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Shock results! Nissan climbs to new heights as Mazda falters, but did the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger or Tesla Model 3 top the sales charts?

The X-Trail was the second best-selling SUV in Australia last month.

Nissan has climbed back up the new-vehicle sales charts in a big way, outselling the likes of Hyundai and Kia to return to the top 10.

The Japanese carmaker is back in good form after years of slowing sales off the back of an ageing model line-up. The line-up was significantly refreshed at the very end of 2022 with the launch of new-generation versions of the X-Trail, Qashqai and Pathfinder SUVs

Ongoing interest in the Patrol off-roader and a refreshed Z sports car have also helped.

In February, Nissan sold 6617 new vehicles, a 157 per cent increase over the same month in 2023. That was enough for Nissan to land in fourth place for the month ahead of some big hitters.

Fellow alliance brand Mitsubishi was fifth last month with 6411 (+16.6%) and Kia landed in sixth with 6141 units (+2.4%). Hyundai followed with 5703 (+3.6%), while Tesla was in eighth place with just two models, shifting 5665 units (+61%). That result was helped by the facelifted Model 3 landing in third overall.

Rounding out the top 10 were Isuzu Ute (4692, +48.7%) - another brand with just two models - and MG (4474, +2.5%).

The best-performing model for Nissan last month was the X-Trail, which landed in sixth place - 2508, up 283.5 per cent - making it the second most popular SUV in Australia last month behind the ever-popular Toyota RAV4 (2843,+34.4%) one place ahead of it.

Tesla was in eighth place with just two models, shifting 5665 units (+61%). (Image: Tom White)

But the X-Trail wasn’t alone - the Qashqai was up 43 per cent year on year, and the Juke light SUV had an exceptional month of sales, increasing by 223.4 per cent.

Patrol maintained its solid form with 1020 sales representing a 206 per cent bump, but it was the 4x4 version of the ageing Navara ute that had the most surprising result against much newer rivals - it was up 159.7 per cent to 1361 sales, beating the Mitsubishi Triton and Mazda BT-50.

Whether Nissan can maintain this momentum remains to be seen, but the company’s management has previously said it has ambitions for the X-Trail to return to being one of Australia’s top-selling medium SUVs.

Elsewhere, Toyota led the market once again with a significant 35 per cent boost to sales of 19,374, with the HiLux taking second place overall behind the increasingly dominant Ford Ranger.

Patrol maintained its solid form with 1020 sales representing a 206 per cent bump.

The latter won the month with 5353 sales (+19.7%), and that helped keep Ford in third spot overall with 7275 units (+20.8%).

Ford’s result was so strong that it very nearly overtook perennial number two, Mazda. Ford outsold Mazda by just 75 units last month, which puts the Japanese manufacturer in a sticky spot. 

With stock of the discontinued CX-9 running out fast and the CX-8 also close to selling out, there is a danger that Ford could well overtake Mazda before the end of the year.

Overall the market was up by 20.9 per cent last month over February 2023, with 105,023 vehicles sold. Of that total, 9.6 per cent or 10,111 units were battery electric vehicles, an increase of 70.4 per cent.

In February, Ford sold 5353 Rangers.

Despite that, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Chief Executive Tony Weber maintained his scepticism of the Federal Government’s proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) in a press release announcing the results.

“Australian motorists’ strong preference for utes, accounting for 20.3 per cent of sales this month, demonstrates the challenges with the proposed New Vehicle Emissions Standard. Out of 21,327 utes sold in February, only one was an EV,” he said.

“Growing sales of electric vehicles across other market segments proves that where a battery electric product exists which suits the driving habits of Australian motorists, work and recreation needs they will purchase these vehicles,” he added.

Most popular brand February 2024

RankingBrandSalesVariance %
9Isuzu Ute4692+48.7

Most popular models February 2024

RankingModelSalesVariance %
1Ford Ranger5353+19.7
2Toyota Hilux4403+11.8
3Tesla Model 33593+34.5
4Isuzu D-Max2941+52.3
5Toyota RAV42843+34.4
6Nissan X-Trail2508+283.5
7Toyota Corolla2439+100.9
8MG ZS2357+15.1
9Mitsubishi Outlander2209+2.0
10Tesla Model Y2072+145.2
Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim Nicholson’s journey into automotive journalism. Tim launched the program, Fender Bender, on community radio station JOY 94.9 during completion of his Master of Arts (Media and Communications). This led to an entry role at industry publication GoAuto, before eventually taking the role of Managing Editor. A stint as RACV’s Motoring Editor – including being an Australia’s Best Cars judge – provided a different perspective to automotive media, before leading him to CarsGuide where he started as a Contributing Journalist in September 2021, and transitioned to Senior Editor in April 2022, before becoming Managing Editor in December 2022.
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