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In some encouraging news for the industry, Australia’s new vehicle market grew 6.1 per cent in the first two months of 2018 compared with the same period last year.

Last month’s industry total of 95,999 was an increase of 7.8 per cent over February last year and lifted the 2018 year-to-date cumulative total to 184,550.

This pattern maintains strong industry momentum at an important time.

Comparing last month’s outcomes with those of February 2017, many key segments of the market produced positive results with light passenger cars up by 10.3 per cent, small passenger cars up by 9.4 per cent and three of the four SUV segments showing double-digit growth.

Small SUVs climbed 21.4 per cent compared with February 2017, mediums SUVs by 17.1 per cent and upper large by 12.9 per cent.

SUVs remained the dominant segment with 41.5 per cent of the February market, with passenger cars holding a 35.9 per cent share, and light commercials continuing their steady climb to a 19.5 per cent share.

Light commercials produced strong gains again in the two key light truck segments, with 4×2 pick-up and cab chassis models up by 7.1 per cent (compared with February 2017) and 4WD versions increasing by 17.9 per cent.

All the states and territories produced sales gains during February compared with the same month last year. The strongest result was for Victoria which increased 14.2 per cent, followed by Tasmania with 11.8 per cent, Western Australia with 10 per cent, then the ACT (+9.7%), Queensland (+6.0%), South Australia (+5.8%), NSW (+3.4%) and the NT (+1.3%).

Business sales rose 11.8 per cent for passenger cars and 18.7 per cent for SUVs during February, while private sales for SUVs gained 4.1 per cent. Total business sales rose by 16.5 per cent compared with February 2017.

The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that the strong 2018 growth provided further proof that the fiercely competitive nature of the Australian new vehicle market was providing strong value for the consumer.

“Consumers are supporting the value propositions that the brands are offering,” Mr Weber said.

“To have the market already running 6.1 per cent ahead of last year’s record total indicates that consumer confidence is still strong, and all those elements which underpin our economy remain in position.”

Toyota was the market leader for February with a 19 per cent share, followed by Mazda with 10.3 per cent, Hyundai with 8.3 per cent, Mitsubishi (7.4%) and Ford (6.3%).

The Toyota Hilux, which led the market last year, maintained its top-seller position in February with 4,426 sales, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,544 sales), Toyota Corolla (3,270), Mazda3 (2,935) and the Mazda CX-5 (2,191).

Key Points:

  • The February 2018 market of 95,999 new vehicle sales is an increase of 6,974 vehicle sales or 7.8% on February 2017 (89,025) vehicle sales. February 2018 (24) had the same number of selling days as February 2017, which resulted in an increase of 290.6 vehicle sales per day.
  • The Passenger Vehicle Market is down by 250 vehicle sales (-0.7%) over the same month last year; the Sports Utility Market is up by 4,303 vehicle sales (12.1%); the Light Commercial Market is up by 2,195 vehicle sales (13.3%); and the Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market is up by 726 vehicle sales (31.9%) versus February 2017.
  • Toyota was the market leader in February, followed by Mazda and Hyundai. Toyota led Mazda with a margin of 8,368 vehicle sales and 8.7 market share points.