March up for ute muster

Small car suc­cesses aside, the lat­est sales bul­letin is dom­i­nated by work­ing men’s mates

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Market Forces -

MAZDA con­tin­ues to sell all the 3s it can ac­cess and the ri­val Cruze is creep­ing up the charts, but utes are im­pact­ing pow­er­fully on the top 10.

Sales fig­ures for March, re­leased this week by the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, show 93,984 new ve­hi­cles found own­ers, marginally down on the same pe­riod last year.

While sales in all seg­ments went frac­tion­ally south, save for com­pact and lux­ury SUVs, those blue-sin­glet favourites— Toy­ota’s HiLux (bot­tom right), Nis­san’s Navara and Mit­subishi’s Tri­ton— all lifted no­tably. HiLux, a top 10 reg­u­lar, was sec­ond over­all, be­hind Holden’s Com­modore (right), with the Mazda3 third.

Even so, it was a record March for the Mazda3, which again out­sold the Corolla, this time by al­most 1000 units— es­pe­cially im­pres­sive when you con­sider not a sin­gle 3 goes to fleets. But, as we pre­dicted last week, a long over­due chal­lenger is emerg­ing for the hearts and wal­lets of Aus­tralia’s pri­vate buy­ers. Holden’s Cruze, now built lo­cally, is com­ing on strong in fifth place and it’s hard not to see the gap clos­ing as the year pro­gresses and the re­cently pre­viewed Cruze hatch fleshes out the sedan-only range in the third quar­ter.

Toy­ota con­tin­ued in the top spot with 18,466 sales, ahead of Holden with 10,816 and Ford third with 8698. With a mar­ket share of 19.3 per cent, al­most ev­ery fifth ve­hi­cle sold in this coun­try is a Toy­ota.

In year-to-date terms, Toy­ota is fol­lowed by Holden, Mazda, Ford, Hyundai and Nis­san.

Paul Pottinger

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