SUVS lead record 2017 market
SUVS are officially more popular than traditional passenger cars, with high-riding wagons finally outselling sedans, wagons and hatchbacks in 2017, according to VFACTS sales figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries last week.
The growth in SUVS helped to drive overall new-vehicle sales to a record 1,189,116 units last year, up 0.9 percent over 2016 and marking the fourth record in five years and the eighth consecutive year of million-plus sales.
For the first time, SUVS led the market with 465,646 sales, equating to a 39.2 percent market share and an increase of 5.6 percent.
Passenger cars continued to slide, down 7.5 percent for the year with 450,012 sales, or a 37.8 percent share.
Despite the country’s love of SUVS, Toyota’s Hilux pick-up retained its place as Australia’s favourite model for a second consecutive year, boosting its overall sales to a record 47,093 units, up 11.8 percent over 2016.
Ford’s locally developed Ranger is now within striking distance of the Hilux after leapfrogging the Toyota Corolla into second place on the bestselling models chart, with the locally developed Ford also notching a record 42,728 units, up 15.7 percent on 2016.
While SUVS recorded significant growth last year, light-commercial vehicles achieved even greater growth, up 8.6 percent for a 19.9 percent share of the overall market.
One-tonne pick-ups made up 88 percent of light-commercial vehicle sales, with 4x4 pick-ups – popular with tradies and, increasingly, families – leading the way with 165,797 sales.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said the fierce competition in the market between car-makers helped push monthly sales to record sales last year.
“Clearly, Australian consumers recognise the value for money that is on offer in the new vehicle market, and responded accordingly,” he said.
“To have eight record months out of 12 in 2017 speaks volumes for how brands successfully placed new products and incentives into the market, which kept attracting buyers into the showrooms right through the year.”
Toyota again took top honours as Australia’s best-selling automotive brand, leading the market with 216,566 sales, a 3.3 percent boost over 2016.
The haul was Toyota’s highest since 2012 and marked the 21st time the company led the new-vehicle market, including the past 15 years in a row.
Corolla was again Australia’s bestselling passenger car, despite a 7.4 percent sales decline last year.
Sales of the Toyota Camry – in its final year as an Australian-built model – dropped by 10.8 percent but Australia’s best-selling mid-size sedan held on to a top 10 spot, finishing ninth.
Mazda came second in the rankings, with the Hiroshima-based car-maker nabbing 116,349 sales, just 1.6 percent ahead of its 2016 registrations.
Its CX-5 retained its title as Australia’s favourite SUV, and finished sixth overall thanks to interest in the new-generation model.
The Mazda3 hatch and sedan dipped nearly 10 percent, but replaced the Hyundai i30 in fourth place.
Hyundai sales slid 4.5 percent, with the 23.8 percent drop for the newgeneration i30 having an impact in the South Korean car-maker’s tally.
Holden held on to fourth spot overall last year, down by 4.2 percent, after finishing the year with a massive December haul of 12,179 units, 57.7 percent ahead of December 2016.
The Commodore was Holden’s best seller, in eighth position, but 2017 marked the end of Australian production before the model becomes an imported mid-size liftback and wagon when it arrives in February.
Mitsubishi continued its strong performance, overtaking Ford to land in fifth place overall, largely on the back of interest in its Triton pick-up that was the 10th best seller overall last year, as well as the ASX and Outlander SUVS.
Ford sales dropped 3.8 percent to 78,161, pushing it out of the top five, despite record sales of its Ranger pick-up. The Ranger made up 55 percent of Ford’s sales in 2016, with the Mustang sportscar the second most popular Ford.
The Blue Oval finally ran out of stock of the Falcon, more than a year after local production ended with zero sales in December. Some stock of the Territory SUV remained, with four sales recorded last month.
Volkswagen’s 2.4 percent growth pushed it up to seventh spot, while Nissan continued its sales decline, dropping 15.3 percent – the biggest drop of any of the top 10 makes.
Bullish South Korean car-maker Kia continued its strong form, with its sales growing 28.3 percent last year, to 54,737 – the first time it has exceeded 50,000 sales in Australia.
This was enough to push Subaru to 10th place despite its own sales increase of 11.7 percent over 2016.
Honda just missed out on a top 10 placing with 46,783, while Mercedesbenz passenger car and vans sales put it in 12th spot overall.
HI TOP: The Toyota Hilux was the best-selling model in Australia for the second consecutive year, but Ford’s Ranger is not far behind.