New vehicle sales in Australia grew a marginal 0.9 per cent in March — not enough to take 2017’s cumulative total ahead of last year’s record, but enough to set a new all-time monthly high-water mark.
VFACTS data released this morning shows that 105,410 new vehicles were sold last month, taking the yearly total to 279,345 (down 2.1 per cent).
For the second month in succession, SUVs were the most popular vehicle type with 39.4 per cent market share, compared to passenger cars that dropped five share points to 37 per cent. Light commercials made up 20.9 per cent of the market.
The five biggest-volume segments were small cars on 17.1 per cent share, medium SUVs on 16.5 per cent, 4×4 utes on 14.7 per cent, large SUVs on 12.2 per cent and small SUVs on 9.3 per cent.
Top brands in March
The top-selling brand was Toyota with 19,652 sales, up 10 per cent thanks to strong months from staples such as the HiLux, LandCruiser, Corolla, Camry and RAV4.
The company headed off top full-importer Mazda on 10,472 (up about 2 per cent), with Hyundai (8700, down 10 per cent), Mitsubishi (a surprise fourth on 7583, up 16 per cent) and Holden (7211, down a further 14 per cent) rounding out the top five.
Next were Ford (6582, up 6 per cent), Nissan (5620, down 3 per cent), Volkswagen (5122, down 4 per cent), Subaru (5006, up 4 per cent) and Kia (4684, up a massive 39 per cent) making up the rest of the top 10.
Just missing were Mercedes-Benz (4008, up 7.5 per cent), Honda (3106, down 9 per cent), BMW (2220, down 16 per cent), Isuzu Ute (2074, down 17 per cent), Suzuki (1792, down 2 per cent), Land Rover (1580, up 2 per cent) and Audi (1508, down a sizeable 25 per cent).
Smaller-scale companies that saw good growth included Jaguar (301, up 10 per cent), Lexus (931, up 27 per cent and RAM (40, double its March 2016 result). Ferrari (up 86 per cent), Aston Martin (up 112.5 per cent) and McLaren (up 300 per cent) also excelled.
Smaller brands that struggled included Citroen (69, down 23 per cent), Fiat Professional (89, down 22 per cent), Foton Light (46, down 46.5 per cent), Jeep (852, down 25 per cent), Peugeot (214, down 44 per cent), and Volvo Car (369, down 30 per cent).