Hyundai sales defy massive downturn
ONLY one major carmaker had any reason to celebrate with the showroom results for April. Hyundai was the single brand in the top 10 to lift its result over the same month in 2008 as new-car sales slipped to their worst level since the start of the global economic downturn.
April was a massive 23.9 per cent down on the same month last year, a result which also drags the year-to-date total back by 20.3 per cent and points towards a full-year showroom total in the 840,000 range.
Some of the pain was eased by the usual sales dislocation over Easter, which gave an excuse for some under-performers, as well as the potential for the Federal Government’s investment allowance to lift results in the selling days before the end of the financial year.
“While the figures confirm that market conditions remain soft, the extent of the fall has been compounded by the timing of the Easter holidays,” FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.
“After adjusting for seasonal factors, sales in April appear to be broadly consistent with results of recent months and we remain hopeful that conditions will soon stabilise.”
But Hyundai does not have to wait as it improved its result by a solid 12.3 per cent, improving from 3683 sales in April ‘08 to 4136 in April ‘09. The brand is also up more than 12 per cent for the first four months of the year, a huge contrast to market leader Toyota which dropped 37.5 per cent in April and is trailing its year-to-date effort in 2008 by 29.3 per cent.
Hyundai’s i30 managed a best-yet ranking of sixth for the month, a result which even trumped its traditional showroom favourite, the Getz, in ninth.
The numbers are not huge, 1491 for i30 and 1307 for the Getz, but reflect a significant boost for the brand.
At the top end of the car sales chart, Toyota continued its leadership and GM Holden held on to favourite car choice with the Commodore. But the two brands are split on their predictions, with Toyota forecasting a significant showroom improvement in coming months with Holden waiting for change.
“We expect a pick-up in sales for May and June, followed by a market that will be stronger in the second half of the year than in the first six months,” Toyota’s sales and marketing boss Dave Buttner said.
“I don’t think anybody is beating their chest, it is and remains a tough market,” replied GM Holden spokesman Scott Whiffin.
But, with the Commodore continuing as Australia’s most popular car, Whiffin said the company was encouraged to see Commodore sales off only 4 per cent in a market that was down 25 per cent.
“You’re also seeing flight to value in the market,” Mr Whiffin said.