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Ute sales boom in June to new record

2014 Toyota HiLux utility

Ute sales boom to new record in June but not everyone was a winner.

Australians bought a record number of utes in June, 90 years after we invented the vehicle that could be used for work and play.

The iconic homegrown utes made by Holden and Ford may be about to go out of production, but Australians can’t get enough of imported four-door pick-ups that double as workhorses during the week and family cars on weekends.

For the first time in Australian automotive history utility vehicles filled two of the top three sales spots last month, and represented five of the 11 best-sellers, confidential preliminary figures show before official data is released Friday.

The Toyota Corolla was the top selling passenger car in June, closely followed by the Toyota HiLux ute and the Mitsubishi Triton ute, the first time the Mitsubishi has ever finished inside the Top Three.

The Toyota HiLux has been king of the heavy duty utes for the past 35 years but its sales are being dented by the competition, down by 13 per cent compared with the same month last year, as most other leading utes surged.

The Mitsubishi Triton reached an all-time high of 4125 sales (up 19.4 per cent), driven by a $29,990 drive-away deal that was $12,000 off its original RRP.

Ford also reported record sales of the Australian designed and engineered -- but Thailand-made -- Ranger ute.

The Ford Ranger had its best ever monthly sales in the history of the nameplate, delivering 3215 vehicles, up a staggering 38 per cent from its previous record set just the month before.

Holden’s Colorado was squeezed out of the Top 10 by the Volkswagen Golf but it too enjoyed sales growth (up 17 per cent).

June is typically the biggest month of the year for ute sales as big businesses and tradies buy new vehicles before the end of the financial year.

The mining boom has been largely responsible for the growth but private buyers are the new driving force as prices hit new lows and the vehicles become more car-like to drive and gain modern safety features.

The news wasn’t as good for the rest of the industry, however, with the five-month sales slow-down across the Top 10 brands continuing into the biggest month of the year: only four of the top 10 brands posted gains in June.

Holden, in second place to Toyota, remains the fastest growing Top 10 brand after recording its 10th month in a row of sales surges.

The Commodore (up 47 per cent) managed to stay inside the Top 10, posting its best result since October last year and the best June result in three years.

The locally-made Holden Cruze improved on the previous month’s all-time low but sales were still down by 8.6 per cent compared with the same month last year.

The Falcon hit its third lowest sales result on record -- after hitting rock bottom in January and February -- as Ford slowed production to 83 cars per day and axed almost 300 manufacturing jobs in June.

South Korean car maker Hyundai eclipsed the 10,000 sales barrier for the first time, a new monthly sales record, and overtook Mazda to make the Top 3 for the third month in a row.

The Volkswagen Golf squeezed into the Top 10 (up a staggering 86 per cent) driven by a $22,990 drive-away deal, but it was still nowhere near its best month ever: October 2011 with 3337 sales.

Meanwhile, South Korean car maker Kia once again bumped Honda out of the Top 10.

The Toyota Corolla was Australia’s top-selling car for the fourth month in a row, but the Mazda3 still leads year-to-date after an unusually high number of demonstrator vehicles were registered in January and February.

But the defending 2013 champion, the Toyota Corolla, has narrowed the gap and is just 357 sales behind the top-selling Mazda3 year-to-date.

Top 10 selling cars in June 2014*
Toyota Corolla 4650 up 10.8 per cent
Toyota HiLux 4275 down 13.3 per cent
Mitsubishi Triton 4125 up 19.4 per cent
Mazda3 4060 up 10.5 per cent
Hyundai i30 3245 down 11.5 per cent
Ford Ranger 3215 up 39.4 per cent
Holden Commodore 3160 up 47.3 per cent
Toyota Camry 2375 down 10.4 per cent
Nissan Navara 2280 down 13.7 per cent
Volkswagen Golf 2260 up 86 per cent
Top 10 selling brands in June 2014*
Toyota 20,805 down 6.1 per cent
Holden 12,335 up 17.7 per cent
Hyundai 10,005 up 0.9 per cent
Mazda 9374 down 2.0 per cent
Ford 8715 down 10.0 per cent
Mitsubishi 8260 down 10.8 per cent
Nissan 8015 down 12.5 per cent
Volkswagen 6595 up 26.4 per cent
Subaru 3850 down 6.5 per cent
Kia 3350 up 7.0 per cent
* Preliminary figures. Official data published Friday 4 July, 2014