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Australian vehicle sales for March 2014 – Corolla back on top

Australian new vehicle registration VFACTS figures for March 2014 have been released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, with the Toyota Corolla taking back the lead from the Mazda3 in the constant top-two battle.

2014 Toyota Corolla sedan

Overall sales are up on February figures as consumers settle in for the start of the year. Figures are just off what was achieved last year, down only 0.1 per cent. A slight jump in commercial vehicle sales helped boost overall figures. FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said large cars were also a popular choice in March. He said in a recent statement,

“Smaller sized car sales slowed in March, following strong sales throughout 2013. Sales in the micro passenger car segment dropped 15.8 per cent compared to the same month in 2013. Light passenger car sales fell 10.9 per cent, and small passenger car sales fell 4 per cent.”

As for the best-selling manufacturers, the top ten positions were jumbled up a bit from February’s standings. Toyota continues to dominate the market with four best-sellers in respective segments (Corolla, Camry, 86, and HiLux).

Holden has overtaken Mazda for second spot, while Nissan has overtaken Mitsubishi for fifth spot. Mercedes-Benz narrowly missed out on the top ten, selling 2688 vehicles during March. The top ten manufacturers were as follows:

1. Toyota – 18,275 (up from 16,200 of February)
2. Holden – 9851 (up from 8697)
3. Mazda – 9203 (up from 9171)
4. Hyundai – 8606 (up from 7802)
5. Ford – 7037 (up from 6287)
6. Nissan – 6014 (up from 4458)
7. Mitsubishi – 5432 (up from 4683)
8. Volkswagen – 4613 (up from 4376)
9. Subaru – 3812 (up from 3121)
10. Kia – 2762 (up from 2391)

Holden VF Commodore SS V Redline

In terms of the most popular vehicle for the month, Toyota has come through with sales of the Corolla, likely helped with the launch of the new Corolla sedan (pictured at top). It easily outsold the Mazda3, which was the previous month’s most popular. Sales of the Aussie Holden Commodore are climbing ever-so-close to third spot, snapping at the heels of the Toyota HiLux. The same models remain in the top five. The top five models in terms of outright sales for March 2014 were as follows:

1. Toyota Corolla – 4086 (up from 3332)
2. Mazda3 – 3587 (down from 3969)
3. Toyota HiLux – 3105 (down from 3348)
4. Holden Commodore – 2967 (up from 2777)
5. Hyundai i30 – 2767 (up from 2372)

Australian-made large sedans in the Large Cars under $70,000 category were overshadowed by the Holden Commodore, despite Ford Falcon sales increasing on the previous month. Ford sold 641 Falcons in March, up from 549, while Toyota sold 263 versions of the Aurion, down from 321 in February.

In the luxurious Large Cars over $70,000 category, sales dwindled across the board. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains the favourite, while the cool Jaguar XF overtook the BMW 5 Series for second place. The same models remained in the top five, albeit swapping positions. The top five vehicle sales figures in this segment were as follows:

1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 115 (down from 123 of February)
2. Jaguar XF – 83 (up from 67)
3. BMW 5 Series – 79 (up from 70)
4. Audi A6 – 55 (down from 65)
5. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 37 (down from 38)

Jaguar XFR

In the semi-sporty Medium Cars under $60,000 segment Toyota stood out like a sore thumb with sales of the Camry. No other vehicle got close to the 2085 units sold. The Mazda6 was the second favourite, as usual, posting 593 sales. Ford crept up into third place with 384 sales of the Mondeo, overtaking the Hyundai i40 from February.

Moving up a class, the Medium Cars over $60,000 segment, the standings remained untouched. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class was the favourite, followed by the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Lexus is getting very close to overtaking Audi for third spot with the fantastic new IS. The top five in this segment were as follows:

1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 532 (up from 512 of February)
2. BMW 3 Series – 339 (up from 260)
3. Audi A4 – 255 (up from 225)
4. Lexus IS – 248 (up from 217)
5. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 109 (down from 114)

2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Kicking off the driver’s segment in the Sports Car under $80,000, Toyota continues to enjoy success with the 86. Sales did drop a bit on February figures but it wasn’t enough to change the overall standing. BMW’s new 2 Series is going strong, holding onto third spot. Kia’s new pro_cee’d is already off to a flying start as well, jumping straight into fifth spot. The top five sellers in the category were as follows:

1. Toyota 86 – 397 (down from 453)
2. Hyundai Veloster – 296 (up from 273)
3. BMW 1/2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 218 (up from 174)
4. Subaru BRZ – 75 (up from 70)
5. Kia pro_cee’d – 68 (new model)

In the more desirable Sport Cars over $80,000 segment, BMW coupe and convertible sales just pushed in as the best-seller thanks to remaining 3 Series examples being sold off. The new 4 Series (replacement) is selling very strongly. The top five sellers in this category were as follows:

1. BMW 4 Series Coupe/Convertible including 3 Series – 297 (up from 189)
2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe – 282 (up from 224)
3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Cabrio – 125 (up from 76)
4. Audi A5 – 47 (down from 55)
5. Mercedes-Benz SLK – 42 (up from 29)

If you’re after an all-out sports car, the Sport Cars over $200,000 segment is the place to be. And the best-selling model is the legendary Porsche 911. It remains in top spot from February. BMW 6 Series sales are still lingering in second place, as though they are going to pounce on the 911 at any moment. Bentley made a surprise move into third spot. The top five in this category were as follows:

1. Porsche 911 – 26 (down from 31 of February)
2. BMW 6 Series – 21 (down from 22)
3. Bentley (models not specified) – 9 (up from 3)
=4. Jaguar XK – 8 (up from 4)
=4. Maserati (models not specified) – 8 (down from 10)
5. Ferrari (models not specified) – 5 (down from 10)

991 Porsche 911 Turbo

In the tradie’s favourite 4×4 ute segment, the Toyota HiLux is still the king. Sales rose almost across the board for all manufacturers. Behind the HiLux (2167) was the Ford Ranger (1803) and the Nissan Navara (1312).

As for the overall combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute sales, the HiLux is firmly planted in number one spot. Mitsubishi climbed into third spot with the Triton, up from sixth in February, while most of the others remained in the same positions. Sales were up for all companies except Toyota and Great Wall. The top ten 4×2 and 4×4 combined figures for March 2014 were as follows:

1. Toyota HiLux – 3105 (down from 3348 in February)
2. Ford Ranger – 2300 (up from 1901)
3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1573 (up from 1227)
4. Holden Colorado – 1543 (up from 1471)
5. Nissan Navara – 1517 (up from 1264)
6. Mazda BT-50 – 1270 (up from 1248)
7. Isuzu D-Max – 879 (up from 747)
8. Volkswagen Amarok – 860 (up from 623)
9. Great Wall V200 – 144 (down from 150)
10. Great Wall V240 – 79 (down from 82)

Mazda CX-5

Finally, in the SUV segments we saw a bit of movement in various categories. The Subaru XV was an extremely popular model for the month, as was the Mazda CX-5.

In the larger segments, the Toyota Prado overtook all to become the favourite in its segment, while the Audi Q5 pushed past to become the most popular in the prestige market.

BMW blasted into its segment with the brilliant new X5. Sales are going very strong for the updated model, easily outselling anything in the segment. It almost double its sales from February. The new Range Rover Sport also pushed its way into number two spot in the same segment.

2014 Toyota Prado

In all SUV segments, the top-sellers for March 2014 were as follows:

SUV Small under $40,000:

Hyundai ix35 – 1508 (up from 1491 of February)
Subaru XV – 1328 (up from 678)
Nissan Dualis – 762 (up from 727)

SUV Small above $40,000:

Audi Q3 – 235 (down from 263)
BMW X1 – 170 (down from 157)
MINI Countryman – 48 (up from 41)

SUV Medium under $60,000:

Mazda CX-5 – 1932 (up from 1752)
Toyota RAV4
– 1888 (up from 1614)
Subaru Forester – 1389 (up from 1165)

SUV Medium above $60,000:

Audi Q5 – 245 (up from 208)
Range Rover Evoque – 221 (down from 298)
BMW X3 – 196 (down from 212)

SUV Large under $70,000:

Toyota Prado – 1719 (up from 1275)
Jeep Grand Cherokee – 1368 (down from 1370)
Holden Captiva 7 – 1105 (up from 8o1)

SUV Large above $70,000:

BMW X5 – 428 (up from 226)
Land Rover Range Rover Sport – 281 (up from 144)
Mercedes-Benz M-Class – 230 (up from 207)

SUV Upper Large under $100,000:

Toyota LandCruiser – 812 (up from 771)
Nissan Patrol – 171 (up from 159)

SUV Upper Large above $100,000:

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class – 64 (up from 53)
Range Rover – 18 (down from 27)
Lexus LX – 3 (down from 15)

2014 BMW X5

Overall, new vehicle sales in Australia in March increased massively compared with February figures; 97,267 versus 86,818. Sales were a touch down compared with the same month in 2013 though, when 97,400 units were sold.

As for what fuel types buyers preferred in March, the sales figures for private buyers in terms of vehicle fuel were as follows (passenger, SUV, and light commercial combined):

Petrol – 38,480 (up from 33,713 of February)
Diesel – 12,250 (up from 10,814)
Hybrid – 318 (up from 311)
LPG – 25 (up from 21)
Electric – 10 (up from 8)

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.