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The Toyota Corolla has overtaken the Mazda 3 small car to become Australia’s top-selling vehicle so far this year, official figures released today have confirmed.
The Corolla has led the market on 20 individual months over the past eight years, but this is the first time it has led the sales race year-to-date, other than in a January.
The Toyota HiLux utility was the biggest selling vehicle for the month, but the Corolla took the lead in the tally for the first five months of the year (Corolla sales: 16,774 versus Mazda3: 16,405).
The Commodore was edged out of the top 10 for the first time, beaten by just five sales by Mitsubishi's Outlander SUV. Preliminary figures released earlier in the week had the Commodore ahead by two sales, but Holden revised down its figure for the official results.
The Commodore has had five months in a row of record-low sales. It was beaten by the Toyota Camry for the third month in a row and the sixth time in eight months as Holden makes way for a new model, which began arriving in showrooms this week.
The Falcon remains outside the top 20. In a telling insight into why Ford decided to end local manufacturing in 2016, its entire model line-up was nearly outsold by Mitsubishi, which became solely an importer after closing its Adelaide car-making factory in 2008.
Toyota, market leader for 10 years in a row, has doubled its sales lead so far this year. With more than 19,000 deliveries it sold more than twice as many cars as its nearest competitor in May, even though sales dipped by 7 per cent.
Official figures to be released in the coming days are expected to show the record growth of the new-car market has slowed marginally. Year-to-date sales are up by 4.5 per cent but May was only 0.7 per cent better than the same month last year.
The battle for second place was fought by three brands -- Holden, Mazda and Hyundai -- which all sold more than 8000 cars but were separated by fewer than 300 deliveries. There was a distant gap to Ford; the 1995 new-car market leader ranked fifth with 7200 deliveries.
Four of the top five brands experienced sales slides -- among them only Hyundai posted growth -- but the rest of the top 10 helped drive the market. Mitsubishi had its best May result on record and closed the month just 200 sales shy of Ford.
All brands are gearing up for sharp deals in the run to the end of the financial year, with many dealers overstocked. June is historically the biggest sales month of the year; June 2012 was an all-time high.
Holden increased the discounts on selected runout models last weekend, Mitsubishi has taken the knife to the Lancer small car and Outlander SUV, while Nissan’s Pulsar hatch is due to arrive before month’s end with a starting price of just $18,990.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling
Top 10 brands: May 2013*
Toyota 19,003 -- down 7pc compared to the same month last year
Holden 8293 -- down 8pc
Mazda 8135 -- down 2.5pc
Hyundai 8027 -- up 16.6pc
Ford 7243 -- down 6.4pc
Mitsubishi 7011 -- up 36pc
Nissan 5928 -- down 14.9pc
Volkswagen 5527 -- up 16.6pc
Honda 3625 -- up 16.8pc
Subaru 3612 -- down 5.0pc
Top 10 cars: May 2013*
Toyota HiLux 3665 (year to date: 15,790)
Toyota Corolla 3640 (year to date: 16,774)
Mazda3 3054 (year to date: 16,405)
Mitsubishi Triton 2606
Hyundai i30 2512
Holden Cruze 2133
Toyota Camry 1934
Mazda CX5 1773
Ford Ranger 1702
Mitsubishi Outlander 1652
Holden Commodore 1647