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HiLux wins May sales race amid market slowdown

Toyota's HiLux continued to shine on the sales charts, even though the market slowed in May.

Half of Australia’s top 10 best-selling brands recorded a dip in monthly new car sales in May, ahead of what is expected to be a record-setting June stimulated by aggressive end-of-financial-year deals.

A total of 100,754 sales were recorded for May 2018, a drop of 2.1 per cent over the same month in 2017. SUVs did most of the heavy lifting with 42,973 registrations (up 8.4 per cent), ahead of passenger cars with 32,789 (-15.6 per cent) and light commercial vehicles with 21,082 (-0.5 per cent).

With the exception of micro cars, every passenger car sub-segment recorded a dip in sales, with the Kia Picanto, Fiat 500 and runout versions of the Holden Spark (which will soon be pulled from sale in Australia) helping deliver a 46.2 per cent rise for Australia’s smallest vehicle segment.

All SUV segments recorded growth except for large SUVs, which fell by 7.1 per cent. Small SUVs registered the largest spike with a 36.1 per cent climb.

Australia’s most popular brand, Toyota, dipped by 1.5 per cent to 19,571 sales, with the Camry mid-sizer (-35.0 per cent) and Yaris (-20.7 per cent) falling the hardest. It was not all doom and gloom however, with the Fortuner (+41.2 per cent), Land Cruiser 70 Series (+24.8 per cent) and C-HR crossover (+65.6 per cent) all stepping up.

With 4385 combined sales and a 5.5 per cent increase, the HiLux was again Australia’s favourite vehicle last month, with Ford’s Ranger bringing up second (3674) ahead of Toyota’s Corolla small car (3120).

Hyundai’s i30 beat the Mazda3 for fourth spot overall with 2779 sales (+3.6 per cent), and the brand recorded a 6.0 per cent increase with 8807 sales, however some of its usual strong performers recorded sales declines, including the Tucson (-13.9 per cent) and soon-to-be-replaced Santa Fe (-34.6 per cent).

Mazda sales dropped 5.0 per cent, but the brand but still finished second behind Toyota on 9403 sales, with the CX-5 the most popular SUV in the country (2382 units sold), just pipping the Toyota RAV4 (2063).

With 6916 sales, Mitsubishi climbed by 6.1 per cent, even though the Lancer, Pajero, Pajero Sport and 4x2 Triton all registered double-digit drops.

Mazda sales dropped 5.0 per cent, but the brand but still finished second behind Toyota. Mazda sales dropped 5.0 per cent, but the brand but still finished second behind Toyota.

Ford sales dipped 24.7 per cent on the back of slower returns from big-selling nameplates like the Ranger (-9.7 per cent) and Mustang (-80.2 per cent), the latter of which is set to see a facelifted model go on sale in June.

Kia took sixth spot with a 9.9 per cent jump, thanks largely to the Cerato and Sportage, while Volkswagen snared seventh spot with a 6.9 per cent lift thanks to the Amarok, Tiguan, Golf and Caddy van.

Holden sales dropped 25.8 per cent with all models bar the Barina light car and Spark dropping, with the Astra dropping 48.9 per cent to fall behind the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra.

Nissan and Honda rounded out the top 10 with 4334 and 4142 sales respectively, with the latter climbing 8.4 per cent thanks to the barnstorming CR-V (+162.1 per cent).

Mercedes-Benz continues to lead the way for premium manufacturers with 2898 sales, with BMW (2101) and Audi (1851) following.

The addition of the XC40 small SUV (129 sales) has seen Volvo sales climb by 41 per cent in May, while the XC60 SUV recorded a 42.8 per cent lift (237 sales).

Will June be a record-breaking month for the new car market? Tell us what you think in the comments below.