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News - VFACTS - Sales 2008 - September

September VFACTS: Market stays its course

Big, seller: Toyota has sold almost 8500 LandCruiser wagons so far this year.

Australia's September new-car sales are up on August, but the results are patchy

6 Oct 2008

AUSTRALIA'S new-car sales results in September depict the car industry’s arrival at the final quarter of the year like an exhausted marathon runner staggering towards the finish line ribbon.

If annual sales do make a record in 2008, it will be by the narrowest of margins, the industry clearly lacking the strength it had during the first half of the year.

The industry is heading towards an annual result of 1.04 million as it enters the final quarter, and is running ahead of the 2007 year-to-date (YTD) figure, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), by the slimmest of margins - 0.3 per cent.

Year-to-date results

Year-to-date sales to September of 784,932 vehicles is 2570 ahead of the same period in 2007.

Of the top ten vehicle manufacturers in market share YTD, Toyota, Mazda, Subaru and Volkswagen have increased share while Holden, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai have reduced market share when compared to the same period last year.

Toyota has continued its strong sales lead into September with YTD sales at the end of the month of 183,806 units (representing a 23.4 per cent market share), leading Holden with 99,600 units (12.7 per cent share) and Ford with 81,416 units (10.4 per cent).

Mazda is next at 62,202 (7.9 per cent market share), then Mitsubishi at 47,884 units (6.1 per cent) Nissan at 45,635 units (5.8 per cent), Honda at 41,243 units (5.3 per cent), Hyundai at 34,923 units (4.4 per cent), Subaru at 29,905 units (3.8 per cent) and Volkswagen rounding off the top ten with 24,019 units (3.1 per cent.)The sales segments have not been consistent in performance and map changing buyer’s tastes and current economic conditions.

Despite the passenger car market declining by 15,694 units (3.3 per cent) YTD, the SUV segment is up by 7,331 vehicles (5.0 per cent), the light trucks are up 10,154 vehicles (7.7 per cent) and heavy trucks are up by 779 units or 3.0 per cent.

The only passenger segments to show YTD sales growth were small cars, (up 3690 or 2.1 per cent) and light cars (up 2900 or 3.1 per cent).

Of those to fall in YTD figures, large cars are down 15,870 (-14.9 per cent) the upper large car segment is down 2558 (-35.7 per cent) the people-mover segment is down 2429 (-19.6 per cent) the medium car segment is down 1051 (-1.5 per cent) and the sports car segment is down 376 (-2.7 per cent).

Except for the compact SUV segment, down 989 (-1.5 per cent), SUV sales were relatively strong, with the SUV medium segment up 5138 (9.4 per cent) the SUV large segment up 2,872 (30.9 per cent) and the SUV luxury segment up 310 (2.1 per cent).

Thanks to growth in all but the 2.5-tonne trucks (down 128 vehicles, or -12.1 per cent) light trucks at 142,828 units is 10,154 vehicles (7.7 per cent) ahead of the same period last year.

Monthly results

Despite a cooling of sales (80,938 - down 2551 vehicle sales or 3.1 per cent on September 2007’s 83,489 vehicles), the numbers are a slight improvement on August’s sharp downturn. September was up 3614 or 4.7 per cent on August’s 77,324 vehicle sales.

The monthly winners in passenger car segments - by the barest of margins - were the small car segment, up 731 vehicle sales (4.1 per cent) and the medium segment, up 74 vehicle sales (1.0 percent).

The rest of the passenger cars took a dive in September, with large cars down 1310 sales (-11.8 per cent), and the full impact of the LCT hitting the upper large cars, down 412 vehicle sales (-50.9 per cent), and the sports car segment also feeling the LCT hangover with sales down 169 units (-11.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, ripples of consumer confidence anxiety showed in the light car segment, (down 124 units, or -1.2 per cent) and the people-mover segment, down 122 vehicle sales or -10.1 per cent.

The September results for SUVs look decidedly ill compared to SUV's YTD performance (up 7331 sales or 5.5 per cent). SUV sales are down 1420 (-10.5 per cent) for the month, while light trucks were up 559 units (4.0 per cent) and heavy trucks were down 104 units or 3.2 per cent.

Light cars

Light cars accounted for 12.4 per cent of the market in September, or 10,027 vehicles - down 1.2 per cent over the same month last year. The Toyota Yaris was the most popular light car under $25,000 for September, with 1687 units, followed by the Mazda2 with 1532 units and third place went to the Suzuki Swift with 1100 units.

106 center imageLeft: Audi A4 and Peugeot 207 (below).

Next up was the Hyundai Getz with 1070 cars sold, followed by the Honda Jazz with 1069 sales - a transition month for Jazz, as the new model arrived. The Kia Rio sold 917 units, the Holden Barina 723 units, the Nissan Micra 454 units and the Ford Fiesta and Mitsubishi Colt tied for ninth position with 381 units each. Volkswagen’s Polo finished up the top ten light cars with 258 sales.

In YTD sales figures, the Toyota Yaris took 19,716 sales (17.3 per cent), ahead of Hyundai Getz at 13,125 sales (13.8 per cent) and Mazda2 at 11,953 sales (12.6 per cent).

Of the light cars over $25,000 sub-segment, the Peugeot took more than half the sales with 152 examples sold, followed by the Fiat 500 with 61 units sold.

Small cars

At 3964 sales and a 22.0 per cent share for the month, it appears that the Corolla can do no wrong. The Toyota’s closest competitor was the Mazda3, with 3241 sales, and the small segment sees a sharp drop in numbers from there, with the Mitsubishi Lancer a distant third with 1404 sales.

Then it was the Holden Astra, with 1292 sold, the Ford Focus at 1165 sales and Subaru’s Impreza with 1111 units sold. Despite plenty of press for a new Golf VI waiting in the wings, the existing Volkswagen Golf V sold well with 988 units for September - up 22.0 per cent on the same month last year. The Golf was followed by the Honda Civic (959), the Nissan Tiida (854) and the Hyundai i30 (769).

In YTD sales, the Corolla with 36,758 sales (21.3 per cent) is a clear sales leader in the segment over the Mazda3 at 26,231 sales (15.2 per cent) and rounding out the top three YTD is the Mitsubishi Lancer with 14,701 sales (8.5 per cent).

In the small car over $40,000 sub-segment, the Mini Cooper took 146 sales, the Audi A3 125 sales and the BMW 1 Series 102 sales.

Medium cars

In the medium cars under $60,000, the Toyota Camry (four-cylinder) practically owns the medium segment, with 2114 sales or 36.4 per cent share - though it is down 2.7 per cent over the same month last year (and down 11.3 per cent YTD).

The next best selling-car is the Mazda6, with 909 sales (down 0.9 per cent over last year), the Honda Accord Euro with 576 sales (down 16.2 per cent over last year, despite being a fresh model), the Subaru Liberty with 505 sales and the Ford Mondeo with 441 sales.

For medium cars over $60,000, the Mercedes-Benz C-class lead strongly with 560 sales (32.8 per cent for the month) followed by the Lexus IS250 with 361 sales (21.1 per cent), the Audi A4 with 360 sales (21.1 per cent) and the BMW 3 series with 305 sales (17.8 per cent).

Large cars

Of the large cars under $70,000, the Holden Commodore still leads with 4462 sales for September, down 1.6 per cent on the same period last year. Holden says Commodore sales have been buoyed by the recently introduced Sportwagon, which accounted for 1448 of the total. Commodore is tracking at 37,505 units for the year to date, which is 16.0 per cent down on the same period last year.

The segment’s second-best seller was the Falcon, with 3123 sales, up 9.5 per cent on the same month last year but with 24.060 YTD, it’s 5.9 per cent down on last year.

Third place-getter was the Toyotas Aurion with 1240 sales (13.1 per cent) and 15,091 YTD (17.4 per cent) followed by the Honda Accord with 556 sales (5.9 per cent) and 6144 YTD (7.1 per cent).

The BMW 5 Series took the large cars over $70,000 segment, with 105 sales (30.5 per cent), followed by the Mercedes-Benz E-class with 72 sales (20.9 per cent), the new Jaguar XF with 44 sales(12.8 per cent) and the Audi A6 at 38 sales (11.0 per cent).

All cars in the large cars above $70,00 are posting negative growth for both the month and the year, except for the new Jaguar XF in its first few months on sale and the Lexus GS, which is up 61 per cent for the month, but down 7.3 per cent for the year to date.

Upper large cars

The runaway leader of the upper large cars under $100,000 segment - for which there are only six entries - was the Holden Statesman, with 187 sales (54.7 per cent) and tracking for year dominance with 1566 sales YTD (40.1 per cent).

While second-placed Holden Caprice had a slow month with 89 sales (down a massive 56.2 per cent) the Caprice is still doing well in YTD sales, with 1283 units (32.9 per cent), following just behind the Statesman.

In third was the Chrysler 300C, with 63 sales (18.4 per cent) and 957 (24.5 per cent) for the year to date.

The upper large car segment above $100,000 all posted results in the negative except for Lexus LS, up 11.6 per cent, and Rolls-Royce, up 36.4 per cent this year with 15 cars sold.

The segment leader is the Mercedes-Benz S-class with 16 cars (28.6 per cent) followed by the BMW 7 series with 15 cars (26.8 per cent) and the Lexus LS with 10 cars (17.9 per cent).

In YTD figures, the S-class leads with 247 sales (34.8 per cent), the Lexus LS has 154 units (21.7 per cent) and the BMW 7 Series 126 sales (17.7 per cent).


People-mover sales under $55,000 were all in the negative with a few exceptions. The Renault Grand Scenic’s September figures were up 100 per cent, largely because of a sales incentive and from a small base of just nine sales last year to 18 for this September. Mitsubishi Grandis and Toyota Avensis also posted small gains for the month.

With 278 sales (27.3 per cent) the Toyota Tarago took the lead for September, ahead of the Kia Carnival with 266 sales (26.1 per cent) and Honda Odyssey with 126 sales (12.4 per cent).

In YTD figures, the Kia Carnival leads with 2491 sales (26.7 per cent) just ahead of Toyota Tarago with 2427 sales (26.1 per cent)With just five players in the people-movers over $55,000 segment, it was led by Chrysler Voyager with 39 sales (57.4 per cent) followed by Volkswagen Multivan with 20 sales (29.4 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz Viano and Vito with four sales each (5.9 per cent each) and last of all the Volkswagen Kombi Beach with one sale (1.5 per cent). In YTD terms, the Voyager is first (247 sales, 37.0 per cent) and Volkswagen Multivan second (219 sales, 32.8 per cent).

Sports cars

The new BMW 1 Series Coupe and Convertible took a strong 245 sales (28.5 per cent) followed by the Volkswagen Eos (125 sales, 14.5 per cent) and the Holden Astra Convertible (89 sales, 10.3 per cent). YTD, the Volkswagen Eos has a comfortable lead with 1531 sales (21.6 per cent) followed by the BMW 1 Series Coupe and Convertible at 965 sales (13.6 per cent) and the Holden Astra Convertible (736 sales, 10.4 per cent).

In sports cars above $80,000, the BMW 3 Series Coupe-Convertible took 140 sales and 36.1 per cent (YTD: 2121 sales and 41.7 per cent), followed by the Audi TT with 68 sales and 17.5 per cent (YTD: 806 sales and 15.8 per cent) and the Mercedes-Benz CLK-cass with YTD figures of 635 (12.5 per cent) but 77 sales (13.5 per cent) for the month.

The Porsche 911 took the lead with 43 sales (38.7 per cent) for the month in sports cars above $200,000, followed by the Mercedes-Benz SL-cass with 16 sales (14.4 per cent) and Maserati with 10 sales (9.0 per cent). In YTD figures, it’s the Porsche 911 by a long margin with 318 sales (26.4 per cent), Maserati with 172 sales (14.3 per cent) and Ferrari with 132 sales (11.0 percent)

Compact SUVs

The compacts may be down overall (11.8 per cent for the month, and 1.5 per cent YTD) but it was a great month for the Subaru Forester, with 1162 sold (18.5 per cent) making it the most popular SUV sold for the month.

The Toyota RAV4 took second place with 961 sales (15.3 per cent), followed by the Nissan X-Trail (793 sales,12.6 per cent), Honda CR-V (682 sales,10.8 per cent). YTD sales go to the Subaru Forester (10,832 sales, 16.4 per cent), Toyota RAV4 (10,681 sales 16.1 per cent), Honda CR-V (8056 sales 12.2 per cent) and Nissan X-Trail (7,360 sales, 11.1 per cent).

Medium SUVs

The Toyota Prado led the medium segment with 1044 sales (18.7 per cent), followed by the Ford Territory with 933 sales (16.7 per cent), the Toyota Kluger with 879 sales (15.7 per cent), Holden Captiva with 818 sales (14.6 per cent) and Mitsubishi Pajero with 443 (7.9 per cent). While the Prado posted a 7.4 per cent improvement for the month, all other medium SUVs mentioned had a negative growth for the month.

In YTD figures, the Toyota Prado leads (11,501 sales, 19.3 per cent) the Toyota Kluger (10,287 sales, 17.3 per cent), Ford Territory (10,221 sales, 17.2 per cent, Holden Captiva (7834 sales, 13.2 per cent) and Mitsubishi Pajero (4474 sales, 7.5 per cent).

Large SUVs

Toyota's LandCruiser 200 Series is still selling well with 676 sales for September (for 66.6 percent share), followed by the Nissan Patrol wagon (317 sales, 31.2 percent) and Jeep Commander 22 sales, 2.2 per cent). The LandCruiser had nearly double the sales the outgoing model achieved last September, while the evergreen Patrol is down 5.5 per cent for the month and the Commander is up 22 per cent.

In YTD figures, the LandCruiser 200 is king, with 8407 sales (69.1 per cent), followed by the Nissan Patrol wagon with 3532 sales (29.0 per cent) and the Jeep Commander with 229 sales 1.9 percent. LandCruiser 200 sales are up 53.0 percent, the Patrol wagon 2.0 per cent while the Commander is down 31.4 per cent.

Luxury SUVs

The BMW X5 continues its strong hold on the luxury SUV segment, with 246 sales (18.9 per cent) and the Lexus RX 350 following with 203 sales (15.6 per cent) and the Land Rover Discovery in third with 129 sales (9.9 per cent). The Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz M-class each took 105 sales (8.0 per cent each) and the Volvo XC90 sold 101 (7.7 per cent).

The luxury SUV market is down 23.1 per cent for the month, with only the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg showing positive growth for the month (31.3 and 57.8 per cent respectively).

In YTD sales, the BMW X5 has taken centre stage with 2864 sales (19.1 per cent) with the Lexus RX at 1910 (12.7 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz M-class third with 1361 sales (9.1 per cent).

Lights buses

The Toyota HiAce Bus continues its firm grip on this small segment, with 261 sales (90.3 per cent) - well ahead of the Ford Transit Bus with 28 sales (9.7 per cent). In YTD figures, the HiAce is sitting on 2575 sales (94.5 per cent) and the Transit has 150 sales (5.5 per cent).

The segment is up for the month and YTD by 73.1 per cent and 47.1 per cent respectively, wholly due to the HiAce (Transit is down 37.8 per cent for the month and 16.7 per cent YTD).


The Toyota Hiace Van held the lead in September with 726 sales (34.6 per cent) ahead of the Mitsubishi Express 260 (sales, 12.4 per cent), while the Ford Transit just held off Hyundai’s new iLoad with 226 sales and 10.8 per cent over the iLoad's2 25 sales and 10.7 per cent.

As for YTD sales, the HiAce Van is well ahead of the rest with 7753 sales (40.1 per cent share), with the nearest competitor (Mitsubishi Express) not even reaching half the numbers with 2742 sales and 14.2 per cent.

Pick-Up/Cab-Chassis 4x2

Toyota again shows its commercial might with the HiLux 4x2 the top-selling 4x2 ute with 1179 sales (21.0 per cent), just 30 units ahead of the Ford FG Falcon Ute with 1149 sales (20.4 per cent), with third place going to the Holden VE Ute with 914 sales (16.3 percent) and fourth to the Ford Ranger 4x2 with 653 sales and a11.6 market share.

In YTD figures the HiLux is again leader by a fair margin with 13,211 sales (23.6 per cent), followed by the Falcon Ute with 9995 sales (17.9 per cent) and the Holden Ute with 9946 sales (17.8 per cent)

Pick-Up/Cab-Chassis 4x4

The Toyota HiLux took a third of all 4x4 Ute sales in September with 2185 sales and 33.2 per cent (YTD: 19,253 sales and 30.1 per cent), with the Nissan Navara 4x4 a distant second place with 1175 sales and a 17.9 per cent share for the month (YTD: 12,656 sales and 19.8 per cent).

The end of the Holden Rodeo nameplate hasn’t unduly affected sales of its replacement, the Colorado, with Colorado 4x4 sales taking third position at 656 for the month (10.0 per cent). The outgoing Rodeo sold 107 units (1.6 per cent) and for the last time holds onto fourth position in YTD figures (6136 sales, 9.6 per cent).

Fourth in monthly figures is the Mitsubishi Triton 4x4, with 623 sales (9.5 per cent), which still places it third behind the Navara (7173 sales, 11.2 per cent) in YTD terms.

Top 10 brands in September

Toyota 18,165 - 22.4%
Holden 10,631 - 13.1%
Ford 8880 - 11.0%
Mazda 7371 - 9.1%
Mitsubishi 4340 - 5.4%
Nissan 4649 - 5.7%
Honda 3987 - 4.9%
Hyundai 3113 - 3.8%
Subaru 3160 - 3.9%
Volkswagen 2504 - 3.1%

Read more:

First drive: Toyota's LandCruiser comes of age

First drive: Audi launches A4-midable challenger

Peugeot slinks in with 207 GTi

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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