The winners and losers in the Aussie sales race for May.
AUSTRALIA’S new-car market was up 3.6 percent for the month of May, with 96,672 cars sold compared to 93,372 in May 2015. The increase in sales was led by growth in private SUV numbers (+5.5 percent) and an increase in government spending on commercials. The Hyundai i30 was Australia’s most popular car for the third month in succession, while Toyota remained on top as the best-selling brand.
SUV sales are rapidly closing in on passenger car numbers, with 36,230 SUVs moved in May compared to 38,222 passenger cars. The best-selling SUV was the Mazda CX-5 (2117 sales).
The Hyundai i30’s continued success (3771 sales) came at the expense of the evergreen Toyota Corolla (3333) and Mazda 3 (3243), while the Holden Commodore (2255), VW Golf (1753) and Toyota RAV4 (1695) rounded out the top six passenger vehicles.
Yet Australia’s appetite for utes sees the Toyota Hilux (3675) as the second most popular of all vehicles, with the Ford Ranger in fifth and the Mitsubishi Triton winning eighth with 2021 sales.
Toyota’s market leadership remains intact, and while it leads by an enormous margin, the rest of the market is quietly chipping away at the juggernaut. Toyota’s 80,261 sales so far this year is a meagre 48 vehicles ahead of its sales at the end of May 2015. That’s a 0.1 percent improvement on last year, and far less than the overall market’s 3.8 percent growth.
Toyota still has plenty of breathing space to its nearest rival, Mazda. Operating out of its shiny new head office in Melbourne, Mazda posted solid 7.7 percent growth and has notched up 48,518 sales year-to-date to build up a margin of 6468 cars over third-placed Hyundai. The Korean brand threatened to snatch the podium spot from Holden in 2015, and has since clearly shaded the local brand, which in fourth place trails Hyundai by 5416 units year-to-date.
Ford, in fifth, has made leaps and bounds in 2016, with a substantial 16.4 percent improvement year-to-date, however almost half (47.3 percent) of its 6584 May sales were of a single model – the Ranger (3285 sales). Impressively (or not so, depending on you view), the Australian-made Territory remains Ford’s second-best seller, despite its slow decline, down 21.8 percent compared to 2015.
Holden sales continue to fall, with an 8.0 percent year-to-date dip after slow May sales. The Holden Commodore was its best seller (2255), while Cruze sales are down 26.1 percent in 2016. The shining lights for Salmon Street are its SUVs: Captiva is up 5.8 percent this year, while the smaller Trax is rocketing along with a 30.7 percent increase.
Star performers for May include Volvo, with its XC90, a Wheels COTY finalist, up a whopping 271.9 percent year-on-year, helping the brand reach a 51.0 percent growth rate so far this year. Alfa Romeo (down 57.4 percent) and Chrysler (a 61.0 percent decline) were among the worst performances for May.
Mercedes-Benz continued its dominance of the premium marques, with 17.6 percent growth year-to-date and to be the 11th most popular of all brands. BMW posted even great growth, at 27.7 percent. This was led by the BMW X5, and supported by the BMW X1, launched late last year, hitting the streets in serious numbers for the brand.
Audi sales are up 8.0 percent, but its growth is slowing. At the end of 2015, Audi was snapping at the heels of BMW, finishing less than 2000 sales behind its arch rival, yet in the first five months of 2016 BMW has already extended that margin to 2611.
Dieselgate has also hit VW local sales, down 4.2 percent year-to-date. VW can still walk tall with its Amarok and Transporter improving, and a strong performance from the excellent new Passat (up 40 percent, with the Passat Alltrack up 76 percent), but it’s negative territory for almost every other VW model.
New-car sales for the first five months of the year have increased 3.8 per cent, to 469,571.
Top 10 best-selling vehicles in May 2016