11 January 2010
The optimists were wrong. This time last year they were predicting
total new vehicle sales in the range of 875,000 to 880,000 for the
calendar year of 2009. Considering that the pessimists were
talking numbers as low as the high 700s, those who forecast
numbers 100,000 higher certainly raised eyebrows.
The final new vehicle sales for 2009 surprised everyone when
announced by the industry statistician VFacts – coming in at
It wasn’t all good news, as the market was down 7.4 per cent on
the record sales of 1,012,164 in the boom year of 2008, the only
time the market has exceeded one million. But given the tremendous
upheaval in the global financial system that began midway through
2008, the sales figures for Australia are remarkably good.
Major investment incentives by the Australian government played a
big part in the much stronger than expected vehicle sales, but the
overall optimism in the Australian economy, and that of the
Australian consumer, certainly played important parts in the
Toyota Australia continues to be the number one player in
Australia, as it has been for the last seven years. Its market
share was 21.4%. However, Toyota's sales drop of 15.9% was
substantially more than 7.4% of the overall market. Toyota's
director of sales and marketing, David Buttner says the company
probably acted in an overly conservative manner in the early
months of 2009 and was unable to claw back in the final stages of
Still, Toyota has made a huge mark on the global automotive scene
over the decades by being conservative and is highly respected by
its customers for that attitude.
The other two local car makers, Holden and Ford, were closer to
the average in their sales figures. Their sales were down 8.3% and
Actual sales numbers of the top three: Toyota 200,991, Holden
119,568, Ford 96,501. Mazda , fourth overall, continued to be the
number one importer, selling 77,739 vehicles.
Hyundai, in fifth position overall, went totally in the opposite
direction to every other player on the Australia market –
increasing its sales by an astonishing 39.2% to 63,207. The
decrease in the value of the Korean won compared to the Australia
dollar was a major factor, but there's no overlooking the part the
European inspired Hyundai i30 played in leap in sales. Australians
have bought it in large numbers, some 21,414 being retailed during
Holden Commodore continued to be the biggest selling car in
Australia, with 44,387. Toyota's evergreen Corolla had 39,013
sales and Australians’ love affair with utes continued, with the
Toyota HiLux being in third position with 38,457 sales. HiLux
actually managed to be in number one position overall on three
occasions during the year.
Fourth spot in sales went to the Mazda3 (35,298), followed by
Falcon (31,023). The latter was a disappointing figure for Ford
Australia considering arch rival Commodore's continued strong
sales. The remaining cars in the top 10 were Hyundai i30,
Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Getz and Toyota Yaris.
Predictions for 2010? Given the wildly inaccurate forecasts for
2009, the gurus are understandably reluctant to come up with
numbers in these early days of the year. But the general feeling
is that sales this calendar year will be similar to those for
2009. This sounds reasonable because there has been a pull forward
of sales to meet the investment incentives and this could slow the
initial few months of 2010.
Looking further ahead, there is already speculation that we could
reach the magic million vehicle sales in Australia again in 2011.
Marque Publishing Company