Australian vehicle sales for March 2018 (VFACTS)

The 2018 March VFACTS figures for new vehicle registrations in Australia have been released, with local buyers snapping up 4.4 per cent more vehicles in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year.

Kicking off with the most popular vehicle manufacturers, Toyota continues its winning streak. In fact, it has passed over the 50,000 vehicles mark in just three months of the year, reporting 52,465 sales. The nearest, Mazda, sold 29,749.

In the month of March alone Mitsubishi has taken a big jump up into third spot, ahead of Hyundai, with Ford rounding out the top five as usual. Frighteningly, Holden is down into 10th spot, which is a massive drop in the rankings compared with this time last year when it was in fifth. See below for the top 10 best-selling brands during March 2018.

  1. Toyota – 18,878 (up from 18,281 of February 2018 sales)
  2. Mazda – 9723 (down from 9913)
  3. Mitsubishi – 8810 (up from 7142)
  4. Hyundai – 8443 (up from 8001)
  5. Ford – 6687 (up from 6059)
  6. Nissan – 6191 (up from 4863)
  7. Honda – 5586 (up from 4962)
  8. Subaru – 5195 (up from 3901)
  9. Volkswagen – 5137 (up from 4671)
  10. Holden – 5116 (up from 4689)

In terms of the best-selling vehicle models, it’s the unstoppable Toyota HiLux that has once again posted the highest figure. Further down the ranks, Mitsubishi ASX sales went through the roof in March, earning it eighth spot, while the Mazda CX-5 is pushed down to ninth to make way for the Nissan X-Trail. It’s sad to see the Holden Commodore is no longer a member of the top 10 club. The top 10 best-selling vehicles for March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4348 (down from 4426)
  2. Ford Ranger – 4064 (up from 3544)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 3218 (down from 3270)
  4. Mitsubishi Triton – 3109 (up from 1894)
  5. Mazda3 – 2780 (down from 2935)
  6. Hyundai i30 – 2719 (up from 2182)
  7. Nissan X-Trail – 2504 (up from 1622)
  8. Mitsubishi ASX – 2337 (up from 902)
  9. Mazda CX-5 – 2261 (up from 2191)
  10. Toyota RAV4 – 1952 (up from 1841)

Small Cars under $40,000 – In the fight between the rental-car-ready small car category, the Toyota Corolla maintains top spot from the previous month. The Mazda3 remains in second but it is very closely followed by the Hyundai i30. Most of the other standings remain the same except the Subaru Impreza moves up a couple of spots from February. The top 10 best-selling small cars in March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 3218 (down from 3270)
  2. Mazda3 – 2780 (down from 2935)
  3. Hyundai i30 – 2719 (up from 2182)
  4. Volkswagen Golf – 1713 (up from 1649)
  5. Kia Cerato – 1659 (up from 1491)
  6. Honda Civic – 1464 (up from 1409)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 1036 (up from 824)
  8. Holden Astra – 906 (down from 1008)
  9. Ford Focus – 386 (down from 516)
  10. Mitsubishi Lancer – 250 (down from 938)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Toyota Camry sales appear to have dropped off a bit with the departure of the Aussie-made model and the arrival of the all-new, overseas-built version. Sales are down 19.1 per cent year-to-date but it is still very much in the lead. The top five best-selling models in this class for March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1416 (up from 1381 of February)
  2. Mazda6 – 306 (up from 233)
  3. Ford Mondeo – 214 (up from 196)
  4. Volkswagen Passat – 165 (up from 143)
  5. Subaru Liberty – 153 (up from 140)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Moving up into luxury, the Mercedes C-Class continues its dominance here. Sales more than doubled the nearest rival, with only in-house competition from the CLA getting close. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 610 (up from 495)
  2. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 399 (up from 292)
  3. BMW 3 Series – 275 (up from 238)
  4. Audi A4 – 126 (up from 112)
  5. Lexus IS – 125 (up from 94)

Large Cars under $70,000 – It seems Holden Commodore sales are steadying following the killing off of the Aussie-made version. Some examples are probably still floating around holding yards and so on and will still be sold new for the next few months we’d say. But so far Commodore sales have been cut in half, down 53.7 per cent year-to-date. The Toyota Aurion, which also went out of production last year, was down to just 17 sales in March. This leaves the door open for the Kia Stinger and the such to move up the leaderboard. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 990 (up from 737 from February)
  2. Kia Stinger – 184 (up from 174)
  3. Skoda Superb – 69 (up from 66)
  4. Toyota Aurion – 17 (down from 26)
  5. Ford Falcon – 0 (down from 2)

Large Cars over $70,000 – In the premium class, the BMW 5 Series has overtaken the often-favourite Mercedes E-Class for March. The Audi A7 creeps into the top five, we see, and the Maserati Ghibli is shifted out. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class in March 2018 were as follows:

  1. BMW 5 Series – 115 (up from 73)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 99 (up from 93)
  3. Audi A6 – 51 (up from 11)
  4. Audi A7 – 22 (up from 6)
  5. Jaguar XF – 13 (up from 7)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Into the fun stuff, Ford Mustang sales are still galloping along. The arrival of the new model later this year should see the figure spike again, if production can meet demand. BMW 2 Series sales are continuing pretty strongly, while the Toyota 86 and Hyundai Veloster are back at it again. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 705 (up from 492 of February)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 159 (down from 175)
  3. Hyundai Veloster – 105 (up from 56)
  4. Toyota 86 – 102 (up from 88)
  5. Mazda MX-5 – 98 (down from 123)
    (Subaru WRX – 255 [up from 181] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – Up into the more serious stuff and we see the Mercedes C-Class two-door is flying high. Audi A5 sales are climbing close too, while the Lexus RC sneaks into fifth spot. The top five best-selling models in this category for March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 185 (up from 134)
  2. Audi A5 – 100 (up from 62)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 58 (up from 37)
  4. BMW 4 Series Coupe – 50 (down from 52)
  5. Lexus RC – 49 (up from 37)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – In the real exotic section of the market, the Porsche 911 remains the king. Ferrari sales are looking good, following constant appearance in the top five. Ferrari sales are up 15.4 per cent year-to-date, which is higher than Lamborghini (up 12.1 per cent) and McLaren (down 11.1 per cent). The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 45 (down from 63)
  2. Mercedes-AMG GT – 18 (down from 26)
  3. Ferrari (not specified) – 17 (up from 16)
  4. Lamborghini (not specified) – 14 (up from 13)
  5. Aston Martin – 11/Maserati coupe – 11

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – Tradies and families are swarming to the utes, and most are going to Toyota according to the numbers. There were no major changes in the top 10 rankings in March, only the D-Max moved up into fourth spot, and the Colorado up into sixth. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for March 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4348 (down from 4426 from February)
  2. Ford Ranger – 4064 (up from 3544)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 3109 (up from 1894)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 1747 (up from 1222)
  5. Nissan Navara – 1536 (down from 1779)
  6. Holden Colorado – 1487 (up from 1039)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 1170 (down from 1203)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 865 (up from 611)
  9. Great Wall Steed – 48 (up from 31)
  10. All remaining models posted 0 sales

Into the booming SUV segments, the Mitsubishi ASX set an awesome pace in March, while the new BMW X3 set its segment on fire with stellar numbers. The Toyota Prado also reported big figures, bigger than usual anyway, but the Nissan X-Trial was the star of the show. The X-Trail overtook the CX-5 to be the best-selling SUV for the month.

During March, the ‘Medium under $60,000’ segment was the most popular, posting 15,985 sales, up 40.7 per cent on March 2017. The ‘Small under $40,000’ segment moves back into second spot, reporting 11,714 sales, up 36.1 per cent. This leaves the ‘Large under $70,000’ category for third, with 10,122 sales, down 7.2 per cent on March 2017.

The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories for March 2018 were as follows:

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 2337 (up from 902)
    Nissan Qashqai – 1497 (up from 866)
    Subaru XV – 1416 (up from 1045)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 401 (up from 323)
    BMW X1 – 209 (down from 349)
    Audi Q2 – 190 (down from 265)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Nissan X-Trail – 2504 (up from 1622)
    Mazda CX-5 – 2261 (up from 2191)
    Toyota RAV4 – 1952 (up from 1841)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    BMW X3 – 626 (up from 361)
    Audi Q5 – 438 (up from 414)
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 431 (up from 350)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 1677 (up from 1323)
    Toyota Kluger – 1144 (down from 1420)
    Subaru Outback – 1107 (up from 821)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    Range Rover Sport – 289 (up from 194)
    BMW X5 – 242 (down from 254)
    Lexus RX – 229 (up from 144)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 1276 (up from 1085)
    Nissan Patrol – 163 (up from 123)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class/GL – 85 (up from 81)
    Lexus LX – 27 (up from 24)
    Range Rover – 16 (down from 25)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in March were up on February figures. During March, Australian consumers bought 106,988 vehicles according to VFACTS compared with 95,999 in February. Sales for the month are up 1.5 per cent compared with March 2017, and year-to-date sales are up 4.4 per cent.

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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