February’s industry total of 95,999 was an increase of 7.8 per cent over February 2017 and lifted the 2018 year-to-date cumulative total to 184,550.
Of the top 10 mainstream brands every one of them sold more vehicles last month than in February 2017 except Mazda (down just 0.1 per cent) and Holden, which slumped by more than 18 per cent month on month.
Meantime, Honda surged by almost 55 per cent on the back of strong sales of its volume-selling Civic (1400 – up 70%), CR-V (1375 – up 149%), HR-V (1050 – up 8.0%) and Jazz (840 – up 48%).
Mitsubishi had the second biggest volume growth of the mainstream brands at more than 24 per cent, thanks to 1630-plus Triton 4×4 sales (up 6.5%), 1620-plus Outlander sales (up 103%), 940 Lancer sales (up 137%) and almost 650 sales of its new Eclipse Cross.
The next biggest mover was Hyundai (up more than 14 per cent due to Accent and i30 sales upticks), but Toyota continued to lead the pack with a 12 per cent monthly sales increase.
Behind it in terms of February growth was Kia (up 11.7%), Nissan (10%), Ford (6.9%), Subaru (4%) and Volkswagen (1.2%).
Comparing last month’s outcomes with those of February 2017, many key segments of the market produced positive results with light passenger cars up by 10.3 per cent, small passenger cars up by 9.4 per cent and three of the four SUV segments showing double-digit growth.
Small SUVs climbed 21.4 per cent compared with February 2017, mediums SUVs by 17.1 per cent and upper large by 12.9 per cent.
SUVs remained the dominant segment with 41.5 per cent of the February market, with passenger cars holding a 35.9 per cent share, and light commercials continuing their steady climb to a 19.5 per cent share.
Light commercials produced strong gains again in the two key light truck segments, with 4x2 pick-up and cab chassis models up by 7.1 per cent (compared with February 2017) and 4WD versions increasing by 17.9 per cent.
All the states and territories produced sales gains during February compared with the same month last year. The strongest result was for Victoria which increased 14.2 per cent, followed by Tasmania with 11.8 per cent, Western Australia with 10 per cent, then the ACT (+9.7%), Queensland (+6.0%), South Australia (+5.8%), NSW (+3.4%) and the NT (+1.3%).
Business sales rose 11.8 per cent for passenger cars and 18.7 per cent for SUVs during February, while private sales for SUVs gained 4.1 per cent. Total business sales rose by 16.5 per cent compared with February 2017.
The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that the strong 2018 growth provided further proof that the fiercely competitive nature of the Australian new vehicle market was providing strong value for the consumer.
“Consumers are supporting the value propositions that the brands are offering,” Mr Weber said.
“To have the market already running 6.1 per cent ahead of last year’s record total indicates that consumer confidence is still strong, and all those elements which underpin our economy remain in position.”
Toyota was the market leader for February with a 19 per cent share, followed by Mazda with 10.3 per cent, Hyundai with 8.3per cent, Mitsubishi (7.4%) and Ford (6.3%).
The Toyota Hilux, which led the market last year, maintained its top-seller position in February with 4,426 sales, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,544 sales), Toyota Corolla (3,270), Mazda3 (2,935) and the Mazda CX-5 (2,191).
Source: FCAI VFCATS, Feb 2018.
Top 10 brands in February by sales:
1. Toyota — 18,280
2. Mazda — 9910
3. Hyundai — 8000
4. Mitsubishi — 7160
5. Ford — 6060
6. Honda — 4940
7. Nissan — 4860
8. Holden — 4690
9. Volkswagen — 4670
10. Kia — 4660