VFACTS April 2019: Kia continues to gain ground, market down 8.9% YoY

The results for April are in line with trends for year-to-date 2019.

Will federal election this month reverse market shrinkage?

April was a tough month for the automotive industry, according to industry statistician VFACTS.

Sales figures released reveal that last month's results (75,550 vehicles sold) marked a year-on-year slump of 8.9 per cent. Total sales of 344,088 units for the first four months of this year represent an 8.1 per cent decline when measured against the 2018 sales for January through to April inclusive.

The results for April are in line with trends for year-to-date 2019. We have seen a decrease of around eight per cent across the first four months of the year," said Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries).

"This decrease is the result of a number of factors in the Australian market, including the downturn in the housing market, the tightening of lending practices, environmental factors such as drought and flood, and of course the imminent Federal Government election.

"With all these elements currently present in the market, it is no surprise that Australian consumers are conservative in their approach to major purchases at the moment."

Downturn hits SUVs

By class, even SUVs have seen a downturn in sales performance, for the month (33,190 – down 2969) and the year to date (152,08 – down 7291).

For passenger cars, the prevailing economic conditions have compounded the downward trend in popularity. Year to date, passenger cars have lost 21,987 sales and for the month the class has dropped back 3717 sales.

Light commercial vehicles have not been hit as hard, but year to date (72,729 – down 738 sales) and monthly results (15,601 – down 486) are further evidence of a market going through some challenges at the present time. Interestingly, the only sector of the market that's ahead of last year's numbers is that of light commercial vehicles sold to private buyers.

EVs growing, diesels slumping

Although the total numbers clearly favour diesels over electric vehicles, year to date figures shows the EVs are growing in number, whereas diesels are not selling at anything like the same rate as they were in 2018. That could be a sign of things to come. Hybrids have also picked up this year, but conventional petrol-engined vehicles are over 24,000 sales behind the number for 2018.

Incredibly, Holden sold seven locally-built cars last month – presumably the last of the VF II Commodores that ended production in October of 2017.

Few volume-selling importers in the mainstream are enjoying positive growth, and Mitsubishi is essentially the only brand to sell over 1000 units more, year to date. With over 30,000 vehicles sold so far in 2019, Mitsubishi's result has risen by 3293.

Excluding Mitsubishi, Kia is the only top 10 brand to sell more cars in 2019 than for the first four months of 2018.

Top 10 models

Toyota HiLux 3621
Ford Ranger 3011
Toyota Corolla 2429
Mazda3 2195
Toyota LandCruiser 2034
Hyundai i30 1910
Mazda CX-5 1827
Kia Cerato 1650
Toyota Prado 1473
Hyundai Tucson 1355

Top 10 brands

Toyota 15,135
Mazda 7,644
Hyundai 6,469
Ford 4,803
Mitsubishi 4,717
Kia 4,521
Volkswagen 3,505
Holden 3,483
Nissan 3,025
Subaru 3,006