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Australian vehicle sales for December 2017 (VFACTS) – best of the year

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. It comes around quick, doesn’t it? The national VFACTS figures for new vehicle registrations for December 2017 have been released, exposing the best-selling cars and car brands of the year.

Starting with vehicle brands, Toyota has come through on top once again for both December and for the year in total. However, we see a number of changes in the top 10 list during the month of December specifically. Holden shifted up into second spot, thanks to huge Astra sales, while Mitsubishi moved up into third thanks to strong ASX and Pajero Sport sales. See below for the top 10 best-selling brands for December 2017 and for 2017 overall.

  1. Toyota – 17,081 (down from 18,804 of November 2017 sales)
  2. Holden – 12,179 (up from 7955)
  3. Mazda – 9102 (down from 9330)
  4. Mitsubishi – 9019 (up from 6678)
  5. Hyundai – 6182 (down from 8781)
  6. Ford – 5636 (down from 6275)
  7. Volkswagen – 5136 (down from 5364)
  8. Honda – 5041 (up from 4431)
  9. Subaru – 4132 (down from 4265)
  10. Kia – 4007 (down from 4305)

Top 10 vehicle brands in 2017 overall:

  1. Toyota – 216,566 (up from 209,610 in 2016)
  2. Mazda – 116,349 (down from 118,217)
  3. Hyundai – 97,013 (down from 101,555)
  4. Holden – 90,306 (down from 94,308)
  5. Mitsubishi – 80,654 (up from 73,368)
  6. Ford – 78,161 (down from 81,207)
  7. Volkswagen – 58,004 (up from 56,571)
  8. Nissan – 56,594 (down from 66,826)
  9. Kia – 54,737 (up from 42,668)
  10. Subaru – 52,511 (up from 47,018)

As for the top-selling car models, the HiLux has come through on top in both December figures and for 2017 overall. But, we do see there has been a bit of a shuffle in the top 10 list for the month.

The Holden Astra charges into number two spot, while the Holden Colorado also posted decent figures. Interestingly, four utes make up the top 10, pushing otherwise popular passenger car models such as the Corolla and Mazda3 down the list. The top 10 best-selling vehicles for December 2017 and 2017 overall were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3949 (down from 4103 in November)
  2. Holden Astra – 3532 (up from 1480)
  3. Ford Ranger – 3458 (down from 3576)
  4. Holden Colorado – 3222 (up from 1901)
  5. Mazda3 – 2807 (up from 2464)
  6. Mitsubishi Triton – 2645 (up from 1752)
  7. Toyota Corolla – 2641 (down from 2959)
  8. Holden Commodore – 2229 (up from 1835)
  9. Mitsubishi ASX – 2128 (up from 1948)
  10. Mazda CX-5 – 2113 (down from 2358)

Top 10 models for 2017 overall:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 47,093 (up from 42,104 in 2016)
  2. Ford Ranger – 42,728 (up from 36,934)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 37,353 (down from 40,330)
  4. Mazda3 – 32,690 (down from 36,107)
  5. Hyundai i30 – 28,780 (down from 37,772)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 25,831 (up from 24,564)
  7. Hyundai Tucson – 23,828 (up from 20,132)
  8. Holden Commodore – 23,676 (down from 25,860)
  9. Toyota Camry – 23,620 (down from 26,485)
  10. Mitsubishi Triton – 23,605 (up from 21,987)

Small Cars under $40,000 – Toyota has lost out to the arch rival Mazda3 during December, but it was also overshadowed by the Holden Astra. Holden must have scored a major fleet sales deal during the month, skyrocketing Astra figures to 3532 units. This is more than double the units it sold during November. The top 10 best-selling small cars in December and 2017 overall were as follows:

  1. Holden Astra – 3532 (up from 1480)
  2. Mazda3 – 2807 (up from 2464)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 2641 (down from 2959)
  4. Volkswagen Golf – 1759 (down from 1761)
  5. Honda Civic – 1725 (up from 1439)
  6. Hyundai i30 – 1467 (down from 2227)
  7. Kia Cerato – 1278 (down from 1476)
  8. Subaru Impreza – 829 (down from 909)
  9. Mitsubishi Lancer – 801 (up from 766)
  10. Ford Focus – 454 (down from 464)

Top 10 models for 2017 overall:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 37,353 (down from 40,330 in 2016)
  2. Mazda3 – 32,690 (down from 36,107)
  3. Hyundai i30 – 28,780 (down from 37,772)
  4. Kia Cerato – 18,731 (up from 13,111)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 18,454 (down from 19,470)
  6. Honda Civic – 14,672 (up from 7028)
  7. Holden Astra – 13,535 (up from 448)
  8. Subaru Impreza – 11,903 (up from 4731)
  9. Mitsubishi Lancer – 7560 (up from 7272)
  10. Ford Focus – 5953 (down from 6783)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Toyota is still dominating this segment, despite the Aussie-built Camry being replaced by the US-spec model. During December the sales took a bit of a dive from the previous month, however, it still remains the nameplate of choice. The top five best-selling models in this class for December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1209 (down from 1913 of November)
  2. Mazda6 – 271 (down from 364)
  3. Volkswagen Passat – 207 (down from 260)
  4. Ford Mondeo – 138 (down from 211)
  5. Skoda Octavia – 137 (down from 231)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Toyota Camry – 23,620 (down from 26,485 in 2016)
  2. Mazda6 – 3647 (down from 4369)
  3. Ford Mondeo – 2959 (down from 3122)
  4. Volkswagen Passat – 2463 (down from 3090)
  5. Subaru Liberty – 2023 (down from 3495)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Mercedes has held onto the title with the C-Class, both for the year and during December. Meanwhile Audi has moved up into third spot with the A4, overtaking the BMW 3 Series during the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 737 (up from 650)
  2. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 333 (up from 262)
  3. Audi A4 – 197 (up from 104)
  4. BMW 3 Series – 150 (down from 214)
  5. Lexus IS – 91 (up from 89)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 8549 (down from 9373 in 2016)
  2. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 3445 (down from 3795)
  3. BMW 3 Series – 2584 (down from 3975)
  4. Audi A4 – 2177 (down from 2963)
  5. Lexus IS – 1524 (down from 1594)

Large Cars under $70,000 – Holden has posted impressive sales of the Commodore, despite local production ending earlier in 2017. This is probably due to the leftover stock being sold off with special offers in preparation for the new Commodore arriving in February. December marked the first month we see zero Ford Falcon sales, over a year after local production ended. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 2229 (up from 1835)
  2. Kia Stinger – 130 (down from 151)
  3. Toyota Aurion – 95 (down from 147)
  4. Skoda Superb – 58 (down from 80)
  5. Peugeot 508 – 8 (down from 17)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Holden Commodore – 23,676 (down from 25,860 in 2016)
  2. Toyota Aurion – 2701 (down from 3833)
  3. Skoda Superb – 984 (up from 733)
  4. Kia Stinger – 504 (new model)
  5. Ford Falcon – 210 (down from 4434)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Up in the business class… class, the Mercedes E-Class has forged a deep leading groove, with its next nearest rival, the BMW 5 Series, far behind. Looking at the total yearly sales of the two however, shows the 5 Series isn’t actually that far behind.

For the month of December, we see the Volvo S90 has joined the front runners for the first time. In the previous month we saw the new Genesis G80 report some figures, however, the new badge reported no sales in December. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment in December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 130 (up from 126)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 62 (down from 63)
  3. Audi A6 – 29 (up from 14)
  4. Volvo S90 – 20 (up from 13)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 19 (down from 23)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 1896 (up from 1271 in 2016)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 1245 (up from 545)
  3. Audi A6 – 315 (down from 517)
  4. Jaguar XF – 249 (down from 433)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 219 (down from 330)

Sports Car under $80,000 – In the entry level sports car category the Ford Mustang has powered through the entire year, and reported decent figures for the month of December. The Toyota 86 has made a comeback for the month, with the Mazda MX-5 and BMW 2 Series setting equal numbers. We anticipate the Hyundai Veloster figures to spike later this year with the arrival of the next-gen model. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 451 (down from 711 of November)
  2. Toyota 86 – 99 (up from 91)
  3. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 92 (down from 126)/Mazda MX-5 – 92 (up from 90)
  4. Hyundai Veloster – 90 (down from 144)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 78 (up from 61)
    (Subaru WRX – 231 [down from 269] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Ford Mustang – 9165 (up from 6208 in 2016)
  2. Hyundai Veloster – 1935 (down from 2232)
  3. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 1750 (down from 2159)
  4. Toyota 86 – 1619 (down from 2068)
  5. Mazda MX-5 – 1459 (down from 1577)
    (Subaru WRX – 2614 [down from 2936] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – Turning up the heat a bit, and it’s the Mercedes C-Class two-door that takes the crown for December and for 2017 in this class. Sitting well behind is its arch rival from BMW, the 4 Series, however, for the month of December specifically the Audi A5 came home in second spot. The top five best-selling models in this category for December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 164 (down from 171)
  2. Audi A5 – 105 (up from 60)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 58 (up from 50)
  4. BMW 4 Series Coupe – 56 (up from 53)
  5. Audi TT – 32 (up from 26)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 2818 (up from 2524 in 2016)
  2. BMW 4 Series – 1057 (down from 1551)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 688 (down from 691)
  4. Audi A5 – 600 (up from 375)
  5. Lexus RC – 370 (down from 518)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – In the chief sports car segment Ferrari has come out on top for the month of December, backing up its top spot in November. The Italian brand sold an impressive 32 vehicles, followed by 29 for the Porsche 911, and 21 McLaren units for the month. Overall for the year it’s the Porsche 911 that takes the crown. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Ferrari (not specified) – 32 (down from 39)
  2. Porsche 911 – 29 (up from 15)
  3. McLaren (not specified) – 21 (up from 9)
  4. Bentley (not specified) – 14/Mercedes-AMG GT – 14
  5. Lamborghini (not specified) – 12/Audi R8 – 12
  6. Aston Martin – 11 (up from 10)

Top 5 for 2017 overall:

  1. Porsche 911 – 431 (up from 422)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 210 (up from 188)
  3. Mercedes-AMG GT – 149 (up from 58)
  4. Aston Martin (not specified) – 134 (up from 103)
  5. Lamborghini – 122 (down from 127)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – There were no changes in the sales rankings for the month of December compared with November, with the Toyota HiLux remaining king, closely followed by the Ford Ranger.

For the entire year of 2017, the HiLux came through on top again, while the rest of the top 10 remained pretty settled in their positions from last year, however, the Isuzu D-Max moved up into fifth from sixth. The Great Wall Steed also overtook the Foton Tunland. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for December and all of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3949 (down from 4103 from November)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3458 (down from 3576)
  3. Holden Colorado – 3222 (up from 1901)
  4. Mitsubishi Triton – 2645 (up from 1752)
  5. Isuzu D-Max – 2053 (up from 1699)
  6. Nissan Navara – 1480 (up from 1360)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 1024 (down from 1058)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 629 (down from 716)
  9. Great Wall Steed – 34 (up from 19)
  10. All remaining models posted 0 sales

Top 10 for 2017 overall:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 47,093 (up from 42,104 in 2016)
  2. Ford Ranger – 42,728 (up from 36,934)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 23,605 (up from 21,987)
  4. Holden Colorado – 21,579 (up from 18,386)
  5. Isuzu D-Max – 17,717 (up from 16,359)
  6. Nissan Navara – 16,532 (down from 16,755)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 14,119 (down from 14,504)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 9282 (up from 8261)
  9. Great Wall Steed – 594 (up from 99)
  10. Foton Tunland – 371 (down from 839)

Lastly, the SUV segments. We see the Mazda CX-5 has been the most popular SUV of all segments in 2017, just edging out in front of the Hyundai Tucson. The CX-5 has been the most popular SUV in the country every year consecutively since 2013.

During the month of December only, the Mitsubishi ASX claimed the title. Other interesting highlights for December include the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport posting impressive figures, good enough for second place, while the Range Rover Sport excelled in its class.

During all of 2017, the ‘Medium under $60,000’ segment posted the most sales of any other segment, with 164,835 units, which is up 15.6 per cent on 2016. The ‘Large under $70,000’ class came in second, reporting 116,099 sales, down 2.0 per cent on 2016, with ‘Small under $40,000’ rounding out the top three segments with 104,730 sales, up 6.6 per cent.

The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories for December and for all of 2017 were as follows:

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 2128 (up from 1948 from November)
    Mazda CX-3 – 1286 (down from 1405)
    Subaru XV – 1096 (down from 1111)
    Overall for 2017
    Mitsubishi ASX – 19,403 (up from 18,126 in 2016)
    Mazda CX-3 – 17,490 (down from 18,334)
    Nissan Qashqai – 13,495 (up from 12,259)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 259 (down from 293)
    Audi Q2 – 218 (up from 214)
    BMW X1 – 182 (down from 217)
    Overall in 2017
    BMW X1 – 3658 (down from 4090)
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 3321 (down from 3766)
    Audi Q3 – 2843 (down from 3634)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Mazda CX-5 – 2113 (down from 2358)
    Toyota RAV4 – 1823 (down from 1950)
    Nissan X-Trail – 1737 (down from 1765)
    Overall in 2017
    Mazda CX-5 – 25,831 (up from 24,564)
    Hyundai Tucson – 23,828 (up from 20,132)
    Toyota RAV4 – 21,077 (up from 19,526)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 460 (up from 404)
    Land Rover Discovery Sport – 455 (up from 246)
    Audi Q5 – 410 (up from 375)
    Overall in 2017
    Land Rover Discovery Sport – 4547 (up from 4432)
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 4109 (down from 4454)
    BMW X3 – 3671 (down from 3824)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    Range Rover Sport – 298 (up from 186)
    Land Rover Discovery – 204 (up from 183)
    BMW X5
     – 186 (down from 226)
    Overall in 2017
    BMW X5 – 3582 (down from 4181)
    Range Rover Sport – 2983 (down from 3099)
    Audi Q7 – 2664 (down from 2908)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 1021 (down from 1101)
    Nissan Patrol – 63 (down from 122)
    Overall in 2017
    Toyota LandCruiser – 12,814 (up from 11,813)
    Nissan Patrol – 916 (down from 2003)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class/GL – 53 (up from 43)
    Range Rover – 40 (down from 42)
    Lexus LX – 17 (down from 26)
    Overall in 2017
    Mercedes-Benz GLS – 926 (up from 847)
    Range Rover – 436 (down from 454)
    Lexus LX – 324 (up from 285)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in December were up on November figures. During December, Australian consumers bought 102,820 vehicles according to VFACTS compared with 101,365 in November. Overall sales for the month are up 4.1 per cent compared with December 2016, and up 0.9 per cent year-to-date.

Australians bought 1,189,116 vehicles during the entire 2017 year, up from 1,178,133 during all of 2016.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.

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