VFACTS March 2018: Mixed fortunes for Top 10 brands

Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda and Subaru gain ground on other makes in the top 10.

Half of the top-10 brands decreased their sales month-on-month in March 2018, when all passenger car segments were down except micro/light, people-mover and upper large, and all SUV segments were up except large SUV.

Market leader Toyota slipped by almost four percent to less than 18,900 sales, with all passenger cars sales except Prius V and Camry Hybrid down, and all SUVs except Kluger up.

Toyota sold just over 3000 HiLux 4x4s (up 3.5%) for a total of 4245, once again easily making it the Japanese brand’s top-seller for the month ahead of Corolla (3575 – down 10%).

Second-placed Mazda fell by more than seven percent to just over 9700 sales, including almost 3040 Mazda3s (down 8.5%). But while CX-5 sales jumped almost seven percent to about 2115, sales of the CX-3, CX-9 and BT-50 all slumped.

In contrast, surging into third place — and overtaking Hyundai in the process — was Mitsubishi (up more than 16 per cent to over 8800 sales), despite a 37 per cent drop in sales of the Lancer, its only remaining passenger car.

ASX sales spiked by almost 70 per cent to nearly 2340, while Triton also posted healthy gains to finish with 3110 sales, again making it the nation’s third most popular ute and the fourth best-seller overall, while the new Eclipse Cross added more than 530 sales.

Hyundai fell to fourth with less than 8450 sales (down 2.9%), thanks to sales decreases for all models but Accent, Sonata and i30 – the latter up 14 per cent to 2720.

Likewise all models from fifth-placed Ford (almost 6700 sales – down 2.4%) lodged sales slides – except Mustang, EcoSport, Everest, Transit and Ranger, which found about 4065 to lie within 200 of HiLux as the nation’s second top seller.

Next was Nissan (with almost 6200 sales, it was up more than 10% thanks to a 25% SUV sales hike) and Honda, which soared by 80 per cent to almost 5600 sales — courtesy of all models except Accord, with the CR-V spiking by more than 240 per cent to nearly 1200 sales.

Rounding out the top 10 ahead of Holden were Subaru (up 3.8% to nearly 5200 sales, mostly thanks to XV), which was outside the top 10 last month, and Volkswagen, which was static with just over 5100 sales, with stronger Golf and Amarok 4×4 sales offsetting slower SUV sales.

Toyota’s year to date figure is ahead of last year’s, but the company’s sales fell by 774 vehicles in March, measured year on year. Camry sales are down 920 units for March, and 838 units for the full year so far.

Aurion, which was discontinued at the end of last year, when the Altona factory closed, has also posted 265 fewer sales for March and 452 fewer sales for the first quarter of 2018. The slack has been offset mostly by Toyota’s SUVs and the HiLux light commercial range.

Ford’s sales have flatlined, but the year-to-date figure (18,391) is only 42 sales behind the same period last year, and the March figure of 6687 is 165 units behind the number for March 2017.

Despite being out of the local manufacturing business for roughly 18 months, Ford is still held back in outright numbers by dissipating sales of Falcon (156 sold in the first three months of 2017) and particularly Territory (nearly 1100 sold by this time last year).

But Escape, Everest and Ranger are all making up the difference. Still, Ford must be waiting anxiously for the arrival of Endura, the imported replacement for the popular Territory.

The total market – 106,988 sales for March (versus 105,410 for March 2017) – is powering along, and the year-to-date total is 291,538. That’s over 12,000 more than the same period in 2017: 279,345.

SUVs continue to be the main game – at 45,525 they’re over 9000 units ahead of passenger cars for the month. Posting a sales figure of 123,214, SUVs are over 20,000 ahead of passenger cars for the year to date, and that’s a 12,000-unit gain, year on year.x

Passenger cars remain in decline, and that’s not likely to change. Sales for March (36,120) were nearly 2900 units behind March 2017 and year-to-date sales (102,470) are over 6000 units shy of the same period last year.

As of March, the top 10 brands for the year to date are: Toyota (52,465), Mazda (29,749), Hyundai (23,568), Mitsubishi (21,215), Ford (18,391), Nissan (15,761), Holden (15,524), Honda (15,129), Kia (14,279) and Volkswagen (13,787).

Top 10 vehicles for the month were: Toyota HiLux (4348), Ford Ranger (4064), Toyota Corolla (3218), Mitsubishi Triton (3109), Mazda3 (2780), Hyundai i30 (2719), Nissan X-TRAIL (2504), Mitsubishi ASX (2337), Mazda CX-5 (2261) and Toyota LandCruiser (2148).