Market decline continues for seventh successive month, though there’s no slowing the SUV boom
New vehicle sales contracted in Australia for the seventh consecutive month in October, compared to figures from the corresponding months in 2017.
The market declined 5.3 per cent in October to 90,718 units, the lion’s share of the drop coming from New South Wales and Victoria, down 9.2 and 4.2 per cent respectively.
This certainly makes for a trend, now stretching into a third quarter despite low interest rates and near-full employment. The declining exchange rate, a spotlight on the finance sector, declining house prices in big cities, and the drought’s impact on GDP might all be factors.
To keep things in context, it’s also worth noting that new annual sales records have been set in four of the past five years. Whether this is a blip or something more serious awaits to be seen.
Graph courtesy of FCAI
More intriguingly, the new vehicle market has only cooled substantially since quarter one. At the end of March this year, sales sat at 291,538 units, up 4.4 per over 2017’s all-time record. Things actually looked buoyant.
But over the next seven months, cumulative sales have contracted 3.6 per cent overall. As of October 31, the annual tally of 971,723 units sits 1.3 per cent behind 2017’s equivalent tally, taking Q1 figures into account.
The most populous state (New South Wales) has recorded the biggest decline annually, falling away 4.8 per cent this year (equating to about 16,000 fewer sales) and 9.2 per cent in October. The next biggest markets – Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia – are actually up.
Remove NSW from the mix and Australia’s market is in positive territory. Naturally, given NSW accounts for one-third of the country’s volumes, this is clearly unfeasible.
The decline was also most pronounced in sales to private purchasers, which were down by 12 per cent across all vehicle types for the month compared to October 2017. Business purchases overall were also down (-4.1 per cent) on October 2017 sales, while government purchases were up 6.7 per cent.
As we have come to expect, SUVs are playing their role. Sales of these high-riding vehicles grew 8.1 per cent in October and owned 43.9 per cent market share (about in-line with the annual cumulative numbers). Light commercial vehicle sales also climbed.
Sales of passenger vehicles (sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, coupes, convertibles and people-movers) fell 23.6 per cent for the month, and had market share of just 30.6 per cent. In October 2013, passenger cars had 50.7 per cent share. That’s a massive drop. Passenger cars market share have fallen 7.4 percentage points this year alone.
Sales of every passenger segment aside from people-movers fell, whereas all four SUV segments climbed, led by Small SUVs. The top five segments by market share were Medium SUVs (18.1 per cent), Small Cars (15.8 per cent), 4×4 Utes (15.4 per cent), Small SUVs (12.6 per cent) and Large SUVs (11.7 per cent).
Market leader Toyota stayed still in a down market, a good result. Mazda bucked the trend, though Hyundai took a hit as i30 sales fell away. Mitsubishi keeps making the most of a limited range (Eclipse Cross the helpful addition), while Ford dipped.
Holden’s annual plummet continues unabated, as the imported ZB Commodore struggles compared to the Aussie-made VF II’s final year. Volkswagen fell, but less than the market average, while Kia’s growth trend continued.
Rounding out the top 10 were Subaru and Nissan, despite being down above the market rate, just ahead of Honda which had a down month after a strong first three quarters of 2018.
Luxury players Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Lexus continue to do it tough, though Volvo’s swish new three-line SUV range is propelling the Swedish company to big growth. The luxury market is very cyclical in this sense. Mercedes cited lack of supply for its C-Class’s decline, and called its monthly tally that sat behind the BMW 3 Series/Audi A4 a blip.
Most Popular Brands below
Brands outside the top 20 listed below include: Jeep (591, -4.8 per cent), Chinese commercial brand LDV (572, up 109 per cent), Czech brand Skoda (481, -6.8 per cent), China’s passenger/SUV brand MG (356, up almost 760 per cent), Peugeot (269, up 7.2 per cent), Porsche (264, +18.9 per cent), and Mini (207, up 5.6 per cent).
The top 10 models for the month were the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Toyota Corolla (new-generation model, a good start!), Mazda 3, Hyundai i30, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester (same story as Corolla), Mitsubishi ASX, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan X-Trail. Usual suspects: three utes, four SUVs and three small hatchbacks.
If you combine the 70 Series and 200 Series Toyota LandCruisers, it actually finished seventh overall.
Most Popular Cars below:
- Micro: Kia Picanto (370), Fiat 500 (80), Mitsubishi Mirage (69)
- Light: Hyundai Accent (1160), Toyota Yaris (851), Mazda 2 (767)
- Small: Toyota Corolla (2663), Mazda 3 (2094) Hyundai i30 (2049)
- Premium Small: Audi A3 (404), MB A-Class (288), BMW 1 Series (196)
- Medium: Toyota Camry (1132), Mazda 6 (306), Ford Mondeo (193)
- Premium Medium: BMW 3 Series (219), Audi A4 (61), MB CLA (155)
- Large: Holden Commodore (663), Kia Stinger (178), MB E-Class (104)
- People movers: Kia Carnival (514), Honda Odyssey (105), LDV G10 (76)
- Sports < $200k: Ford Mustang (569), BMW 2 Series (136), MB E-Class (95)
- Sports > $200k: Porsche 911 (43), Ferrari range (28), Bentley two-doors (13)
- Small: Mitsubishi ASX (1739), Mazda CX-3 (1274), Hyundai Kona (1224)
- Premium Small: BMW X1 (268), Audi Q3 (249), MB GLA (245)
- Medium: Mazda CX-5 (2000), Subaru Forester (1792), Nissan X-Trail (1644)
- Premium Medium: MB GLC (675), Audi Q5 (459), BMW X3/X4 (419)
- Large: Toyota Prado (1388), Toyota Kluger (1294), Subaru Outback (728)
- Premium Large: MB GLE (210), Lexus RX (209), BMW X5/X6 (196)
- Upper Large: Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series (1181), MB GLS (62), Lexus LX (62)
- Small Vans: Volkswagen Caddy (143), Renault Kangoo (73), Citroen Berlingo (14)
- Medium Vans: Toyota HiAce (702), Hyundai iLoad (366), VW Transporter (210)
- Big Vans: MB Sprinter (253), Renault Master (121), Fiat Ducato (105)
- 4×2 Utes: Toyota HiLux (945), Isuzu D-Max (427), Ford Ranger (417)
- 4×4 Utes: Toyota HiLux (3456), Ford Ranger (3094), Mitsubishi Triton (1461)
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries CEO, Tony Weber:
“What we are seeing is a slightly slowing market, after the industry has produced five years of record sales over the past six years.
“After a record 2017, year to date sales in 2018 are sitting just 0.9 per cent below last year’s numbers. This demonstrates the inherent strength of the market. The decline in passenger vehicle sales and corresponding growth in SUVs also shows that the traditional family car continues to evolve in Australia.”
Top 20 models, October:
- Toyota HiLux – 4401
- Ford Ranger – 3511
- Toyota Corolla – 2663
- Mazda 3 – 2094
- Hyundai i30 – 2049
- Mazda CX-5 – 2000
- Subaru Forester – 1792
- Mitsubishi ASX – 1739
- Mitsubishi Triton – 1650
- Nissan X-Trail – 1644
- Toyota RAV4 – 1582
- Holden Colorado – 1578
- Hyundai Tucson – 1530
- Isuzu D-Max – 1433
- Volkswagen Golf – 1418
- Toyota Prado – 1388
- Toyota Kluger -1294
- Mazda CX-3 -1274
- Hyundai Kona – 1224
- Kia Sportage – 1216
Top 20 brands, October:
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