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VFACTS: Toyota dips to 10-year low

January chill: Toyota’s Camry ran out of steam in January after a hot sales run last year, propelled by a zero per cent finance incentive.

Camry hits sales trough after December feast, dragging down Toyota sales

5 Feb 2013

TOYOTA’S locally made Camry fell off a sales cliff last month after the company withdrew zero per cent finance sales incentives at the end of December.

The performance dropped the long-time Australian market leader to its lowest January sales tally in a decade, even though the overall industry sold a January record 85,430 vehicles last month, up 11.3 per cent.

While the Japanese company comfortably retained its overall sales lead with 13,375 sales, its Camry could manage just 557 sales for the month – a dramatic 3029 fewer than in December, according to official VFACTS sales figures released today.

The Camry even lost its medium-car segment lead to the rival Mazda6 for the first time since July 2006, when a switch to an all-new model had left Toyota short of stock.

Last month, Camry was also in short supply after strong demand over the previous few months cleaned out stocks. With the annual factory summer shutdown closing the supply line, dealers were left high and dry of many popular variants.

But customers were also in short supply in January, with most Camry buyers getting in for their chop before the favourable finance rates disappeared on December 31.

106 center imageFrom top: Mazda6 Mazda3 Ford Focus Toyota Corolla.

Nevertheless, Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor remained buoyant, saying he expected sales to pick up quickly with the arrival of the new RAV4 this month and replenished stocks of other models.

“We expect arrivals of in-demand Toyota models to improve during February and March, enabling us to record another year in excess of 200,000 sales,” he said.

Toyota’s January loss was Mazda’s gain, with the leading importer not only shifting 750 new-generation Mazda6 sedans and wagons in the car’s first month in the showroom but also ousting Holden from second place on the sales ladder. The Japanese brand twice beat Holden last year.

Mazda sold a January record 8912 vehicles, up 5.1 per cent on the corresponding month last year and 101 more than Holden, whose 8811 units represented a 2.8 per cent decline.

Mazda’s top-selling Mazda3 small car continued on its merry way in January, topping the charts with 3345 sales, ahead of Toyota’s new Corolla (2860) and HiLux ute (2747).

One of the biggest improvers in January was fourth-placed Ford, which lifted sales by 32.3 per cent to 7721 vehicles, largely as a result of a retail push on the Focus small car.

The Thai-built Focus achieved 2364 sales – up a whopping 50 per cent on the previous January when the car was impacted by the devastating floods in Thailand.

The Fiesta and Ranger 4x4 ute also enjoyed big sales hikes for the same reason, up 43.6 and 208 per cent respectively.

But Ford’s news on the local car manufacturing front was mixed, with a 44.4 per cent sales gain by Territory (1161 vehicles) offset by a 16.4 per cent drop in Falcon volumes (778).

Holden’s rival large car, the Commodore, slipped by an even larger margin, down 23.7 per cent to 1656 vehicles for the month – the first time the South Australian-built car has dipped below 2000 units since it was launched in 1978.

Sales of Australian-made vehicles plummeted 28.4 per cent, at least partly impacted by a big contraction in government fleet sales, down 30 per cent year-on-year.

Holden and the industry in general will be holding its breath with the unveiling of the new VF Commodore in Melbourne this weekend.

While the local manufacturers struggle, importers are making hay, with Nissan sales leaping 35.3 per cent to 7248 units – the most of any month since it gave away local manufacturing in 1991.

Its Navara ute was the fourth-best-selling vehicle in the land last month, helping Nissan to secure fifth place in the manufacturer rankings, ahead of Hyundai.

However, the South Korean importer was pleased with a January record for the company of 6816 units – up 4.7 per cent on January 2012.

Mitsubishi’s new Mirage light car failed to arrest the company’s sales slide, with overall sales down 2.6 per cent to 4449 vehicles for the month.

By contrast, Volkswagen lifted sales by 13.6 per cent with plenty of retail activity in January, moving 3824 vehicles.

This was just enough to keep Honda out of eighth spot, despite a gigantic 141 per cent sales improvement by the Japanese company that, like others dependent on Thai-made vehicles, had suffered a sales slump in the corresponding month last year.

Honda enjoyed triple-digit sales increases by all of its Thai-built vehicles – Civic, CR-V, Accord and Jazz – to record 3816 sales for the month.

Rounding out the top 10 was Subaru, whose 3104 sales represented a 3.2 per cent slip, mainly due to falling sales of its larger vehicles, Liberty, Outback and Tribeca.

However, the new Forester entered showrooms with a 59 per cent gain (1246), and the smaller XV SUV rolled on with a 20 per cent increase (789).

Utes made the biggest gains in January, with sales of the 4x4 variety lifting 63 per cent, again reflecting the recovery of the Thai industry that supplies most of the popular one-tonners in this market.

VFACTS sales January 2013:
Brand Sales Movement % Share %
Toyota 13,375 +4.9 15.7
Mazda 8912 +5.1 10.4
Holden 8811 -2.8 10.3
Ford 7721 +32.3 9.0
Nissan 7248 +35.3 8.5
Hyundai 6816 +4.7 8.0
Mitsubishi 4449 -2.6 5.2
Volkswagen 3824 +13.6 4.5
Honda 3816 +141.6 4.5
Subaru 3104 -3.2 3.6

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