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August VFACTS: Car sales on record pace

Hot August: Toyota’s HiLux is now breathing down the neck of the Mazda3 in the race for the 2012 sales crown.

Aussies miss out as imports drive vehicle sales to new heights in August

5 Sep 2012

MOTOR vehicle sales soared to an August record 93,552 units in Australia last month – up 6.2 per cent on the same month last year – but the gains were enjoyed almost entirely by imported vehicles.

Official VFACTS sales figures released today show the three local manufacturers – Toyota, Holden and Ford – registered just 11,927 locally made vehicles, compared with 14,421 in August last year.

This represents a drop of 17.3 per cent year on year, and equates to a historic low 12.7 per cent share of the Australian market, compared with 16.3 per cent in August last year.

Only Toyota’s new Camry managed to make headway – up from 1607 vehicles in August last year to 2130 last month, becoming one of 10 Toyota-branded vehicles to top their segment.

A contributing factor to the decline of locally made vehicles last month was a 22.5 per cent downturn in vehicle purchases by governments, which sometimes – but not always – favour Australian-made products.

The terminal slide of traditional large Australian sedans continued, down 25.4 per cent in August this year.

106 center imageFrom top: Mazda3 Holden Commodore, Cruze Toyota Camry Nissan Dualis Honda Civic.

The one-time king of the road in Australia, the Holden Commodore, lost more than 1200 units, down 34 per cent to 2435 vehicles, despite a Holden-wide one-week 0.5 per cent finance sales blitz in August.

Holden’s other local contender, the Cruze small car, also slipped a notch, down 18.7 per cent, to 2628 units year on year.

However, Holden’s Korean-made imports helped to make up lost ground, with Barina, Captiva and Colorado all making significant sales gains to lift Holden’s overall sales to a satisfactory 11,271 units – down 2.3 per cent on August 2011.

This gave Holden second place on the sales charts behind perennial leader Toyota, whose sales rose 13.3 per cent to 17,996 units, providing a 19.2 per cent market share.

The Toyota sales gain came mainly on the back of the HiLux ute, which was the top-selling vehicle in the country for the fifth consecutive month, notching up 4010 sales.

The Thai-built HiLux is fast catching up with the year-to-date leader, the Mazda3 small car, which is now clinging to a lead of only a few hundred units over the Toyota, 28,158 to 27,585, in the race for the 2012 crown.

Mazda3 sales took a 29.4 per cent hit last month, falling to 2990 units and sending the leading Japanese importer tumbling 15.9 per cent to 7685 units and an uncharacteristic fifth place on the sales ladder, behind Ford and Hyundai.

However, the figures are not as bad as they might appear, as Mazda had an exceptional August last year. Last month’s Mazda tally still represented its second best August on record, and it is still running at record pace this year, up 13.1 per cent YTD.

Ford managed to get back on the podium for the first time this year, despite a 6.5 per cent decline in August sales.

The Blue Oval brand reported 7795 sales – down from 8341 in the same month last year – to come third by a whisker against Hyundai, which sold 7732 vehicles, up 4.2 per cent.

Nissan’s purple patch continues, with sales up another 16.1 per cent, to 6487 units, driven by a big performance from its Navara ute (2017 vehicles) and Dualis small SUV (1316).

Sales of the Dualis, which crosses over between the burgeoning small-car segment and compact SUV, more than doubled for the month, and are running 50 per cent ahead of last year to the end of August.

This, in line with the 61 per cent growth in small SUV sales this year, makes this segment by far the fastest growing class.

In fact, small SUVs last month outsold large cars – 5266 to 5228 – underlining the seismic shift in buyer tastes.

Although Mitsubishi has been able to take part in the SUV boom with its ASX, Outlander and Pajero, its 2012 struggle continues, with August sales down 16 per cent, to 4075 units.

Mitsubishi was again outsold by the fast-rising Volkswagen, which achieved 4344 sales, up 13.9 per cent, taking seventh place in the monthly sales rankings.

Honda, which was beset by stock availability problems in August last year, reported a whopping 88.8 per cent sales increase (3842) as the company’s Civic small car hit its straps.

Other notable increases among the smaller players were recorded by the American partners, Chrysler and Jeep, which reported respective gains of 825 per cent (to 185 units) and 94.9 per cent (to 1608 units) last month.

The new-vehicle market is still on track for a possible record sales year, with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries estimating a 1.09 million market at current pace.

So far, the industry has sold 728,047 vehicles, a 9.4 per cent increase (62,738 vehicles) on the first eight months of 2011.

VFACTS August 2012:
BrandSalesShare %Movement %

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