New car sales slipped across the nation in October as the latest data delivered this week showed Australia was feeling the effects of the weak housing market and regional drought.
The fall was particularly felt in the passenger car segment that dropped 14.4 per cent in October, propped up only by the micro-car category that was up almost 17 per cent.
The SUV segment was again buoyant though buyers moved away from the large-SUV sector, clipping its wings by 2.4 per cent.
For the month of October the market was down 5.3 per cent. Although the passenger car segment felt the biggest hit, things were far better in commercial vehicles with a 10.9 per cent lift for the month and a 15.1 per cent gain year to date.
The VFACTS data released today show 90,718 units were sold in October, taking the year-to-date total to 971,723 units to represent a 1.3 per cent fall overall.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said the market was holding up, but blamed the slowdown in the housing market and the drought as affecting the result.
Market leader Toyota was only slightly perturbed by the lacklustre market in October, sales hiccuping 0.1 per cent as Corolla slipped 4.4 per cent. HiLux helped again, with a 7.6 per cent sales increase.
Winners were few but included Mitsubishi that continued its march up the sales ladder last month. It is now fourth after lifting sales 12.0 per cent in October, driven by the small-SUV ASX and the Triton ute that is now in run-out mode.
Kia was another to boost its position, with October sales up 7.7 per cent for eighth position. This was on the back of the revised medium-SUV Sportage that boosted sales by 20.6 per cent, and the Picanto that was virtually single-handedly holding the micro-car segment aloft with sales up by 48.0 per cent for the month.
The only other winner in the top 10 was Mazda that rose 1.5 per cent.
Holden, fresh from launching its Acadia large-SUV that goes on sale over the next week, saw its efforts poorly rewarded with a 32.0 per cent monthly sales plunge.
The Commodore was off 72.6 per cent selling 663 units in October, and mid-size Equinox SUV hopeful sold a dismal 300 units for the month, happily seven units above the Ford Escape but sadly less than half the sales of the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Hyundai sales were down 15.5 per cent with the once-popular i30 small car dropping a massive 48.6 per cent in sales last month.
Others to see losses were Ford (down 7.3 per cent), Nissan (down 7.1 per cent), Honda (down 20.7 per cent), Volkswagen (off 2.1 per cent) and – surprisingly – Subaru that was down 6.4 per cent.
Subaru's Forester, recently launching as an all-new model, was the brand's darling with its sales surging 81.6 per cent – not enough however to float the other models.
The Golf pulled down Volkswagen, as sales slipped 21.6 per cent, with some positive help from the Polo which jumped 47.8 per cent.
In the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars were down 14.0 per cent while rivals also fell. Audi dropped 13.4 per cent and BMW slipped 4.5 per cent in October.
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