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Holden hangs on to 10th, Mitsubishi climbs to second, in March new-car sales results

The Australian new car market remained "cautious" in March

Holden has hung onto 10th position on the sales charts as new car shoppers remained "cautious" in March.

Australians purchased a total 99,442 vehicles in March 2019, up from the 87,102 new cars sold in February. But that good news requires some tempering, with sales down 7.1 per cent from the 106,988 vehicles sold in the same month last year. All up, the market has fallen 7.9 per cent year to date.

Holden sold more vehicles in March than it did in February (3833 versus 3825) - marking the brand's first month-to-month increase since October last year.

The bright spots in Holden's line-up include the Colorado 4X4 (1558 sold, up 20 per cent month-on-month and 18.3 per cent YTD), and the Equinox (400 sold, up 22 per cent month-on-month and 9.7 per cent YTD).

But the biggest winner in February is without a doubt Mitsubishi, with the Japanese brand leap-frogging Mazda to claim second spot on the ladder.

Mitsubishi sold 10,135 vehicles 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. And it's across the-board-success for the Japanese brand, with only the ASX reporting a small month-on-month decline (though its mumbers remain up by a gigantic 50 per cent year to date).

Mazda's 9618 sales in March is actually up on its February figure (9235 sales), but it wasn't enough to hold off a rampaging Mitsubishi. Year to date, Mazda's sales are down 4.7 per cent.

Top 10 manufacturers for March were:

1. Toyota17298 (down 8.4 per cent month on month)
2. Mitsubishi10,135 (up 15 per cent)
3. Mazda9618 (down 1.1 per cent)
4. Hyundai7731 (down 8.4 per cent)
5. Ford6160 (down 7.9 per cent)
6. Kia5303 (up 4.3 per cent)
7. Nissan5115 (down 17.4 per cent)
8. Volkswagen4682 (down 8.9 per cent)
9. Honda4335 (down 22.4 per cent)
10. Holden3833 (down 25.1 per cent)

The passenger car market's (28,999 sales in March) woes continued, dropping 19.7 per cent month on month and 18.7 per cent year to date, the SUV market (45,660) showed some signs of life, climbing 0.1 per cent month on month - though remaining down 3.5 per cent year to date.

Light commercial vehicles (including utes) also flagged, dropping 1.9 per cent month on month to finish on 21,488 sales - down 0.4 per cent YTD.

“We are seeing a cautious consumer approach at the moment, and this is not surprising given the number of economic headwinds in the Australian market,” says FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber.

Will Australia's new-car market bounce back? Tell us in the comments below.