The humble utility has climbed to the top of the Australian new car sales charts for the first time.
Figures revealed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today show that the Toyota HiLux pipped the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Mazda3 as Australia's favourite car, in a year in which we bought more new vehicles than ever before.
A utility (or pickup) also featured in fourth position in the final rankings, with Ford's evergreen Ranger mixing it among a small car-heavy fleet, while Mitsubishi's Triton finished ninth. Overall, light commercial vehicles held 18.5 per cent of the market in 2016, up from 17.4 per cent the previous year.
The data reveals 1,178,133 vehicles were sold in 2016, an increase of 2 per cent over the previous 1.15 million record set in 2015. Low interest rates, inflation and rising wealth were cited as the major triggers for the record growth.
December was down 0.9 per cent on the same period last year, with 98,763 vehicles sold.
Toyota takes the new car sales crown
Toyota was the top selling brand once again in 2016, its 14th year in succession.
The year also marked a huge recovery for Ford, now into its 14th consecutive month of improved sales after 11 years of decline.
Holden endured a challenging year, with sales falling by 8.4 per cent on the previous year. The locally-built Commodore, which is due to bow out at the end of 2017, still commands more than 25 per cent of all Holden sales.
SUV and commericial growth to continue
FCAI chief executive Tony Weber tipped another possible record in 2017, with little sign of slowing sales.
"The growth, as witnessed in 2016 and appears certain to continue in 2017, is in SUVs and light commercial vehicles, particularly dual cab utilities," he said.
"New models with significant performance and comfort attributes, combined with the existing vehicle mix, continued to make Australia one of the most competitive new car markets in the world."
2016 Market Overview
Top 10 models
Toyota HiLux (42,104), Toyota Corolla (40,330), Hyundai i30 (37,772), Ford Ranger (36,934), Mazda3 (36,107), Toyota Camry (26,485), Holden Commodore (25,860), Mazda CX-5 (25,564), Mitusbishi Triton (21,897), Hyundai Tucson (20,132).
Top 10 makes
Toyota (209,610), Mazda (118,217), Hyundai (101,555), Holden (94,308), Ford (81,207), Mitsubishi (73,368), Nissan (66,826), Volkswagen (56,571), Subaru (47,018) and Kia (42,668).