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SUVs and ute sales continued to climb in May

SUVs and utes are hot, sedans are not — that's the message from the latest monthly vehicle sales figures. The May numbers, released by industry statistician Vfacts, show sales of passenger cars dropped by 6 per cent while SUV sales grew by 11 per cent.

It's been a recurring theme in the first five months of this year, in which SUV sales have climbed at the expense of sedans and hatches.

What's hot

Mazda CX-3

The baby SUV has come out on top of the wave of new mini-SUVs launched last year. A sharp price, funky looks and a Mazda badge have enabled the softroader to challenge some of the top nameplates. The rise of the CX-3 hasn't come without a cost, though. Sales of the larger CX-5 and the Mazda3 hatch have dropped (the CX-5 is still Australia's best-selling SUV).

Ford Mustang

Falcon may be on its last legs, but this retro rocket has filled the void for muscle car fans. Almost overnight it has become the country's favourite sports car. It outsells the second most popular, the Toyota 86, by more than two to one.

Ford Ranger

If the Mustang is the new face of Ford, the Ford Ranger is the backbone. The 4WD version came within a whisker of toppling the dominant Toyota HiLux and sales this year are up by 38 per cent. It was our fifth best-selling vehicle last month, achieving what the Falcon couldn't by toppling Holden's Commodore.

Hyundai i30/Accent

Underpinned by a $19,990 drive-away deal that shaves about $7500 off the RRP, the i30 overtook the Toyota Corolla and the Mazda3 to become Australia's favourite car so far this year. The story is the same with the Accent, which was a forgotten model until the company dropped its newer i20 stablemate. A $14,990 drive-away deal has doubled sales and it's now the most popular car in the light segment.

Kia Carnival

Australia's (bigger) families have made their choice and its Kia's palatial people-mover. Sales of the recently updated Carnival are up 83 per cent. When you've got school fees, smartphones and expensive runners to cover, a seven-year warranty and capped servicing makes a lot of sense.

What's not

Micro cars

Despite two new models and a revamp for the segment's most popular car, city runabouts continue to tank. Sales were down by 24 per cent, a slight improvement on the 27 per cent decline year-to-date. The Kia Picanto debuted at No. 1 in May, but success is relative.

Light cars

The next segment up isn't faring much better as Australians continue to crave larger, thirstier SUVs. The Accent is almost a one-man band, as most of the big names — Mazda2, Toyota Yaris, VW Polo and Honda Jazz — dip in sales.

Toyota camry

The homegrown Toyota was the top-selling car in December last year but since then has failed to crack the top 10. Camry is down 12 per cent despite a rock-bottom drive-away price that has hovered at about $26,990, cheaper than some baby SUVs. Toyota's other bigger seller, the Corolla, has had an up and down year. Sales were up 24 per cent in May but are down by more than 8 per cent year-to-date.


Dieselgate comes home to roost. One of the fastest growing brands in the country for the past decade has hit the wall this year, as the rest of the market grows. Sales are down by roughly 4 per cent but in May dropped an alarming 18 per cent. It's not all about Dieselgate, though. The brand isn't selling enough SUVs.


If you bought a Jeep this year, you're one of a dwindling number. The former high-rollers of the industry have been plagued by personnel scandals, quality problems, unkind currency fluctuations and even YouTube videos by aggrieved customers. As a result sales have halved compared with the same period last year.

Top 10 selling cars for May

Hyundai i30 - 3771 - up 126 per cent
Toyota HiLux - 3675 - up 16 per cent
Toyota Corolla - 3333 - up 24 per cent
Mazda3 - 3243 - up 13 per cent
Ford Ranger - 3115 - up 29 per cent
Holden Commodore - 2255 - up 2 per cent
Mazda CX-5 - 2117 - up 7 per cent
Mitsubishi Triton - 2021 - down 25 per cent
VW Golf - 1840 - down 13 per cent
Nissan Navara - 1751 - up 113 per cent

Source: Vfacts

Are you thinking of swapping from a sedan to an SUV or a ute? Let us know in the comments below.

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