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News - VFACTS - Sales 2007 - July

Commodore back on top

Lion roars again: Commodore was Australia's most popular new car in July.

July VFACTS: Big is better as the effects of petrol price shock begin to wane

3 Aug 2007

LARGE car sales made something of a recovery last month as the Holden Commodore regained its position as Australia’s top-selling car ahead of the Toyota Corolla.

Another record month of vehicle sales – 11.3 per cent ahead of the same month last year – has shown that the local market is continuing to run at breakneck pace while the breakdown suggests that consumers are beginning to come to terms with high petrol prices.

According to the official VFACTS figures for July, released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today, 86,291 vehicles were sold in Australia last month - 8729 more than last July.

Though some 18,806 sales down on June’s all-time record month (the end of the financial year is generally a bonanza for dealers), the FCAI said that on seasonally-adjusted figures July was actually 4.5 per cent better than the previous month.

The July result keeps the market well on track to crack the one million mark for the calendar year, with the FCAI now predicting a total of 1,053,000.

Holden sold 5134 VE Commodores (plus 983 old-model Utes in the run-up to the VE-based version arriving in October), which was only 454 fewer than in June, representing a drop of 8.1 per cent in a market that was down by 17.9 per cent.

In only the new Corolla’s second full month on sale, the small car leader had a comparatively quiet month with 4460 sales, some 1430 fewer than its extraordinary June result, a drop of 24.3 per cent and much worse than the industry average.

Ford enjoyed a relatively good month with Falcon, posting 3186 sales (plus 1176 utes), which was only 20 units short of the previous month’s total. It kept Falcon sedan on the sales podium, still just ahead of the Mazda3.

Falcon sales are still a long way from previous years, but in a month when Ford Australia took a lot of flak over the decision to close its engine plant, the result would have given the folk at Broadmeadows something to smile about.

Despite the Corolla result and also a big drop for HiLux (down from 4249 in June to 3300 in July), Toyota continued to dominate the market, maintaining a share of 22.2 per cent with 19,047 sales in July for a total of 135,570 for the year.

This gives Toyota a lead for the year of some 47,108 vehicles over Holden (14.5 per cent) with Ford (10.4 per cent) a further 25,155 back in third place.

While the large car segment was one of the best growth areas for the month, Aurion sales slipped from its best-ever 2626 in June to 1925 in July while Camry similarly fell from 2645 to 1990.

106 center imageFrom top: Corolla, Falcon, CR-V and HiLux (bottom).

Mazda was again the top-selling import-only brand, with the Mazda3 small car again accounting for almost half the company’s total (2909 out of 6456). Sales for the month were 24.3 per cent ahead of the same month last year, which pretty much reflects Mazda’s performance all year (up 20.8 per cent year-to-date).

The only bad news for Mazda was a 26.8 per cent drop for the mid-size Mazda6 over the same month last year and continuing poor results for its sports cars (MX-5 down 24.1 per cent and RX-8 down 46.8 per cent compared to last July).

Mitsubishi had a reasonable month with the 380, but still fell 51 sales short of 1000 for the month and, along with Nissan, dropped a little ground overall in July. Honda leapfrogged both Mitsubishi and Nissan to be fourth for the month, but their overall positions for the year were unchanged.

Honda’s star performer was the CR-V with 1233 sales for the month to score a rare victory over the Toyota RAV4 by 64 units in the growing compact SUV segment.

Hyundai, Subaru and Volkswagen continue to round out the top ten.

FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said that family car buyers had made their presence felt in July, with growth in the medium and large car segments as well as compact SUVs.

“In 2006 the dynamics of the automotive market were dominated by small and light car sales, but this year the sales action has been more broadly based – and the July results reinforce that trend,” said Mr McKellar.

Large car sales rose by 1945 vehicles (18.6 per cent) compared to the same month last year, medium car sales increased by 1323 (21.7 per cent) and SUV compact sales were up 1468 (23.7 per cent).

By comparison, the largest single segment of the motor vehicle market – small cars – rose by only 396 vehicles (3.9 per cent) in July.

So far this year the market total of 610,667 vehicles is running 8.9 per cent ahead of the same period in 2006.

Mr McKellar, however, sounded a note of caution about emerging economic challenges in coming months and warned the Reserve Bank against an increase in interest rates.

“While the overall strength of the market in July is a tremendous result and we are on track for record annual sales, we shouldn’t take the strength of the motor vehicle market for granted,” he said.

“In particular, there is nothing in these sales figures that in any way supports the case for an interest rate increase in the coming months.

“There is no evidence of excess demand in the motor vehicle market. Supply has responded strongly to meet consumer demand, competition is intense and vehicle affordability is at record levels.”
Top ten makes (July):
1 Toyota 19,047
2 Holden12,343
3 Ford9006
4 Mazda6456
5 Honda5632
6 Mitsubishi 5308
7 Nissan4597
8 Hyundai 4005
9 Subaru 3007
10 Volkswagen 2383

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