2013 was a record year for Australian vehicle sales with 1.14 million units sold. So how has 2014 kicked off? The latest F.C.A.I. VFACTS data shows January has been a soft month for new vehicle sales.
80,485 light passenger vehicles were sold, down 3.6% on the same month last year. Sales have fallen in most states, with the exception of NSW and ACT, with the largest drop in WA down 14.6% on January 2013. The VFACTS data suggests the decline in sales is mainly attributable to businesses reining in their fleet purchases.
The main growth segments are small passenger and small SUV vehicles. Sales of light passenger vehicles continue the same downward trend observed across 2013. Two of the main growth segments in 2013, the 4x4 UTE and large SUV, have experienced a noticeable drop in sales in the first month of the year. The combined slowdown of vehicle sales in WA and the light commercial segment may be a reflection of the changing fortunes of the mining and natural resources sector. Businesses have also held back from purchasing heavy commercial vehicles, sales of which are down 6.6% on January 2013.
In the battle of the brands, Toyota still retains the top spot with a 16.6% share, but lower than the overall market share of 18.9% achieved in 2013. Mazda has forged ahead to take the number two spot. Other notable mentions include Jeep, continuing last year’s success with a growth rate of 22.2%. Audi has also experienced similar year on year growth, selling 1,685 units up 25% on the same month last year. Meanwhile Nissan, Ford and Honda all posted disappointing sales figures in January.
Mazda’s early growth has been spear-headed by the sale of discounted run-out models of the old Mazda 3. The new, third generation model was launched on 1 February, and is likely to be a competitive rival to the Toyota Corolla, the star of 2013. We expect Toyota’s new Corolla sedan to give the Mazda 3 a good run for its money over the course of the year. The Toyota Hilux holds on to third spot in the best-selling model table and both the Hyundai i30 and the Holden Commodore record strong year on year growth to take the 4th and 5th spots respectively.
ACA Research regularly monitors the Australian automotive industry and collates and compiles market data from various sources, including industry bodies, government statistics and trade reports. ACA Research is also planning to conduct detailed research into the buying behaviours of managers of larger business fleets, the results of which will be made available to sponsoring clients. Please contact us if you would be interested in discussing this further. Or if you are interested subscribe to our monthly newsletter, In The Headlights, for all the latest automotive research and insights.