Ja­pan holds on in car wars

But Korea puts up a fight, writes Neil McDon­ald

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

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.

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