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Toyota HiLux continues market lead in Australia

Toyota prepares to launch its new Corolla hatch next week but the outgoing model remains Australia's best-selling passenger car.

Australia's new-car market went into reverse gear in July, dragging down sales by almost 8.0 per cent on the same month last year and with it, putting the first seven months of this year behind the same period in 2017.

The result is a disappointment considering sales to June this year had strengthened and pointed to a strong calendar year result. For the month, only three carmakers – Kia, Nissan and Volkswagen – posted gains.

The official VFACTS figures released today showed the volume of vehicles sales for the first seven months of the year were down 0.2 per cent, or 1233 vehicles, at 691,073 units.

In July, the month was down 7.8 per cent on July in 2017.

The sliding passenger-car segment remained on target, falling 20.2 per cent in July with the only spark being a 31.8 per cent boost in micro-car sales, led by Kia's Picanto (up 58.3 per cent in July) and the Mitsubishi Mirage (up 39.8 per cent).

Light-commercial vehicles showed some resilience by lifting 0.1 per cent.

Ute sales were up 1.3 per cent overall with 4WD utes making the biggest LCV gains with a 6.4 per cent rise on July 2017.

The segment was dominated by the Toyota HiLux that was again Australia's top-selling vehicle.

Unexpectedly, SUV total sales cooled by 1.0 per cent although within that segment, small SUVs and upper large SUVs lifted 3.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

SUVs are comfortably leading passenger car sales by about 25,000 units year to date and medium-size SUVs are the biggest sellers in year-to-date figures. 

However, the SUVs couldn't beat strong sales of small passenger cars – led by Corolla's 17.7 per cent segment share – for the month of July.

In brand sales, Toyota was again on top, although it copped a 5.7 per cent fall last month as the effect of moving to an imported version of the Camry was felt.

Camry was in new territory, down 44.8 per cent in March and 37.4 per cent year-to-date but it still had the lion's share of the segment.

Other Toyota models that recorded big falls included the Yaris (-10.1 per cent); Fortuner SUV (-43.5 per cent); Corolla (-19.1 per cent); and the 86 sports coupe which fell 35.5 per cent, more than clone Subaru BRZ's 9.7 per cent decline.

The RAV4 posted a modest 6.7 per cent increase in July, while Kluger, Prado and HiLux delivered strong results. 

Mazda recorded second spot on the brand ladder but had a 6.4 per cent drop over July last year as all models except the Mazda6 sedan slipped.

Despite that, selected Mazda models retained strong positions. The Mazda3 was the nation's fourth best-selling vehicle and was followed by the CX-5 SUV in fifth. The new CX-8 diesel SUV came in with 220 sales in July.

Hyundai's i30 small car was in sixth overall and had a 2.6 per cent lift in sales in July. The Tucson mid-size SUV, due for a model upgrade next month, was in 10th position.

Overall, Hyundai lost 5.9 per cent of sales caused by retractions in Accent (-31.7 per cent), iLoad van (-28.9 per cent), Elantra (-19.9 per cent) and Veloster (-50.3 per cent). 

Mitsubishi had strong results from its Pajero Sport (up 37.6 per cent) and Eclipse Cross (723 sales in July), while Ford slid 12.6 per cent for the month on declining sales for Mustang, Everest, Fiesta and Mondeo.

Kia increased sales but its powerhouse expansion was slowed to 3.2 per cent in July compared with the same month last year.

Nissan moved gently upwards with sales in March lifting by 4.1 per cent. Its best-selling X-Trail was up almost 10 per cent and Patrol did well, but Juke and Qashqai fell.

Volkswagen recorded the biggest sales jump of the top-10 players, with a 4.7 per cent increase that was boosted by a 62 per cent leap in Golf sales and a 36.1 per cent increase for Amarok 4WD.

Holden couldn't take a hit in July with a 39.3 per cent sales plunge to 3927 units and pushing it into ninth position with a 4.6 per cent market share for July and 5.3 per cent share year to date.

Huge sales falls for key models included the Astra (-47.7 per cent), Commodore (-65.9 per cent), Captiva (-63.6 per cent) and Trax (-30.2 per cent).

The new Equinox mid-size SUV didn't help much with 271 sales for July, but there was some comfort in the 12.0 per cent lift for the Colorado 4WD that is part of a strong marketing push.

Subaru rounded out the top 10 on 3366 sales, but it was 21.1 per cent behind July last year.

The three prestige Germans were caught by double-digit falls, with Audi down by 36.0 per cent, BMW sliding 21.8 per cent and Mercedes-Benz Cars – which remains the premium segment leader year to date – down by 15.4 per cent.

Some of the lower volume premium brands shrugged off the gloom, with Alfa Romeo up by 39.4 per cent on its Stelvio and Giulia newcomers; Infiniti stronger by 19.6 per cent; and Volvo ahead by 34.7 per cent.

Some of the biggest movers last month were Chinese brands LDV (up 146.9 per cent) and MG Motor (up 538.6 per cent). A revitalised Peugeot posted a 137.7 per cent gain on its 3008 and 5008 SUVs.


Top 10 selling brands July 2018

PositionBrandSalesVariance %Share %


Top 10 selling models July 2018

1Toyota HiLux3747
2Ford Ranger2950
3Toyota Corolla2594
5Mazda CX-52233
6Hyundai i302178
7Toyota RAV41853
8Volkswagen Golf1628
9Nissan X-Trail1603
10Hyundai Tucson1490

Do you think the market downturn will continue for the rest of 2018? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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