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Hybrid sales dropping

Hybrid vehicle sales has fallen by 74 per cent among private buyers this year.

Despite new entrants coming into the market, the preference for hybrid vehicles has fallen 74 per cent among private buyers this year, according to the latest VFACTS industry figures on fuel and buyer type.

It’s the same story with LPG and diesel vehicles, which have also suffered because of the overall downturn in new car sales and the drop of petrol prices relative to the highs of last year. Demand for LPG powered passenger cars among private buyers has fallen 64 per cent this year, while diesel sales have fallen 35 per cent.

Despite fluctuations at the pump, petrol-powered cars still remain the leading fuel of choice among private buyers. Fleet choices of hybrids and LPG passenger vehicles have not suffered same decline compared to private sales. Business demand for hybrid-fueled passenger cars has softened 14 per cent in year-to-date terms. LPG is holding up particularly well as a fuel preference among fleets, declining just 4.6 per cent compared to last year.

Among fleet and businesses, diesel remains by far the most popular fuel choice, with preferences for diesel-fueled passenger cars sales up 26 per cent in year to date terms.

With 2009 sales almost at the half-way mark, the new vehicle market is showing signs of having bottomed.

End of financial year deals and the Federal Government's small business tax break for new vehicles, which has been extended to the end of the year, are driving renewed interest.

May sales were up 11,476 or 17.9 per cent against April (63,965 vehicles) and in seasonally adjusted terms the May volume represents a 4.5 per cent increase over April. Despite the modest May revival, the overall market is down 19.2 per cent, with 352,376 vehicles sold so far this year, down 83,778 vehicles compared to last year.

Toyota remains market leader with 72,823 vehicles sold.

It leads Holden in number two spot by 28,838 vehicles, or 8.2 per cent while Ford is in third spot with sales of 36,262. A handful of brands are bucking the downturn though.

Hyundai and Jaguar are in positive territory with sales up 16.4 per cent for each, based on the success of the Hyundai Getz and i30 and Jaguar's new XF sedan.

Hyundai sold 1959 i30s and 1429 Getzes in May while 36 new XF sedans found homes.

Newcomer Skoda sales are up 17 per cent off a very low base.

Audi is also tracking well with sales up 7 per cent thanks to the A5 and arrival of the new Q5 off-roader, which is experiencing strong demand.

Dodge is up 21 per cent because of the new Journey people mover and Nitro off-roader, but again off a relatively low base.

By contrast the major local carmakers, Toyota, Ford and Holden, have taken a big hit this year.

Toyota sales are down 28 per cent, Ford 18 per cent and Holden 20 per cent.

GM-Holden's Saab and Hummer brands have also fallen out of favour with buyers because of their unknown futures globally. Hummer sales are down 53 per cent this year and Saab has sold just 226 cars this year, a 62 per cent drop compared to last year.

Individually, the Mazda3 and Toyota HiLux continue to kick goals. Mazda sold 3038 3s last month, of which 600 were the previous-generation model.

The HiLux continues to successfully straddle the gap between a passenger car and work ute, with 3170 sold last month.

Although Holden Commodore sales are down 12 per cent this year, it remains the country's best-selling passenger car with 3683 sold last month, bringing its year-to-date tally to 16,839.

Ford's FG Falcon is trying hard but it has still failed to ignite interest.

Sales are down just 2 per cent compared to last year but its May tally of 2846 will not please executives at Ford's Broadmeadows HQ.

The company has sold just 11,080 Falcons this year.

1 Toyota 15,481
2 Holden 9177
3 Ford 8440
4 Mazda 6052
5 Hyundai 5178
6 Nissan 4582
7 Mitsubishi 3921
8 Honda 3189
9 Subaru 2965
10 Volkswagen 2612

1 Holden Commodore 3683
2 Toyota HiLux 3180
3 Mazda 3 3038
4 Ford Falcon 2846
5 Toyota Corolla 2583
6 Hyundai i30 1959
7 Nissan Navara 1946
8 Toyota Yaris 1655
9 Mitsubishi Triton 1538
10 Hyundai Getz 1429
(*source VFACTS)

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