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Toyota Corolla sales slump as car rental companies shift to Kia and Hyundai

Toyota has lost a massive rental car fleet contract that has put an 1800-car dent in its annual sales and contributed to an 8.5 per cent slide in year-to-date results.

After 20 years with Corollas, one of the nation’s biggest independent rental car businesses has shifted orders to other manufacturers led by Hyundai and Kia.

The switch to other cars by the fleet company has also unseated Corolla from its third-place standing in the vehicle sales ladder, sliding it to fourth.

The single fleet business, that ordered hundreds of Hyundai i30s and Kia Ceratos in June, helped make i30 Australia’s third most popular car and elevated Cerato to sixth. Neither model has previously held such high standings. 

The move away from Toyota was activated by Bayswater Car Rental that has offices in Perth and Sydney and has an existing fleet of about 2500 Corollas.

But Bayswater director Dirk Kluck said the company has ordered 500 Hyundai i30s and 200 Kia Ceratos as the price of the Corolla became too expensive for the rental company that is renown for budget hire rates.

“Toyota dropped the entry-level Corolla and that made the next cheapest Corolla more expensive than the i30 and Cerato,” Mr Kluck said.

Baywaters car rental ordered hundreds of Hyundai i30s and Kia Ceratos in June. Baywaters car rental ordered hundreds of Hyundai i30s and Kia Ceratos in June.

“We have nothing against the Corolla - it’s been a great car for us. But we’re in the budget business and we don’t have the need for additional features especially when our customers don’t complain.”

He said the new safety levels of the latest Corolla were important to safety but his customers had never mentioned safety in a hire car. The extra safety equipment had also dramatically increased the price of components such as new Corolla windscreens - a high replacement item in rental cars - that he said were over $1000 each.'

The win by Hyundai and Kia was reflected in the June month rise in Western Australian monthly sales of the i30 and the Cerato, up 90.2 per cent (with 563 units sold) and 27.4 per cent (186 sales) on June 2018 respectively. The June orders have been placed on Vfacts but Bayswater has yet to receive the cars.

In NSW, June Corolla sales were 1086 (down 18.9 per cent) against Hyundai’s i30 sales of 1120 units (down 4.0 per cent) and the Kia Cerato with 979 sales, a rise of 13.2 per cent.

Bayswater’s Mr Kluck said his company would include Toyota in future orders, especially after finding rental demand for the hybrid versions of Camry, Corolla and RAV4.

Toyota placed a stop-sales order on some models, including Corolla, at the end of June.

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