New vehicle sales report – March 2010

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March was another strong month for Australian vehicle sales. So much so that the 94,744 sales recorded represented a new monthly record for March, an increase of 352 sales over the previous high set in 2007. Compared to last month sales increased by 12,525 units.

While all vehicle segments fared well, the SUV sector continued its upward trend, increasing by 44%. Passenger car sales were up by more than 23%, while both the light and heavy commercial segments also posted healthy increases.

Toyota and Holden continue their reign as the country’s top two selling marques, with 21.4% and 12.4% market share respectively. Meanwhile, Ford fought back from last month’s drop recovering from fifth on the sales charts to finish ahead of Hyundai and Mazda in third place with 8.5% market share.

However, there was still good news for Hyundai as the i30 was the country’s best selling small car during March. The first time the i30 has achieved such a result.

New Vehicle Market Posts Record March Result

Strong sales across all vehicle segments has resulted in a record monthly sales figure for March, eclipsing the previous record set in 2007 by 352 vehicles.

Official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 94,744 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in March, up 25.2 per cent (or 19,094 vehicles) on the same month in 2009.

“This is an outstanding March result and provides further evidence that the marketplace is returning to pre-global financial crisis levels,” FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

SUV sales led the charge in March increasing by 44.1 percent, followed by passenger cars (up 23.5 per cent), heavy commercials (up 20.2 per cent) and then light commercials (up 12 per cent).

“Business sales show some signs of easing following the phase out of targeted tax breaks but it is pleasing to see renewed growth from private buyers,” he said.

“With warnings of further interest rate rises, private buyers should move to take advantage of the current rate levels,” Mr McKellar said.

Sales to car rental companies increased 331.5 per cent during March in line with increased tourism and business activity.

Toyota retained the top selling position in March, increasing its market share to 21.4 per cent; followed by Holden with 12.4 per cent and then Ford with 8.5 per cent.

Year-to-date, 251,827 vehicles have been sold – an increase of 38,857 vehicles (18.2 percent) compared to the first three months of 2009.

BMW Numbers Soar

  • Largest first quarter sales volume on record.
  • 16 per cent up versus 2009.
  • Biggest March result on record.
  • MINI achieves best sales month ever.
  • More exciting models to come.

BMW has recorded its best first quarter sales result ever to post 4,316 registrations in the first three month period of 2010. This is the largest quarter one result since 2007 and 16 per cent up on the same period last year.

On the eve of the highly anticipated X1 hitting the market, BMW also posted its best March result on record with 1,479 registrations.

Not to be upstaged, MINI also recorded its best sales month since it was introduced in Australia in 2002, registering 249 units. The previous sales record dating back to August 2007 with 240 units.

“It’s particularly pleasing to witness a strong first quarter on the back of a very strong end to 2009. With a number of exciting new products on the horizon we’re confident we have the model range and competitive advantage to cater for the growing requirements of the market,” says Stavros Yallouridis, managing director of BMW Group Australia.

To further strengthen the commanding lead as Australia’s best selling luxury vehicle supplier, BMW will also introduce several product highlights for the remainder of the year, including the world’s first luxury compact sports activity vehicle – the BMW X1, the all new 5 Series Sedan and Touring.

HOLDEN MARCH SALES – ROUNDING OUT A SUCCESSFUL FIRST QUARTER

  • Holden sales up 28 per cent compared to same month last year
  • Commodore still Australia’s bestselling car
  • Captiva sales Holden’s highest SUV result ever

Holden’s strong start to the year has continued, with the company registering a 28 per cent increase in sales for March 2010 compared to the same month last year, according to figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The figures show Australians purchased a total of 11,795 Holdens during March, with Commodore maintaining its position as Australia’s best-selling car overall with 4209 sold – the best March sales figure for the Commodore nameplate since March 2007.

March was also a highly successful month for the Captiva SUV which registered its best sales performance since it was introduced to the Australian market in 2006, with 1455 sold. This figure is up 153 per cent on March 2009 and is the highest Holden SUV result on record.

The figures also show Barina achieved its highest March sales result since 2006, selling 1213 units.
Holden Executive Director of Sales and Marketing John Elsworth said the results have given Holden a strong start in 2010 and followed pleasing sales results in January and February.

“March saw us build on the sales momentum generated earlier in the year, to achieve a very strong first quarter for 2010,” Mr Elsworth said.

“Commodore continues to be mainstay of our range, proving popular in showrooms time after time.

“We are also very pleased with the Captiva range which has really found the sweet spot in the SUV market. We have some great offers in the marketplace at the moment, right across the Holden range, that we believe will entice customers into our showrooms and continue the sales momentum that we have seen in the first quarter of 2010.”

Hyundai i30 Best Selling Small Car in March

Hyundai’s multi-award winning i30 range has continued to win fans, leading its segment for the first time in March with a sales result of 3,678 units and a 16.4% segment share.

Hyundai also posted its best ever March result since the brand started selling cars in Australia in 1986. The sales result of 7,797 units was also its second best monthly sales result since the factory established the wholly owned subsidiary Hyundai Motor Company Australia.

In a total market that has increased +25.2% (March 2010 v. March 2009), Hyundai Motor Company Australia has achieved an overall increase in sales of +58.9% (representing 15 consecutive months of month-on-month sales growth).

“The team at Hyundai and the Hyundai Dealer network are delighted that more and more Australians are discovering the quality and value of today’s Hyundai range. Over 800,000 new Hyundais have now been delivered to Australian customers since the brand entered the market,” said Damien Meredith, Hyundai’s Director of Sales. “Today, the i-series range of products continues to grow. We will be launching the new i45 mid-sized sedan next month followed by the i20 compact hatch in the middle of the year.”

Meanwhile overseas, Hyundai Motor Company’s global sales increased +35.7% (March YTD 2010 v. March YTD 2009). Hyundai Motor America announced an all-time sales record for both the first quarter and for the month of March, selling 47,002 vehicles, up +15.4% (March YTD 2010 v. March YTD 2009). Based on retail-only sales data, the new i45 sedan – known as Sonata in North America – emerged as America’s third best-selling mid-size sedan

Hyundai’s Australian highlights include:

  • Hyundai’s result in March of 7,797 units (8.2% share) represents a +58.9% volume increase over its achievement of 4,907 units (6.5% share) in March 2009.
  • The i30 range ranked first in the small car segment, posting a best ever sales result of 3,678 units and a 16.4% market share.
  • Getz ranked second in the light car segment achieving 1,836 vehicle sales and a 15.1% market share.
  • In its first full month on sale, the all-new ix35 compact SUV achieved 533 units.
  • iLoad ranked second in the van segment after posting a sales result of 629 units and a 28.7% market share.
  • iMax ranked second in the people mover market, posting its best ever sales result of 290 units and market share of 23.5%.

Mazda Core Models Bolster Massive March

It was a double delight for Mazda Australia last month with the company celebrating its second-best ever March sales result and best ever end to a Japanese financial year.

According to March VFACTS figures released today Mazda Australia sold 7,453 new vehicles last month, up 21pc over the same month last year. Meanwhile the company has just wrapped up its best ever Japanese Financial Year with 79,829 sales.

Spearheading Mazda’s March spike were strong sales of the company’s core passenger and SUV models including the sporty and stylish small car Mazda3 with 3,562 sales – up 27.2pc over the same month last year. Year-to-date Mazda3 remains the country’s top-selling small car.

Off the back of a recent facelift the Mazda6 had a strong month with 758 sales which saw it regain its familiar position as Australia’s favourite imported medium car. This result gave Mazda a 14.5pc share in the medium car segment.

Meanwhile Mazda’s sporty and practical SUV CX-7 continues goes from strength to strength, consolidating its position amongst the top three preferred vehicles in the Compact SUV segment last month. A total 944 new CX-7s were sold in March. That’s up 228pc compared to the same month last year.

Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson said: “Mazda has two great reasons to celebrate this month. A best-ever end to a Japanese Financial year and an outstanding March result has placed us in good stead for another outstanding year ahead.”

Subaru Marches On

Subaru achieved record March sales of 3679 vehicles, according to official VFACTS figures released today.

Forester set a March sales record of 1382, 4.5 per cent up on the same month last year. It retained its best-selling SUV Compact status for the month and year-to-date (YTD).

Outback sales of 531 were up 73.5 per cent for the month and 109.4 per cent YTD. Combined Forester and Outback sales gave Subaru a commanding 19.8 per cent share of the SUV Compact segment in March.

Liberty sales of 576 placed the model up 54.1 per cent YTD.

Impreza sales of 1065 and Tribeca 125, completed an outstanding month in which Subaru sales were up 7.7 per cent on last March and 10.0 per cent YTD.

Record March Sales for Suzuki

Suzuki Australia has continued its strong start to 2010 with a record sales result for March.

A total of 2305 Suzukis were sold in March, surpassing the 2009 figure by 50.5 per cent. It made the March 2010 sales result the third best ever recorded by the company.

“The March result confirms that Suzuki is back on track as one of the country’s fastest growing brands,” said Suzuki Australia General Manager Tony Devers.

“More and more customers are waking up to the quality and outstanding value for money on offer at Suzuki dealers.

“With a new, more powerful and fuel efficient SX4 range and fantastic pricing on our environmental champion Alto sub-light car, our range has never looked better.

“Demand for Alto has exceeded current supply, but we have new stocks arriving this month to satisfy customers looking for Alto’s combination of outstanding fuel efficiency, zippy performance and four-star safety levels.”

Devers said the strong start to the year had the company in perfect position for the imminent launch of the exciting new Kizashi medium sized car.

“Customer inquiry on Suzuki’s first ever medium sized car has been overwhelming, and our dealer network is eagerly looking to May when the car goes on sale.”

TOYOTA: 60 MONTHS IN A ROW AT THE TOP

Toyota has recorded its 60th consecutive month as the top-selling car company in Australia.

Official figures released today show the milestone was achieved in March when Toyota sold more than 20,000 vehicles – a margin of 8,500 units or 72 per cent over its nearest rival.

Consumers bought 20,306 Toyota cars, SUVs and trucks in March – an increase of 22.3 per cent over the same month last year.

Toyota’s March result exceeded the combined totals of the second and third-placed car companies.

It propelled Toyota’s first-quarter result to more than 51,000 sales – giving it an overall market lead of 18,000 vehicles so far in 2010.

Toyota is the only carmaker to sell 20,000 vehicles in a single month and 50,000 in any three-month period.

March included an all-time Toyota Prado record of 2087 deliveries, lifting Toyota’s overall SUV sales almost 50 per cent over March 2009 to 5,659 – the company’s best SUV month ever.

It was also a March record – and the fourth-best month on record – for Toyota’s commercial-vehicle sales.

Toyota’s HiLux set a record first quarter (10,213).

Toyota led eight segments with Yaris, Camry, Prado, LandCruiser 200 Series, Hilux 4×4, HiLux 4×2, HiAce van and HiAce bus.

Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the March results and 60-month milestone, while significant, were not goals in themselves.

“Toyota and our dealers have always focused on being number one with each individual customer by doing our best to deliver the right vehicles and the right service at the right time,” Mr Buttner said.

“We are constantly striving to improve everything we do – and we regard sales records as one measure of our success in meeting the requirements of our customers.”

Mr Buttner said factors behind the industry’s healthy March sales included the improving economy and competitive retail offers.

He said last year’s investment allowance bonuses continued to contribute – perhaps by 5,000 or more sales across the industry in March alone.

“The underlying level of demand suggests the industry will achieve a full-year market in excess of 950,000 and probably quite a bit higher,” Mr Buttner.

“At this stage, we continue to believe the market will return above the one-million mark in 2011, although it may come tantalisingly close this year.”

April sales would be impacted by school holidays, the Easter break and the Anzac Day long weekend, with a return to stronger results in May and June.