Australian vehicle sales for August 2018 (VFACTS)

It’s that time of the month again. New vehicle sales stats for August 2018 have been released, in the form of the national VFACTS report, and it looks like sales are slightly down, by 0.3 per cent, for the first eight months of the year compared with last year.

Toyota remains as the favourite new vehicle brand, reporting a 1.5 per cent increase across year-to-date (YTD) figures. August sales specifically are up 1.7 per cent compared with August 2017. The Japanese brand sold almost double what the second-favourite brand, Mazda, could manage.

Hyundai continues as a tough competitor in third place, with sales up 2.6 per cent for the month of August. Further down the rankings we see Holden has found its new spot in ninth place after taking a tumble earlier in the year due to a number of reasons, including the departure of the Aussie-made Commodore. See below for the top 10 best-selling brands during August 2018.

  1. Toyota – 18,833 (up from 16,915 of July 2018 sales)
  2. Mazda – 10,740 (up from 8920)
  3. Hyundai – 8006 (up from 7061)
  4. Mitsubishi – 7067 (up from 5908)
  5. Ford – 5962 (up from 5481)
  6. Volkswagen – 4637 (up from 3981)
  7. Kia – 4620 (up from 4403)
  8. Nissan – 4440 (up from 4260)
  9. Holden – 4356 (up from 3927)
  10. Subaru – 3845 (up from 3366)

As for the best-selling vehicle model, the Toyota HiLux comes in for the win again. Toyota Australia announced a mild update for the ute in August, which may have contributed to the sales success. If you take a glance at the top 10 best-sellers, you may notice that in August, just three passenger cars made the list. The rest were either SUVs or utes. This is yet more evidence of the increasing popularity of the jumped-up vehicle style. The top 10 best-selling vehicles for August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4275 (up from 3747)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3515 (up from 2950)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 3033 (up from 2594)
  4. Mazda3 – 2969 (up from 2443)
  5. Mazda CX-5 – 2599 (up from 2233)
  6. Hyundai i30 – 2323 (up from 2178)
  7. Toyota Prado – 2019 (up from 1434)
  8. Hyundai Tucson – 1998 (up from 1490)
  9. Nissan X-Trail – 1910 (up from 1603)
  10. Mitsubishi Triton – 1752 (up from 1418)

Small Cars under $40,000 – This segment, not that long ago, used to own the best-selling list. And the Toyota Corolla was the distant favourite. The Corolla is still the king of its domain, once again reporting the highest sales figure, but as you saw above it is nestled down in third place overall. Down the list the models remained in their positions from the previous month, except the Holden Astra moved up one position to eighth. The top 10 best-selling small cars in August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 3033 (up from 2594)
  2. Mazda3 – 2969 (up from 2443)
  3. Hyundai i30 – 2323 (up from 2178)
  4. Volkswagen Golf – 1553 (down from 1628)
  5. Kia Cerato – 1491 (up from 1428)
  6. Honda Civic – 923 (up from 918)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 860 (up from 758)
  8. Holden Astra – 571 (down from 588)
  9. Mitsubishi Lancer – 400 (down from 729)
  10. Ford Focus –  358 (down from 449)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – This is one of the fast-shrinking market segments, but the Toyota Camry is clawing on. It reported an impressive figure in August, far outselling its main competitors. The Mazda6 saw an 8.3 per cent drop in sales YTD, and the Volkswagen Passat dropped 24.6 per cent. The top five best-selling models in this class for August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1604 (up from 1317 of July)
  2. Mazda6 – 289 (up from 276)
  3. Volkswagen Passat – 208 (up from 129)
  4. Skoda Octavia – 183 (down from 188)
  5. Subaru Liberty – 143 (up from 120)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Into the executive sedan segment, and, surprisingly, the BMW 3 Series pipped the otherwise regular favourite Mercedes C-Class. C-Class sales dropped 70.3 per cent, contributing to a YTD decline of 34 per cent. On the contrary, BMW 3 Series sales jumped 29.7 per cent for August, and up 16.7 per cent YTD. Interestingly, Infiniti Q50 sales jumped 23.1 per cent YTD, and 490 per cent for the month of August. This was likely due to a recent model update and reduced prices. It reported 59 sales in August. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during August 2018 were as follows:

  1. BMW 3 Series – 301 (down from 316)
  2. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 263 (up from 199)
  3. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 197 (down from 401)
  4. Audi A4 – 107 (down from 110)
  5. Lexus IS – 93 (up from 66)

Large Cars under $70,000 – Poor old Holden Commodore sales aren’t showing much enthusiasm. The nameplate might live on but the market demand for a non-Australian-built sedan seems to have all but diminished. Sales appear to be settled at around 600-700 per month now, compared with around 2000 units of the last Aussie-built model. In fairness, the market segment isn’t in much better shape, reporting a whopping 50.9 per cent drop in sales across YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 682 (up from 557 in July)
  2. Kia Stinger – 125 (down from 174)
  3. Skoda Superb – 62 (down from 74)
  4. Toyota Aurion – 1 (down from 6)
  5. Ford Falcon – 0 (down from 3)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Stepping up a peg, the Mercedes E-Class wins the most hearts here. It continues its front-running position from previous months, leaving its arch rival, the BMW 5 Series, far behind. The segment overall reported a 32.2 per cent YTD decline.  The top five best-selling vehicles in this class in August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 102 (down from 124)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 52 (up from 41)
  3. Jaguar XF – 29 (up from 16)
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLS – 18 (up from 5)
  5. Volvo S90 – 9 (down from 17)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Into the fun stuff, and it looks like the Ford Mustang is still the clear favourite. The American muscle car is reporting a 37.4 per cent drop in sales across YTD, however, this may be due to the change over to the new model recently. Further down the most-popular list, we see most are hovering around similar figures as previous months. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 736 (up from 546 of July)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 75 (up from 56)
  3. Toyota 86 – 70 (down from 80)
  4. Subaru BRZ – 65 (up from 56)
  5. Mazda MX-5 – 44 (down from 49)
    (Subaru WRX – 165 [down from 197] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – Shifting up a gear, and it’s the Mercedes C-Class two-door that takes the crown. Its bigger brother, the E-Class two-door, comes in for second place, giving Mercedes dominance in this class. The top five best-selling models in this category for August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 90 (down from 92)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 68 (up from 46)
  3. BMW 4 Series Coupe – 56 (up from 46)
  4. Audi A5 – 39 (up from 28)
  5. Lexus RC – 25 (down from 26)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – Ultimate driver’s car buyers continue to swarm to the Porsche 911. Sales of the iconic sports car are up 11.1 per cent YTD. Ferrari sales are continuing strong as well, with its YTD figure up 22.2 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 29 (up from 19)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 19 (up from 14)
  3. Mercedes-AMG GT – 13 (up from 10)
  4. Lamborghini (not specified) – 11 (down from 13)/Aston Martin (not specified) – 11 (up from 7)
  5. Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe/Convertible – 9 (up from 2)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – This segment is just unstoppable at the moment. HiLux is still the boss, with the Ford Ranger the only real threat. At the other end of the top 10 most popular, the Mercedes X-Class doesn’t seem to be getting much traction, sitting at the bottom of the chart with only the Great Wall Steed below it (11th place, 81 sales). For August the Triton moved up to third spot, and the Navara moved down to seventh. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for August 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4275 (up from 3747 from July)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3515 (up from 2950)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1752 (up from 1418)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 1461 (up from 1434)
  5. Holden Colorado – 1439 (up from 1432)
  6. Mazda BT-50 – 1334 (up from 920)
  7. Nissan Navara – 1113 (up from 1072)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 661 (down from 733)
  9. LDV T60 – 318 (up from 270)
  10. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 112 (up from 75)

Like the ute segment, SUVs are all the craze at the moment. Buyers are hungry for them and manufacturers keep dishing them up. Almost all segments are reporting sales increases across YTD, except the large below $70,000 class, which is down just 1.6 per cent. Combined overall SUV segment sales are up 9.0 per cent YTD, and up 8.3 per cent for the month of August.

The most popular class continues to be the ‘Medium under $60,000’ category, which reported 14,581 sales in August (up 8.5 per cent YTD). The second favourite is the ‘Large under $70,000’ class, with 10,298 sales (down 1.6 per cent YTD), followed by the ‘Small under $40,000’ segment, with 9983 sales (up 24.7 per cent YTD).

Big movers across the board were the new Volvo XC40, which pounced into the top three in its segment, while the Mazda CX-5 reported a big figure in its class. The CX-5 was the best-selling SUV overall for the month, and with 18,679 sales YTD, it’s also the best-seller so far this year. The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories for August 2018 were as follows:

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 1543 (up from 1154 in July)
    Mazda CX-3 – 1387 (up from 1233)
    Subaru XV – 1144 (up from 805)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 269 (up from 215)
    Volvo XC40 – 266 (up from 99)
    Audi Q3 – 219 (up from 207)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Mazda CX-5 – 2599 (up from 2233)
    Hyundai Tucson – 1998 (up from 1490)
    Nissan X-Trail – 1910 (up from 1603)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 557 (up from 493)
    BMW X3 – 387 (up from 326)
    Lexus NX – 263 (down from 310)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 2019 (up from 1434)
    Toyota Kluger – 1259 (up from 1256)
    Subaru Outback – 1080 (up from 853)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    BMW X5 – 219 (down from 204)
    Mercedes-Benz GLE – 170 (down from 192)
    Range Rover Sport – 158 (down from 159)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 1109 (up from 1066)
    Nissan Patrol – 121 (up from 85)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class/GL – 125 (up from 103)
    Range Rover – 23 (down from 45)
    Lexus LX – 20 (down from 35)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in August were up on July figures. During August 2018, Australian consumers bought 95,221 vehicles compared with 85,551 in July. Sales for the month are down 1.5 per cent compared with August 2017, and YTD sales are down 0.3 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.