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VFACTS: Mazda3 topples Holden Commodore

Now number two: The Holden Commodore's long-time dominance of the Australian market was ended in 2011 by the Mazda3.

Aussie large car reign ends as small cars rule the roost in 2011 sales

5 Jan 2012

THE 15-year reign of the Holden Commodore has officially come to an end, with the imported Mazda3 eclipsing the local hero as the Australian automotive market slipped 2.7 per cent in 2011, according to official VFACTS sales figures released today.

The collective Australian motor companies only just achieved another million-unit market, selling 1,008,437 cars and trucks – down 27,137 units on 2010’s 1,035,574 – as they were dragged down by a poorer than expected December when sales volumes fell 4.8 per cent on the same month last year, to 82,459 vehicles.

It was the fourth year in five that the market has topped the million, but short of 2007’s record 1,049,982 sales.

Traditional locally made cars bore the brunt of the downturn, with the Ford Falcon in particular struggling in its run-out year, slumping 36.5 per cent to just 18,741 sales for the 12 months to record its poorest sales in more than 50 years on the market.

Beset by parts shortages because of the Japanese earthquake in March and local industrial unrest, Toyota’s Camry also failed to achieve 20,000 sales, diving 23.4 per cent to 19,169 units and eighth place on the best-seller rankings, one ahead of the Falcon.

Although Holden’s Commodore managed to out-sell the Falcon and Camry combined, with 40,617 sales in 2011, this represented a 11.6 per cent fall on its performance in 2010.

This dip, plus a 6.2 per cent gain in sales by the popular Mazda3, was all it required for the Commodore to lose its crown as Australia’s best selling car.

In the end, the Mazda small car eclipsed to the Commodore by 812 units – 41,429 to 40,617 – as Mazda powered to a company record 88,333 sales in 2011, up 4.2 per cent.

It was the first time in memory that an import had topped the sales charts, with Holden and Ford large cars dominating since the arrival of the 1948 FX.

106 center imageFrom top: Toyota HiLux, Toyota Corolla, Ford Territory and Ford Falcon.

But it will be interesting to see if Holden can claw back the number-one mantle in 2012, not with Commodore but with the only locally assembled passenger car to make ground last year, the Cruze small car.

Cruze sales jumped 33.7 per cent in December as the new Australian-designed hatch came on stream, lifting its annual sales to 33,784 units – a gain of 19.2 per cent over the year.

Despite massive stock shortages caused by a string of disasters that led to a 15.4 per cent decline in local Toyota volumes in 2011, the long-time comfortably retained its number-one status in the industry with 181,624 sales – similar to its 2003 level - and an 18 per cent market share.

However, this was the first time in eight years that the Japanese-based company has failed to crack the 200,000 mark, and a major reason why the Australian industry lost ground in 2011.

Toyota still managed to have two of its imported products in the top four sellers of 2011, with the evergreen HiLux ute coming its at number three on 36,124 sales (down 9.4 per cent) and the Corolla just behind in fourth place on 36,087 vehicles (down 13.3 per cent).

The Nissan Navara ute continues to gain in popularity, up 2.3 per cent year on year, to 21,675 sales and a laudable eight place in the best-seller rankings.

Seven of the top ten sellers recorded to declines, with Hyundai’s i30 among them. Sales of the South Korean-built small car slipped 3.0 per cent to 28,869 vehicles for the 12 months, placing it seventh.

However, Hyundai continued on regardless, with an overall sales gain of 8.7 per cent in another record performance to snatch 87,008 sales and 8.6 per cent share.

The demise of the ageing Getz cost Hyundai its light car dominance in 2011, with Mazda’s Mazda2 coming home with a wet sail with an 18.3 per cent sales increase to top the segment with 17,501 sales, just ahead of Toyota’s new Yaris (16,214).

Australia’s biggest car segment, small cars, manager to eke out another gain, up just 0.9 per cent, led by the Mazda3 (41,429), Toyota Corolla (36,087) and Holden Cruze (33,784).

Toyota sold more than half of all medium cars in Australia in 2011, thanks to its Camry (19,169), even though the locally made midsizer was on its knees due to stock shortages and ageing line-up ahead of the all-new model launched too late in December to affect 2011 tallies.

Likewise, Holden sold more than 50 per cent of large cars with its Commodore achieving 40,617 sales – 55. 4 per cent – but in a segment that continues to evaporate, down 21.7 per cent in 2011.

The bleeding might be stemmed somewhat in 2012 with the arrival of Ford’s facelifted Falcon with the EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and Toyota’s new Aurion.

Ford had some positive news in the SUV market, with its refreshed Territory topping the medium SUV segment with 13,866 sales, although if Holden’s Captiva 7 and Captiva 5 are combined, it emerges with the bragging rights, with 15,021 sales.

In one of the hardest-fought segments in the market place, Subaru’s reigning champion of the compact SUVs, the Forester, just held off Toyota’s RAV4, 13,142 to 13,125.

The compact SUV segment continues to be one of the fastest growing areas of the market, up 5.8 per cent over 2010.

In the battle of the prestige brands, BMW managed to hold sway over traditional rival Mercedes-Benz, 17,508 to 16,870 in passenger car and SUV sales, although its light commercials are counted, Mercedes gets the honours with 21,180.

For the first time, up and coming Audi outsold BMW in passenger cars – 10,367 to 10,026 – but could not match BMW’s sales power in SUVs – 4144 to 7482.

VFACTS sales 2011:
BrandSales&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Movement%Share%
Top-selling vehicles in 2011:
BrandSales&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Movement%
Mazda Mazda341,429+6.2
Holden Commodore40,617-11.6
Toyota HiLux36,124-9.4
Toyota Corolla36,097-13.3
Holden Cruze33,784+19.2
Hyundai i3028,869-3.0
Nissan Navara21,675+2.3
Toyota Camry19,169-23.4
Ford Falcon18,741-36.5
Mitsubishi Lancer18,717-18.9

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