsubishi and Kia are hardly alone. While plenty of the big brands are taking a hammering this year, smaller marques are kicking all sorts of goals.

Take the results from Chinese-owned brand MG, which has been on a bumper run so far in 2019. In March, MG shifted 703 cars, up from 142 this time last year, led by the MG ZS (320) and MG 3 (289). Those figures represent a - wait for it - 581 per cent increase for the brand, year to date.

Bentley's 21 sales in March almost doubles the 11 it sold in the same month last year, while fellow big-money brand Rolls-Royce managed eight sales, exactly double its March 2018 result.

There must be something in the high-roller water, because Ferrari finds itself up 10 per cent year to date, and six per cent month on month, with 18 vehicles sold in March, while Lamborghini - led by the Urus - is up 14 per cent month on month, too.

McLaren's March numbers are up 12.5 per cent, too - though that represents a jump to just nine vehicles sold, compared to eight in March 2018. And Fiat's 129 sales (the 500 city car had a huge month) sees the Italian brand up 38 per cent compared to March 2018, and around six per cent year to date.

Both Great Wall and Haval are celebrating big results, too, with Great Wall Steed sales doubling to 96 compared to March 2018, and Haval's figures climbing from 53 to 92 over the same period. The numbers put the Chinese brands up 167 per cent and 69 per cent respectively, year to date.

Ram's 201 March sales (177 of which were of the 1500) saw it's month on month number boom by 773 per cent, and its year to date total swell by 910 per cent.

Infiniti, Nissan's luxury arm, would be popping the champagne, too, after shifting 93 cars in March - up from just 43 in the same period last year. It puts the brand's year-to-date results up 55 per cent.

And it's a similar happy story for Jaguar, with that brand's 331 sales a handy 41 per cent more than March 2018, and its YTD figures up 38 per cent, too. Meanwhile, sister brand Land Rover's 1371 sales put it up 25 per cent on the same month last year.

Mercedes-Bens Vans (home of the X-Class ute) is up 52 per cent month on month, and 30 per cent for the year, recording 681 sales in March, while Skoda's 531 sales - led by the Karoq (120) and Kodiaq (155) SUVs - puts it up 24 per cent month on month and 22 per cent year to date.

And Volvo's run of international accolades hasn't gone unnoticed by shoppers either, with the Swedish brand pushing 748 vehicles out the door in March, up 49 per cent, month on month and 36 per cent year to date.

Have you bought one of the boom brands? Tell us in the comments below.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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