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Passenger car sales slide again in August as Toyota cleans up

Toyota remains at the top of Australian car sales charts.
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist
CarsGuide

5 Sep 2016 • 7 min read

The inevitable march towards a high-riding automotive future continued in August, as buyers continue to turn away from traditional passenger cars in favour of SUVS and utes.

In overall terms, sales of SUVs (36,396) were only 2549 behind those of passenger cars (38,945) for the month. By way of comparison, the gap at the end of August 2015 was 8000 units.

SUV sales grew another 10 per cent over July's numbers, and are also 10 per cent better than the numbers to this point in 2015.

Overall, the market for 4x4 utes – including the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Volkswagen Amarok and the like – grew 15 per cent over July's numbers, and is up 10 per cent for the year.

The only blight on the SUV picture was a slight fall month on month for small SUVs like BMW's X1, Fiat's 500X and the Ford EcoSport; the segment is still three per cent up for the year, however.

In the passenger car space, sales fell 4.2 per cent from July to August, and are 5.5 per cent down for the year.

The local market is still on track to record another record sales year.

The medium passenger car segment performed the most strongly, with good numbers from Volkswagen's Passat, an improved showing from the Nissan Altima and the entry of Subaru's new Levorg pushing the category into a 6.9 per cent improvement over July.

Light cars (including Mitsubishi's Mirage and Volkswagen's Polo) are off a worrying 24 per cent month on month and 17 per cent for the year.

The local market is still on track to record another record sales year, though the bounce-back from July's soft retail figures was not as pronounced as expected.

Toyota retained its number one spot on the charts with the evergreen Corolla logging 3554 sales, a scant 127 units up on July.

The HiLux also kept its second place, with its tally of 3311 just 175 up on July.

Ford's Ranger added 90 units to its July tally, shifting 2964 cars in August to keep its newly won third place overall.

Toyota, however, managed to wrest back the politically important lead in the 4x4 pick-up category from Ford, as well as claiming the 4x2 segment.

The Mazda3 bounced back strongly in August with an updated version of its best-selling small car. The company literally ran out of vehicles to sell in July, pushing the car down the order, but 2818 sales in August has put it back on track for a strong year.

Toyota's Camry (static at 2458) and LandCruiser (up three spots with 2045) ranked fifth and sixth for the month, with the Holden Commodore holding steady in seventh with 1952 sales.

The top ten rankings for Australian companies remains unchanged for August.

Mazda's CX-5 sales have finally started to level off, with a modest dip of 39 cars from its July total meaning its 1902 August figure pushes it down to eighth overall.

Toyota's RAV4 and Mazda's CX-3 both fell out of the top ten for August, with Hyundai's i30 recovering some ground from its July slump to record 1864 sales for ninth, and Mitsubishi's ASX SUV rounding out the ten with 1781 sales.

The top ten rankings for Australian companies remains unchanged for August, with Toyota growing its market share slightly to finish at number one at 17.7 per cent.

Mazda held steady at 10.1 per cent market share, while Hyundai slipped little to hold 8.7 per cent of the Australian market (down from nine per cent in July).

Two prestige brands made impressive gains in August, with Jaguar leaping 200 per cent month on month with 334 sales (194 per cent year on year) on the back of F-Pace activity, while Bentley moved 19 cars in August to be 40 per cent up year on year.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz also recorded growth in August, and all three are ahead of their respective 2015 figures.

Even small brands like Lamborghini, Lotus and McLaren recorded positive growth in August, with Lotus shifting 17 units in August.

Alfa Romeo continues its woes, though, recording just 41 sales overall in August, with its figures 55 per cent down overall from this time in 2015.

Sister brand Jeep is in similar strife at 50 per cent off year on year and another 40 per cent off month to month.

When will SUVs overtake passenger car sales; this month or next? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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