VFACTS: March 2018 a record-breaking month for car sales

Posted: 6 April 2018 3:28 pm
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buying a new car

VFACTS report reveals best-selling models and highest performing states.

March 2018 will go down as another record-breaking month for car sales, following on from a strong January and February. Once totalled, a record-breaking number of 106,998 cars sold. That amounts to almost 4,280 per day, 200 more per day than March 2017.

Car sales breakdown

2018’s first quarter saw a significant 4.4% growth in the size of the new car market.

Once again, SUVs carried sales. Small SUVs posted a sizeable 32.8% increase versus the previous March. Medium sized SUVs accounted for a modest 10.1% sales boost but the micro-car market saw some of the largest gains, with a 47.2% leap in orders. The Australian car market may need renaming soon, to the Australian SUV market, as this class now forms 42.3% of the entire market.

Light-commercial vehicles experienced a slight lull, falling by 0.4% compared to last year, which equates to just a 95 vehicle difference. The commercial sales slump was offset by a 3.2% increase for 4WD utes and cab chassis models.

Businesses must be doing well as 484 more heavy vehicles sold than in March 2017.

State and territory sales figures

Five of the eight states posted sales growth. The Northern Territory lead with a 12.8% improvement. ACT finished second with a 7.9% growth, while Victoria followed closely in third place with just over 6.3% sales growth. Queensland and Western Australia both saw small gains under 2%.

Unsurprisingly, Australia's most populated state, New South Wales, claimed the most car sales, but the numbers were down 2.6% when held against March 2017’s results. South Australia and Tasmania also recorded lulls in sales.

State / Territory Mar 2018 Mar 2017 % Difference
Australian Capital Territory 1,816 1,683 7.9%
New South Wales 34,754 35,677 -2.6%
Northern Territory 1,067 946 12.8%
Queensland 21,591 21,217 1.8%
South Australia 6,332 6,387 -0.9%
Tasmania 1,502 1,536 -2.2%
Victoria 31,105 29,252 6.3%
Western Australia 8,821 8,712 1.3%

Toyota still stands clear of its nearest rival Mazda, by some 9,155 vehicles moved in March alone. By the end of the month, Toyota increased its year-to-date market share to 18% of all new vehicles. After second place Mazda, who experienced a reduction in its share of the market, came Hyundai. Mitsubishi rocketed up the sales charts thanks to strong demand for the ASX and the ever popular Triton ute.

Honda also did well, with an 80% hike to 5,586 sales. Sadly, Holden sales dropped as did its market share, thanks in part to a line-up of GM-sourced rebadged models.

Top 10 manufacturers: Year to date

Rank Vehicle Mar 2018 Market Share Mar 2018 Market Share March 2018 Sales
1 Toyota 18.0% 17.4% 18,878
2 Mazda 10.2% 10.9% 9,723
3 Hyundai 8.1% 8.0% 8,443
4 Mitsubishi 7.3% 6.6% 8,810
5 Ford 6.3% 6.6% 6,687
6 Nissan 5.4% 5.4% 6,191
7 Holden 5.3% 7.2% 5,116
8 Honda 5.2% 3.5% 5,586
9 Kia 4.9% 4.6% 5,084
10 Volkswagen 4.7% 4.9% 5,137

Top 10 models by sales

In the toughly fought ute market, Ford closed the gap between the best-selling Toyota Hilux and its Ranger to just 200 units. The Toyota Corolla placed third, meaning the Japanese car making giant had three models place in the top ten best-sellers.

Rank Vehicle Mar 2018 Mar 2017 % Difference
1 Toyota Hilux 4,348 4,245 2.4%
2 Ford Ranger 4,064 3,845 5.7%
3 Toyota Corolla 3,218 3,574 -10%
4 Mitsubishi Triton 3,109 2,670 16.4%
5 Mazda3 2,780 3,039 -8.5%
6 Hyundai i30 2,719 2,383 14.1%
7 Nissan X-Trail 2,504 1,780 40.7%
8 Mitsubishi ASX 2,337 1,384 68.9%
9 Mazda CX-5 2,261 2,116 6.9%
10 Toyota Landcruiser 2,148 2,011 6.8%

What’s fuelling the growth?

Tony Weber, Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, pointed to economic stability and favourable interest rates as the driving forces behind the growth.

“To have the market at 4.4% ahead of last year’s record total is a clear vote of consumer confidence in the economy’s stability and low interest rates, both key factors which encourage private buyers and businesses into new vehicles,” he said.

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