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Holden falls to eighth in February sales race

Holden sales were down 18.1 per cent year-to-date last month, despite the overall Australian market improving by 7.8 per cent.

Holden recorded its lowest monthly market share yet last month, dipping to 4.9 per cent while it transitioned to its new model line-up, including the imported ZB Commodore and Equinox mid-size SUV.

The Red Lion, a one-time market leader, claimed eighth position for the first time ever in last month’s VFACTS national sales rankings, trailing Mitsubishi, Ford, Honda and Nissan but just ahead of Volkswagen and Kia.

Managing only 4689 units in February, Holden sales were down 18.1 per cent on the same month last year, despite the overall Australian new-vehicle market improving by 7.8 per cent to 95,999 vehicles – the second best February return yet following 2016’s 96,443 units.

Holden product and brand communications senior manager Mark Flintoft said the brand had anticipated a slower start to the New Year, but expected to return to form soon.

“It’s always our aim to sell more vehicles, and our current market share is not where we want it to be,” he said.
“That said, February’s result is unnatural in that new Commodore is only just reaching dealerships, and while Equinox inquiry and test drives are growing, we are still establishing the nameplate.

“We’re also waiting on the diesel Equinox which arrives at the end of the month. We’ve got our strongest product line-up ever with more in the pipeline, so we expect to bounce back quickly.”

Holden sold only 737 Commodores during the month, representing less than half the total of February last year when 1566 examples of the locally built model were sold.

It was also the second month in a row that Holden’s sales took a significant hit, with its January tally down 20 per cent, partly due to a lack of Commodore stock and a flood of ‘demonstrator’ Astras registered in dealerships in December.

Holden sold only 737 Commodores during the month, representing less than half the total of February last year. Holden sold only 737 Commodores during the month, representing less than half the total of February last year.
The newly-minted Equinox amassed just 364 sales last month, good enough for 11th in the evergreen mid-size-SUV segment that was again led by the Mazda CX-5 (2181). 

While light-commercial vehicles were booming in other showrooms, Colorado sales dipped about 20 per cent, to 1039 vehicles – around a quarter of the Toyota HiLux’s volume.

Overall, Holden’s sales are down 19 per cent year-to-date – or 2500 units – while its market share sits at 5.6 per cent, which is well behind its full-year effort of 7.6 per cent in 2017.

SUVs and light-commercial vehicles again drove the market last month, up 12.1 and 13.3 per cent respectively year-to-date, while passenger cars slid once more (down 0.7 per cent).

Toyota took advantage of the thriving market conditions, increasing its sales by 12.1 per cent, to 18,281 units, which allowed it to again claim first place.

Similarly, the HiLux utility was the most popular model in February, tallying 4426 sales – its best-ever return for the month and an improvement of more than 1000 units over last year – to outpace the Ford Ranger (3544) which assumed second place.

Mazda totalled 9913 sales last month – down 0.1 per cent – to take second spot on the sales chart ahead of Hyundai which sold 8001 vehicles – up 14.3 per cent – for third position.

Mitsubishi and Honda were two of the bolters in February, with the former increasing sales by 24 per cent to 7142 units and fourth spot, while the latter improved 55.3 per cent to 4962 vehicles and sixth place.

Strong Ranger sales – up more than 20 per cent – and better performances from its SUVs helped Ford lift its sales by 6.9 per cent to 6059 units and fifth position.

Nissan’s Navara utility – which was recently updated – and X-Trail mid-size SUV were central to the seventh-placed Japanese brand’s increased sales, up 9.9 per cent to 4863 vehicles.

Volkswagen came within striking distance of Holden for the first time, finishing in ninth spot with 4671 sales. However, it was ahead of Kia (4664, up 11.7 per cent) and Subaru (3901, up four per cent).

Did you purchase a new vehicle in February? Tell us in the comments below.