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Holden decline continues with March sales figures

Holden finished tenth for monthly sales in March, with the new Commodore and Equinox returning underwhelming sales figures.

Holden’s sales tumble has continued, with the once-dominant Red Lion brand in jeopardy of falling out of the top 10 list for sales by manufacturer according to official VFacts figures released today.

The GM-owned brand registered 5116 sales in March, a 29.1 per cent slide compared to the same month last year, with the new imported ZB Commodore and Equinox medium SUV failing to have much of an impact.

All but two of its models – the Astra small car and Spark light latch – fell in sales by double digits, with the Astra jumping by 26 per cent to 906 units.

The Commodore found 990 homes, however the new imported version made up 516 of those sales, with the remaining 474 being made of Australian-made VF II Commodores.

Overall, Commodore sales were down 52.4 per cent on March 2017, however the manufacturer has said it didn’t expect the new Opel-sourced model to match the sales output of the Australian version, which averaged roughly 1500-2500 sales per month.

The new Commodore as well as the Equinox have been marketed aggressively with a seven-year warranty and roadside assist program, however with just 327 sales in March, the new medium SUV has also had sluggish sales numbers.

Equinox sales were trumped by modest sellers like the Ford Escape (398) and Renault Koleos (332), while being well off the pace of segment leaders such as the Nissan X-Trail (2504), Toyota RAV4 (1952) and Honda CR-V (1683).

Despite sitting tenth for March sales, Holden is still seventh in 2018 year-to-date sales with 15,524 units, with Honda (15,129) close behind.

Overall market sales tallied 106,988 units, up 1.5 per cent for the month over March 2017, while first-quarter sales were up 4.4 per cent over 2017 with 291,538.

Australian customers’ trend towards SUVs continues with a 9.7 per cent increase, outselling passenger cars – which slid 7.3 per cent – by more than 20,000 units, while light-commercial vehicle (LCV) sales fell by 0.4 per cent.

Toyota – again market leader with 18,878 sales – fell by 3.9 per cent, thanks to falling numbers for the Corolla (-6.5%) and Camry (-19.1%), two of Toyota’s heavy hitters. The discontinued Aurion (-94%) also contributed to the downturn.

Of the 1416 Camrys sold last month, only 218 were of the locally-built versions that ceased production in October.

Holden is still seventh in 2018 year-to-date sales with 15,524 units. Holden is still seventh in 2018 year-to-date sales with 15,524 units.

The HiLux pick-up was again Australia’s favourite vehicle in March with 4348 sales (+2.4%) outpacing the Ford Ranger, which recorded 4064 sales (+5.7%).

Mazda saw a dip in sales by 7.2 per cent due largely to the CX-3 (-15.3%) and CX-9 (-17.4%) having underwhelming months.

Mitsubishi recorded record sales for March with 8810 units (+15.2%), thanks largely to the ASX (+68.9%) and Triton (+16.4%), which saw it overtake Hyundai for third place.

Hyundai sales dipped 3.0 per cent in March, however the i30 small car swam against the tide with a 14.1 per cent increase, making it the sixth-best selling vehicle overall.

Despite strong showings from the likes of the Ranger, Mustang, Transit and Everest, Ford sales still fell 2.4 per cent, while Nissan sales rose 10.2 per cent on the back of the Pathfinder, X-Trail and Patrol, however the newly-updated Navara pick-up dropped by double digits.

The strongest showing for the month came from Honda, with sales soaring an astronomical 79.8 per cent over March 2017, with every offering bar the Accord (-39.8%) on the up.

CR-V sales increased a massive 241 per cent, while the Jazz (907) placed third in the light-car segment behind the Hyundai Accent (1551) and Mazda2 (947).

Subaru and Volkswagen finished eighth and ninth respectively, with increases of 3.8 and 0.4 per cent.

From prestige brands, Audi and BMW increased by 23.3 and 0.4 per cent respectively, while Mercedes-Benz fell 5.4 per cent partly because of drops in C-Class (-25.6%) and E-Class (-50.5%) sales.

Will Holden be in the top 10 for overall sales by the end of 2018? Tell us what you think in the comments below.