Japan holds on in car wars
But Korea puts up a fight, writes Neil McDonald
THE battle for sales supremacy between Japan and South Korea is hotting up. With Toyota heading towards another year as the country’s No. 1 seller, the battleground has switched to the midfielders, according to the latest VFACTS sales figures.
Mazda clawed back its No. 4 sales spot last month, edging out Hyundai by only 80 cars. The Japanese importer sold 6805 vehicles, its best April tally.
But April was also Hyundai’s best result since the factory established the wholly owned Hyundai Motor Co Australia. It has also recorded its 16th consecutive month of month-onmonth sales growth.
Both importers are almost neck and neck in overall sales and each has an equal market share of 8.4 per cent.
However, the South Korean’s growing momentum is expected to drive some tough competition for the rest of the year.
Later this month it will launch the i45 mid-size sedan and another budget hatch, the i20.
Both companies’ popular light and small cars are driving sales.
The Getz and i30 and Mazda2 and 3 have a big chunk of the light and small-car market, but Toyota’s Yaris and Corolla are not out of the picture.
Hyundai sold 2192 Getzes last month to Toyota’s 1799 Yarises, and the Mazda2’s tally of 1115 was on the back of runouts of the old model. The Mazda3 continues to be the country’s most popular small car.
The company sold 3079 last month against 2829 Toyota Corollas. Hyundai’s i30 delivered 2483 sales.
Holden’s Cruze sedan is a rising star with 2514 sold last month.
All passenger-car segments are experiencing strong sales.
Apart from light and small cars, the off-roader segment is a strong performer, rising 35 per cent this year.
The Subaru Forester leads the compact off-roader pack, and the Toyota Prado is the clear leader in the medium segment. The BMW X5 tops the luxury segment.
The year-to-date market of 333,228 vehicles is running ahead of the same period last year by 20.3 per cent, or 56,293 vehicles.
Small and popular: the Mazda3 last month helped the company regain the No. 4 sales spot from Hyundai.