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THE Australian new car market continues to defy economic trends, with a prolonged Federal election campaign failing to dent the confidence of consumers who have snapped up a record number of new cars in the first half of 2016.
A total of 128,569 new vehicles were sold in June – a historically strong month for retailers – with the annual total sitting just shy of 600,000 units for the six months to the end of June.
This is 3.4 per cent ahead of where the market was sitting at this time last year, indicating that the market is on for a record-breaking 1.2 million sales total for 2016.
However, with an unclear result in the recent Federal election comes the distinct possibility of softer retail confidence going into the back half of the year.
Worldwide currency instability, particularly around the state of the UK’s position to leave the European Union, may also affect the local market moving forward.
Several models, including the Nissan’s Qashqai and all Jaguar and Land Rover products are sourced from the UK for the Australian market.
Topping the sales charts for the fourth straight month is Hyundai’s price-leading i30, selling an astonishing 6432 cars in the month, a 16.5 per cent rise over May and almost 2000 units ahead of the second-best seller, the Toyota HiLux, which sold 4613 units across both 4x4 and 4x2 models.
The Toyota Corolla, meanwhile, finished third on 4427 cars, but it’s expected to make up ground going forward as Hyundai winds back its current $19,990 drive-away offer on the i30.
The Mazda3 claimed fourth spot and 4112 sales, with Mazda Australia unwilling to challenge either Toyota or Hyundai for the top places in the fiercely contested small car space.
It’s a sector where rental and fleet sales can have a marked effect on the bottom line, and the company has previously indicated that it doesn’t target those segments.
Holden slips out of the top three at the half-year point for the first time since 1948
It hasn’t hurt Mazda overall, however, with the brand coming in at number two in June with 12,455 sales, some distance behind Toyota (22,083) and only just in front of Hyundai (12,300).
Holden slips out of the top three at the half-year point for the first time since 1948, with a 4.6 per cent slide in sales dropping it to fourth spot ahead of Mitsubishi.
The bright spot for sixth-placed Ford is the Ranger line-up, which outsold arch rival Toyota’s HiLux in the 4x4 segment for June. On combined sales, though, it sits some 600 units behind the Toyota for the month.
Holden’s Commodore continues to defy its imminent demise, with a 10 per cent increase month on month to post 3054 sales. Ford’s Falcon, meanwhile, rallied briefly with an 11 per cent lift from May, but its sales total of just 475 tells the real story.
Despite continued near-vertical growth in the SUV sector, the only model to crack the top ten is Mazda’s CX-5, logging 2643 sales for the month. SUV sales as a whole leapt almost 10 per cent for the month at the expense of the continually declining passenger sector, which fell 4.5 per cent.
Other performances of note come from Kia (up 41 per cent month on month on the back of keen retail offers) and Volkswagen (down 16 per cent as it awaits its new Tiguan SUV, and despite strong performances from Golf).
There’s still money at the top end of town, with both luxury and sports car sales booming across the segment. Mercedes-Benz leads its German rivals BMW – the Bavarian brand logging a healthy 15.7 per cent jump in June – and Audi.
The sports car sector, meanwhile, jumped an impressive 23.4 per cent on the back of strong sales from Ford’s Mustang, the new-generation Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-AMG’s C63 Coupe.