The Toyota Corolla takes a swipe back at last month's leader, the Mazda 3 as every showroom sale counts in the quest to be Australia's Number-One selling car
THE sales pendulum has swung back in the direction of the Toyota Corolla as it takes victory in Round 2, February 2015, from January's leader, the Mazda 3.
The Mazda 3 still holds on to a narrow lead year-to-date over its strong-selling Toyota rival as the new car market bounces into record territory in February.
After a flat start to the year, February’s record sales tally of 90,424 is a 4.2 percent jump over the same month last year, and has helped push the market into positive territory after months of stagnating results.
In the race to dominate the Australian sales charts, the Mazda 3 small car range (3598 sales) holds a narrow 90 sales lead over the Corolla (3939) as fleet and rental buyers restock after the Christmas break.
Toyota’s Hilux trade ute featured strongly on the charts, grabbing the number four spot (2861) behind top 10 stalwart, the Holden Commodore (2517), and Hyundai’s i30 small car (2126) making up the top five.
A surprise placing in the top 10 is Mitsubishi’s Triton trade ute, pushing ahead of the traditionally strong-selling Ford Ranger to take seventh spot in the charts. The Triton is in run-out mode ahead of the introduction of an all-new model later this year.
Surprisingly, all passenger vehicle segments apart from the light-car class – the playground of the Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i20 – fell in February as the national obsession with high-riding SUVs fuelled every part of that segment except for the big, heavy, bowser-addicted models.
Hardest hit in the passenger segment were the superminis – think Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage – which melted like chocolate in the midday sun, falling 54.4 percent for the month.
The impending demise of Australian manufacturing has made itself felt in the showrooms of Ford, Holden and Toyota, with the market share of Aussie-fettled metal declining a further 10 percent in February compared to the same month last year.
Aussies only bought 7598 cars wearing a “Made in Australia” stamp compared with 82,826 imports.
Holden’s Commodore and Cruze had mixed fortunes, the locally made large car falling 16.3 percent, in line with the general decline for large cars, but Cruze copped an almighty 32.1 percent showroom wallop compared with the same month last year.
The Ford Falcon had a relatively positive month after a run of plumbing fresh lows, selling 501 units – still 12.7 percent down on the same month last year, but at least higher than January.
Ford’s local manufacturing arm continues to show the strength of the Territory SUV, which still managed 783 sales – down just 3.3 percent – despite having to soldier on with only a minor facelift that will carry it through to next year’s curtain call.
The Altona-made Camry and Camry Hybrid, meanwhile, are still attracting buyers ahead of a significant mid-life makeover due in a few months. Camry sold 1767 units, 6.6 percent fewer than February last year, but it was enough to put the ledger slightly into positive territory year-to-date.
In the battle for luxury car buyers’ wallets, everyone – including minnow Infiniti with 57 sales – was a winner.
Mercedes-Benz led the way with 2744 sales (up 1.5 percent on February 2014) while BMW gained 14.8 percent to 1812 sales and Audi was up 9.4 percent to 1699.
And who were February’s big losers?
Malaysian marque Proton was down 73 percent on the same month last year with only 28 sales – one a day – while Chinese brand Chery, which is believed to be withdrawing from the Australian market after attempting to bottom-feed on price, was down almost 60 percent.
Spare a thought for Chinese ute and SUV maker Great Wall, though, down 92.9 percent with just 21 sales for the month. To put it in perspective, Freightliner sold more trucks than that.
Click here to read the full range review of the 2014-15 Toyota Corolla
TOP 10 VEHICLES FEBRUARY 2015
1. Toyota Corolla (3939 sales) +18.2%*
2. Mazda 3 (3598) -9.3%
3. Toyota Hilux (2861) -14.5%
4. Holden Commodore (2517) -9.4%
5. Hyundai i30 (2126) -10.4%
6. Mazda CX-5 (2085) +19.0%
7. Mitsubishi Triton (1988) +62.0%
8. Ford Ranger (1953) +2.7%
9. Hyundai ix35 (1856) +24.5%
10. Toyota Camry (1767) -6.6%
*Loss/gain compared with February 2014
TOP 10 BRANDS FEBRUARY 2015
1. Toyota (16,243 sales) 18.0%*
2. Mazda (9057) 10.0%
3. Hyundai (8003) 8.9%
4. Holden (7809) 8.6%
5. Mitsubishi (6242) 6.9%
6. Nissan (5984) 6.6%
7. Ford (5022) 5.6%
8. Volkswagen (4889) 5.4%
9. Subaru (3223) 3.6%
10. Honda (2901) 3.2%