Aussies push 2015 new car sales to record high

Toyota Corolla

TOYOTA was the top selling brand for the 13th consecutive year in a record-breaking 2015, despite posting its worst market share since 1997.

With an internal target of attracting 25 per cent of all car buyers, Toyota managed just 17.8 per cent of the 1,155,408 new passenger cars, SUVs, utes and commercial vehicles sold in 2015; in 1996 Toyota was the third best selling brand but commanded a bigger share of the market, at 18.6 per cent.

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- Record sales of 1,155,408
- Toyota number one, but losing share
- Holden posts lowest ever market share of 8.9 percent
- Ford down 11.6 percent and in a record low sixth place
- 408k SUVs sold, now 35 percent of the market
- Luxury sales booming

Until 2005 the top three selling brands – traditionally Toyota, Holden and Ford – commanded at least half the market, often more. These days the top three selling brands account for about 37 per cent of the market.

Blame it on a fragmenting market and the dramatic sales slump from former market darlings Holden and Ford, the latter relegated to sixth on the sales charts – its worst ever ranking – with an 11.6 per cent drop in sales and a paltry 6.1 per cent share.

Holden, too, had little to smile about with its lowest ever market share of just 8.9 per cent following a drop in sales of 3.0 per cent

In the lead-up to the shutdown of local manufacturing, 2015 will go down as the worst on record for Australian-made cars, dropping below 100,000 for the first time (97,443) and accounting for just 8.4 per cent of overall sales.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing, Tony Cramb, says the brand’s reducing market share is down to increasing competition, which has been brought about by a strong Australian dollar, reduced import duties, new entrants and shifting demands away from locally-produced large cars that once accounted for so much of the market.

“It just goes to show how the competition is in the Australian market, which is great for consumers,” he says, adding that Toyota was content with selling 206,236 cars in 2015.

“Market share is not our focus … in the end, market share doesn’t pay the bills; you’ve just got to hit your sales plan and from our point of view we were happy with the sales numbers for the year.”

Mazda, up 13.2 per cent with a record 114,024 sales and 9.9 per cent of the market, stormed to number two, providing the most competition to Toyota since Holden in 2011.

Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders says the brand plans to consolidate its share and take advantage of predicted steady growth in the market – the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries is predicting - while gearing up for a new model influx from 2017.


“We’re happy to be a number two [selling brand] that performs strongly in the private/retail buyer part of the market,” he says.

He believes lower market shares for the top brands will be the status quo moving forward.

“If you look at any market where there are no natural domestic brands, that is the new normal,” says Benders, pointing to the demise of the once dominant Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

“If you think about the time when Commodore and Falcon were dominating, they were selling 60,000, 80,000 cars each; today the number one car sells about 40,000.”

The Toyota Corolla was the best selling passenger car for the third year with 42,073 sales, edging out its direct rival, Mazda’s 3 (38,644).

The Toyota Hilux (35,161) cemented third on the charts as the top selling ute following the arrival of an all new model late in the year.

But it was Hyundai’s often heavily-discounted i30 (32,306) that took out third, the third small car among the top four selling vehicles.

Yet traditional passenger car sales continue to slide, now accounting for a record low 44.6 per cent of the market.

The winner has been SUVs, now accounting for 35.4 per cent of the market – or 408,471 sales – following 15.9 per cent growth, the latest jump in a remarkable 20-year growth spurt that has changed the shape of the Australian market.

Despite increased activity in the ute market, sales were flat in 2015, with share slipping slightly to 15.1 percent.

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Last year will also go down as a record for luxury models, with more than 100,000 sold for the first time.

Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Porsche, Mini, Lamborghini, McLaren and Infiniti all set sales records, with Mercedes-Benz a clear number one thanks to 36,374 sales and 3.1 per cent market share.

Porsche was the one of the fastest growing brands, having tripled sales in three years on the back of new arrivals such as the Macan SUV. In 2015 its sales were up 45.4 per cent with 4090 sales, more than Mini, Peugeot, Citroen, Chrysler, Dodge, Jaguar and not far off Volvo (4943).

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