SUVs provide momentum

The sales of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) continued to provide strong momentum to Australia’s new car market last month, with total April sales down slightly on last year but year-to-date sales running 3.3 per cent ahead of 2017.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

Total industry sales for April were 82,930, which is 0.2 per cent down on the same month last year, according to data released today by the industry’s official statistical service VFACTS.

However, the year-to-date total across the industry of 374,468 sales is viewed as a strong return, bolstered by the continued build in the SUV and light commercial (LC) vehicle categories.

SUVs accounted for 43.6 per cent of the April market, passenger cars for 33.2 per cent and light commercial vehicles 19.4 per cent.

Among the segments, SUVs were the stand out performers. Comparing last month with April 2017, the sale of small SUVs rose 33.3 per cent, medium SUVs climbed 12.8 per cent, large SUVs lifted 3.7 per cent and upper large SUVs surged 20.6 per cent.

SUV sales to private and business customers showed strong April gains, up 15.3 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively. Private light commercial sales dipped by 13.6 per cent, while light commercial business sales fell 3.6 per cent during April

Among the passenger car segments, micro-cars had another good month with a sales gain of 8.6 per cent.

The steady performance of the national April market came despite NSW, historically Australia’s largest state for sales, showing a fall in monthly volume of 5.5 per cent. However, four states and territories produced gains with Western Australia climbing 7.3 per cent, South Australia up by 3.5 per cent, Victoria by 2.1 per cent and Queensland by 1.9 per cent.

The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that although April was the first month of 2018 in which the industry had not bettered its results of last year, the industry was tracking strongly.

“There’s good reason to be confident about how sales nationally are tracking given we are a third of the way through the calendar year,” Mr Weber said.

“The market dynamic has changed with the growth of SUVs but brands have adapted quickly to that change and the new products coming into those growth segments clearly have strong consumer appeal.”

The Toyota Hilux light commercial was the top-seller during April with 3,596 sales, followed by the Toyota Corolla with 2,979, then the Ford Ranger (2,796), Mazda3 (2,261) and the Toyota LandCruiser (2,018).

Toyota was the April market leader with a 20.1 per cent share, followed by Mazda (9.3 per cent), Hyundai (8.6%), Mitsubishi (6.6%) and Ford (5.8%).

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