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Utes lead the way in soft October sales

Overall, sales of new cars in Australia fell in October.

Toyota and Ford utes surge ahead of passenger car rivals as SUV share grows.

The stampede of buyers away from small and medium passenger sedans and wagons continues, with dual cab utes claiming the top two spots in October new car sales data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Toyota HiLux has claimed the number one spot for October ahead of its arch rival, the Ford Ranger, which has climbed to its highest ever outright spot on the monthly sales charts.

The two are only separated by 135 units, with the HiLux (3352 sales) jumping two spots and three hundred sales to snatch back the win for the month.

The Japanese ute holds a 742-unit lead in the year to date race, with Toyota moving 3339 HiLuxs to Ford's 2597 Rangers.

The Ranger – long considered an outsider to ever topple the HiLux in the sales race – moved 3217 units in October, a leap of more than 300 from the previous month.

Overall, sales of new cars in Australia fell in October, spurred by a further softening of passenger car sales.

Last month's leader, the Mazda3, has fallen to fifth spot after shedding more than 500 sales from its September figures, with the former number two, Toyota's Corolla, dropping to third overall.

Fourth place is held by the Hyundai i30, climbing one spot from its September result.

Defying the passenger car slide is Toyota's evergreen Camry, which has finished sixth overall for the month, despite only a modest sales increase of 127 sales over last month.

It comes in at the expense of the Mazda CX-5, which falls out of the top ten ahead of the reveal of a new version of Australia's most popular mid-size SUV this month at the Los Angeles motor show. 

Despite dropping 200 sales from September, the erstwhile Holden Commodore holds onto seventh spot, with Hyundai's Accent hatch and Tucson SUV slotting into eight and ninth.

The Mitsubishi Triton fell out of the top ten in October, replaced by Nissan's mid-sized X-Trail SUV.

Overall, sales of new cars in Australia fell in October, spurred by a further softening of passenger car sales (despite six of the top ten cars in the country coming from that segment).

Australians bought 93,357 new cars and light commercial vehicles in October, down from 102,696 in September. The national tally stands at 980,433 for the year, which is ahead of the 2015 to-date figure by 2.4 per cent.

The passenger car sector fell by another 7.4 per cent from September, while SUV sales increased by a softening margin of 5.4 per cent; in October 2015, the figure month to month was more like 20 per cent, and the gap between the two more than 6000 cars.

In hard numbers, just 1375 sales now separate passenger cars and SUVs.

Sales of cars to private buyers declined 3.5 per cent in October, while business purchases rose by 2.6 per cent and sales to government by 5.1 per cent.

Rental fleet sales, meanwhile, fell by 12.9 per cent.

The biggest gain in buyer type by volume during October was in SUV sales to businesses, which increased by almost 10 per cent.

Proving there's still a bit of money around, the sports car segment increased 20 per cent month on month.

Some of the biggest drops across segments came in both the micro (15 per cent) and light (16 per cent) car sectors, while small cars also fell by four per cent.

An 11 per cent downturn in premium medium cars (like the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series) pulled the entire medium sector down by almost five per cent.

Proving there's still a bit of money around, the sports car segment increased 20 per cent month on month, with strong sales of the $470,000-odd Ferrari 488 GTB and the Bentley Continental GT – which starts at $402,000 - leading the charge at the top end of town.

There was no change in the top ten company rankings between September and October, with Toyota holding the number one spot over Mazda, Hyundai and Holden.

Were you surprised by any of these results? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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