With new cars now more affordable than ever, Australian buyers have responded with a new record of 1,112,032 sales in 2012.
For the 10th consecutive year Toyota was the market leader with sales of 218,176 – that’s a growth rate of 20.1 per-cent, almost double the industry average of 10.3 per-cent. In fact all three local manufacturers ranked in the top five – Holden at number two (114,665), and Ford in fifth position (90,408).
Third-placed Mazda was the leading importer with sales of 103,886 and for the second year in a row, Mazda3 was Australia’s most popular model with sales of 44,128 –ahead of second-place Toyota HiLux (40,646). Another pickup, the Nissan Navara, was the eighth best-selling model (26,045).
While seven of the top 10 best-selling models were imported vehicles, three locally-produced models were included – Holden Commodore (number four), Holden Cruze (number five) and Toyota Camry (number eight).
Mazda sales beat 100,000 for the first time ever – up by 17.6 per-cent over 2011, helped by the continuing popularity of the Mazda3 and the remarkable success of the all-new CX-5 mid-size SUV – enabling the Japanese giant to beat Hyundai for the honour of best-selling full import brand.
But Volkswagen was the biggest mover with sales up by 22.6 per-cent to 54,835 to secure eighth position overall, just 4,000 units behind seventh-placed Mitsubishi. However it wasn’t all good news for Volkswagen with the commercial vehicles operation losing some ground – Caravelle sales down by 37.2 per-cent, Transporter sales down by 6.1 per-cent and Caddy/Camper sales down by 4.4 per-cent.
Overall, industry analysts point to the 2012 record as being the fifth time in the last six years local new cars sales have surpassed 1.0-million (the exception being GFC-decimated 2009) as proof of the market’s diversification (67 brands now represented compared to 54 in 2003) and vehicle affordability. On top of the unprecedented low-rate finance offers, vehicle prices are at record lows - looking at average wages and average new car prices it took 40 weeks’ salary to buy a new car in 1991, but these days it’s just 30 weeks.
Further evidence too of shifts in demand. Of course, SUV sales continued to grow – now up to 27.5 per-cent of the total at 305,825 – however after a few years of declining sales, the passenger car segment bounced-back a tad in 2012 – up 3.1 per-cent to 51.9 per-cent of the market.
In the battle amongst the luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz finished the year on-top with sales of 22,397 (up by 1,217 over 2011), ahead of BMW with 18,413 (up by 905).
The 2012 top-sellers were: