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SUVs booming, but cars still strong

The HiLux and Ranger may have taken out first and second place, but Australia's most favourite car was the Toyota Corolla.

Sales of utes and SUVs may have been the big headline-getters on the back of a record year of new vehicle sales in 2017, but market leader Toyota reckons passenger cars still have a crucial role to play.

Passenger vehicle sales were eclipsed by SUV sales for the first full year in 2017, with 450,12 passenger cars (or 37.8 per cent of market share) registered, while SUVs clocked up 465,646 SUVs sold (39.2 per cent share).

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said the shift is clear – buyers want SUVs more than passenger cars, and they're voting with their hard-earned cash.

"The shift in industry dynamic we observed last year has now become entrenched in our market," Mr Weber said of the move for SUVs to outsell traditional passenger cars. "It is a growth pattern that we expect will continue."

"Just ten years ago, SUVs accounted for 18.9 per cent of our total market," Mr Weber said – now, that figure is considerably higher. "Like the United States market, Australia's passenger car market has downshifted, as consumer preferences toward SUVs and light commercial vehicles grows."

According to Matt Callachor, president of Toyota Australia, the momentous event of SUVs outselling passenger cars for the first time ever in the country isn't necessarily the end of passenger car sales.

"I'm not suggesting this is the death knell for cars – that's not at all the circumstance. All industries go through various trends, and I think that in regards to passenger cars, Australians have a passion for sports-related vehicles, and I see that continuing into the future.

"We'll see new trends appear in cars as well," he said. "Whilst in the shorter term I think we will see continued and further growth in the SUV and light-commercial vehicle areas, I wouldn't be writing off passenger cars."

Corolla celebrated 50 years in local showrooms last year, and it has now been Australia's best-selling passenger car for five years in a row. Camry clocked-up its 24th straight year as Australia's best-selling mid-sized car.

The Australian-made Camry managed to make it into the top 10 rankings, and another locally-produced model did, too – the Holden Commodore. Mid-sized and large sedans are one thing, but small hatchbacks continued to perform well,  with the Mazda 3 and Hyundai i30 both scoring well on the sales charts.

Here are the top 25 selling vehicles in Australia in 2017.

1)   Toyota HiLux – 47,093 sales

2)   Ford Ranger – 42,478 sales

3)   Toyota Corolla – 37,353 sales

4)   Mazda 3 – 32,960 sales

5)   Hyundai i30 – 28,780 sales

6)   Mazda CX-5 – 25,831 sales

7)   Hyundai Tucson – 23,828 sales

8)   Holden Commodore – 23,676 sales

9)   Toyota Camry – 23,620 sales

10)  Mitsubishi Triton – 23,605 sales

11)   Holden Colorado – 21,579 sales

12)  Toyota RAV4 – 21,077 sales

13)   Mitsubishi ASX – 19,403 sales

14)   Nissan X-Trail – 18,955 sales  

15)    Kia Cerato – 18,731 sales

16)    Isuzu D-Max – 17,717 sales

17)    Hyundai Accent – 17,578 sales

18)    Mazda CX-3 – 17,490 sales

19)    Mitsubishi Outlander – 16,632 sales

20)   Nissan Navara – 16,532 sales

21)   Toyota Prado – 15,982 sales

22)   Honda Civic – 14,672 sales

23)    Mazda BT-50 – 14,119 sales

24)   Nissan Qashqai – 13,495 sales

25)   Kia Sportage – 13,448 sales

Did you buy a car in 2017? Tell us what you choose and why in the comments below.