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Market Insight: Top five steady in 2014

Well played: The Volkswagen Golf entered the top ten best-selling cars list last year with 19,178 sales, outstripping Holden’s locally built Cruze in 2014.

The top sellers remain static in 2014 as SUVs and Euros infiltrate top ten


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9 Jan 2015

THE top five selling cars in Australia last year have maintained the same position they ended 2013 with, but movements in the rest of the top ten highlight some trends in the local new-car market.

Toyota’s Corolla took top honours for the second year running in 2014 with 43,735 sales, just pipping former top-seller, the Mazda3, that recorded 43,313 sales.

Both of these models experienced a small jump in sales compared with 2013, with the Corolla benefitting from the release of the sedan variant in February, helping the local favourite lift by 0.5 per cent or just 237 units.

The Mazda3 – which was the top-selling car in Australia in 2011 and 2012 – experienced a bigger, albeit still modest increase last year of 2.9 per cent or 1231 units over the 2013 result.

Mazda launched its third-generation Mazda3 in January 2014 and each month it has tussled for top spot, winning the sales race in January and February, before the Corolla bounced back to top the charts from March to August.

The Mazda3 had a strong finish to the year by edging out Corolla in September, November and December, but it wasn’t enough to regain its title as the country’s favourite car.

The rest of the top five held their positions from the previous year, with Toyota's consistently popular HiLux light-commercial ute nabbing third place on 38,126 units, a 4.52 per cent dip on 2013’s haul of 39,930.

Hyundai’s i30 small hatch range backed up a strong 2013 with 31,505 units shifted, or 923 less than the previous year’s results.

Rounding out the top five again was Holden’s locally built Commodore, which bucked the downward trend of large car sales by actually increasing its market share in 2014 following a full year of sales for the VF.

Holden’s final Australian designed and built sedan and wagon range captured 30,203 buyers, representing a boost of 8.8 per cent or 2437 units.

In contrast, every other model in the large car under $70,000 segment, including the locally produced Ford Falcon and Toyota Aurion, as well as the imported Peugeot 508 and Skoda Superb, were down, with the overall category dropping by 9.5 per cent year on year.

Outside the top five, the big winner was Ford’s Australian developed and engineered Ranger ute, which has been steadily gaining on the top-selling HiLux all year.

Ford recorded 26,619 Ranger sales last year, representing a 22.3 per cent leap over its 2013 tally of 21,752 units.

The Ranger was easily Ford’s biggest seller in 2014, with the Focus coming in second place with 15,116, followed by the locally built Territory SUV on 9828.

The Falcon experienced its worst sales on record with 6349 examples finding homes, a 40.2 per cent slide from 2013’s results which places it behind the Fiesta city car which sold 6530 units. Ford launched its final Falcon in December so it remains unclear how much of an impact the facelifted model will have on sales.

The Blue Oval’s workhorse held on to sixth spot for eight out of the 12 months of 2014, and while it has knocked off the Mitsubishi Triton as the second most popular LCV in the country, it still has some distance to go before catching the HiLux.

Mitsubishi’s ageing Triton finished 2014 on a ripping note thanks to heavy discounting, with 3420 units sold in December, making it the third best-selling vehicle in the country last month.

Proving how popular light-commercial utes are in the Australian market, Isuzu’s D-Max ute also made the top 10 in December, shifting 1775 units for ninth spot, just edging out Toyota’s RAV4 SUV in tenth place.

The Triton, which is set to be replaced by a new model in the second quarter of the year, held seventh place for the second year running with a 1.0 per cent drop to 24,256 sales.

It was a top year for the run-out Triton, with Mitsubishi recording its best month of sales ever in June when the Thai-built ute shifted 4124 units, accounting for about half of the car-maker’s sales that month.

Toyota’s Camry mid-sizer – the only other locally built car to make the top 10 last year – took an 11.3 per cent slide from sixth in 2013 to eight spot in 2014 with 22,044 units sold.

A major facelift is on the way for the Camry in the middle of the year that will see the top-selling mid-sizer out to the end of 2017 when Toyota will shut its local manufacturing operation.

Mazda’s CX-5 lobbed in ninth spot, becoming the highest-selling SUV in the country with 21,571 sales to the end of December.

Mazda’s CX-5 outsold Hyundai’s ix35 (17,922), the Toyota RAV4 (18,160) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee (16,582) to take top honours among its high-riding peers.

Rounding out the top 10 in 2014 was the Volkswagen Golf, highlighting Australia’s increasing interest in European cars.

The Golf rose 10.6 per cent compared with 2013 to reach 19,178 sales, which also makes it the fourth most popular small car in the country behind the Corolla, Mazda3 and i30.

Last year was the first full year of sales for the Mk7 Golf, suggesting sales could continue to grow in 2015, with the Golf wagon and popular hot-hatch variants including the GTI Performance and the R now on stream.

The CX-5 and the Golf’s placing in the top 10 pushed the locally made Holden Cruze and Nissan’s ageing Navara ute out of the list, with the Cruze just outside in eleventh spot on 18,554 sales and the Navara (16,080) overtaken by Holden’s Colorado (18,048).

Top 10 selling models for 2014
Toyota Corolla43,735
Toyota HiLux38,126
Hyundai i3031,505
Holden Commodore30,203
Ford Ranger26,619
Mitsubishi Triton24,256
Toyota Camry22,044
Mazda CX-521,571
Volkswagen Golf19,178

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