Australian vehicle sales for December 2019 (VFACTS) – best of the year

What were the best-selling cars in 2019? The National VFACTS figures for new vehicle registrations in December for in Australia have just been handed out, revealing the market trends and all of the figures.

For this report we’ll go over the monthly sales stats for December specifically, in our usual format, but we’ll also include a rundown of the figures for each respective segment for the year overall (YTD). Let’s start with the most popular vehicle brands.

During December 2019 Toyota again topped the charts. It has been in the lead all year, and, as no surprise, it topped the leaderboard for the year overall. Further down the list we see Kia has pushed right up and landed in fifth spot for the month, while Holden has returned to the top 10.

Throughout the year, Kia landed in sixth spot, up from seventh in 2018, while Holden dropped from sixth down to tenth. As you can see, sales for all brands except Kia are down on last year’s figures. See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands for December 2019 and further below for the top brands for 2019 overall.

  1. Toyota – 17,309 (up from 16,954 of November 2019 sales)
  2. Mitsubishi – 7072 (up from 6861)
  3. Mazda – 6025 (down from 6167)
  4. Hyundai – 5339 (down from 6821)
  5. Kia – 4940 (down from 5141)
  6. Ford – 4842 (down from 4966)
  7. Volkswagen – 4076 (up from 3923)
  8. Nissan – 3949 (down from 4272)
  9. Honda – 3612 (up from 3285)
  10. Holden – 3207 (up from 2668)

Top 10 vehicle brands in 2019 overall:

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  1. Toyota – 205,766 (down from 217,061 in 2018)
  2. Mazda – 97,619 (down from 111,280)
  3. Hyundai – 86,104 (down from 94,187)
  4. Mitsubishi – 83,250 (down from 84,944)
  5. Ford – 63,303 (down from 69,081)
  6. Kia – 61,503 (up from 58,815)
  7. Nissan – 50,575 (down from 57,699)
  8. Volkswagen – 49,928 (down from 56,620)
  9. Honda – 43,868 (down from 51,525)
  10. Holden – 43,176 (down from 60,751)

Honing in on the top-selling vehicle models specifically, the Toyota HiLux set the benchmark for the month once again. The popular ute also crossed the line with the most sales collectively for all of 2019.

It looks like the Mazda3 has fallen out of the top 10 list for the month of December, and coincidentally fallen from fourth spot overall in 2018 to seventh spot in 2019. We also see the Kia Cerato has jumped up into ninth spot overall for the year.

Four cars make up the top 10 in 2019, with the remainder being either ute or SUV. This is actually slightly against the market trend, with 2018 reporting just three cars in the top 10 and the rest made up of ute and SUV. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in December 2019 and 2019 overall were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3917 (up from 3687 in November 2019)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3348 (down from 3491)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 2777 (up from 2229)
  4. Mitsubishi Triton – 2315 (down from 3123)
  5. Toyota RAV4 – 2212 (down from 2316)
  6. Mitsubishi ASX – 2091 (up from 1027)
  7. Hyundai i30 – 1935 (down from 2339)
  8. Isuzu D-Max – 1880 (down from 2184)
  9. Mazda CX-5 – 1828 (up from 1735)
  10. Nissan X-Trail – 1532 (down from 1882)

Top 10 models for 2019 overall:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 47,649 (down from 51,705 in 2018)
  2. Ford Ranger – 40,960 (down from 42,144)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 30,468 (down from 35,320)
  4. Hyundai i30 – 28,378 (up from 28,188)
  5. Mitsubishi Triton – 25,819 (up from 24,896)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 25,539 (down from 26,173)
  7. Mazda3 – 24,939 (down from 31,065)
  8. Toyota RAV4 – 24,260 (up from 22,165)
  9. Kia Cerato – 21,757 (up from 18,620)
  10. Mitsubishi ASX – 20,806 (up from 19,034)

Small Cars under $40,000 – In what was once the most popular segment of all, the Toyota Corolla has reported the most sales for both the month of December and for all of 2019. Hyundai has pushed into second spot for the month and for the year, perhaps helped by falling sales of the Mazda3. Sales for the Mazda dropped 19.7 per cent from year to year, while the i30’s sales increased 0.7 per cent. The segment overall reported an 18.6 per cent drop YTD. The top 10 best-selling small cars in December and 2019 overall were as follows:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2777 (up from 2229 in November 2019)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 1935 (down from 2339)
  3. Kia Cerato – 1487 (down from 1639)
  4. Mazda3 – 1285 (down from 1435)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 1091 (down from 1098)
  6. Honda Civic – 870 (up from 865)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 323 (up from 305)
  8. Ford Focus – 230 (down from 265)
  9. Hyundai Elantra –  159 (up from 157)
  10. Holden Astra – 141 (down from 171)

Top 10 models for 2019 overall:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 30,468 (down from 35,320 in 2018)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 28,378 (up from 28,188)
  3. Mazda3 – 24,939 (down from 31,065)
  4. Kia Cerato – 21,757 (up from 18,620)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 14,355 (down from 19,076)
  6. Honda Civic – 10,531 (down from 13,470)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 4518 (down from 9215)
  8. Holden Astra – 4188 (down from 9876)
  9. Ford Focus – 3682 (down from 3875)
  10. Hyundai Elantra – 2644 (down from 3843)

Small Cars over $40,000 – Jumping up a class, the top five standings are unchanged for the month of December compared with November, with the A-Class setting the standard. The German small car also reported the most sales for the year, jumping an impressive 37.8 per cent from the year before. Sales in the premium sector overall dropped 9.6 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 456 (up from 370)
  2. Audi A3 – 334 (up from 251)
  3. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 186 (down from 224)
  4. BMW 1 Series – 184 (up from 136)
  5. Nissan LEAF – 26 (down from 51)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 4689 (up from 4175)
  2. Audi A3 – 3362 (down from 4257)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 2269 (down from 2532)
  4. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 1272 (up from 844)
  5. Nissan LEAF – 408 (up from 0)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Into the default sedan class, and it’s no surprise the Toyota Camry has come through as the most popular model for the month and for the year. The segment reported a 9.7 per cent drop in sales YTD, but the Camry managed to see an increase of 9.8 per cent. The top five best-selling models in this class for December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1248 (down from 2001 of November)
  2. Mazda6 – 157 (down from 244)
  3. Skoda Octavia – 142 (equal)
  4. Volkswagen Passat – 65 (up from 137)
  5. Kia Optima – 52 (up from 21)/Honda Accord – 52 (up from 10)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Toyota Camry – 16,768 (up from 15,269 in 2018)
  2. Mazda6 – 2612 (down from 3328)
  3. Skoda Octavia – 1814 (up from 1794)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 1344 (down from 1595)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 1040 (down from 1804)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Executive sedan buyers continue to show the strongest interest for the Mercedes C-Class. It reported the highest sales for the month and for 2019 overall. Coming in second position was the BMW 3 Series, followed by the Audi A4 for the month and the Mercedes CLA for the year. Segment sales are down 3.2 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 556 (up from 467)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 305 (down from 307)
  3. Audi A4 – 125 (up from 112)
  4. Audi A5 Sportback – 78 (down from 91)
  5. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 63 (down from 136)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 6798 (up from 5055 in 2018)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 3135 (up from 3079)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 1424 (down from 3086)
  4. Audi A4 – 1284 (down from 1625)
  5. Audi A5 Sportback – 839 (up from 685)

Large Cars under $70,000 – This poor old segment is dwindling away, with YTD figures down 27.9 per cent. The Holden Commodore is just holding it together, with its YTD figure down 34.6 per cent. As announced last year, Holden will be retiring the Commodore nameplate completely by the end of this year.

The Kia Stinger is going against the segment trend somewhat, with its YTD figure down only 9.4 per cent. Meanwhile the Skoda Superb and new Peugeot 508 continue to contribute minuscule figures. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 498 (up from 381 in November)
  2. Kia Stinger – 128 (down from 144)
  3. Skoda Superb – 37 (up from 31)
  4. Peugeot 508 – 14 (down from 17)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Holden Commodore – 5915 (down from 9040 in 2018)
  2. Kia Stinger – 1773 (down from 1957)
  3. Skoda Superb – 849 (up from 837)
  4. Peugeot 508 – 109 (up from 3)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Up in the higher end class, the Mercedes E-Class easily tops the charts for the month, although the race for the YTD crown is a bit closer with the BMW 5 Series. Most of the other key rivals have remained pretty consistent throughout the year. This segment sees a 15.6 per cent drop in sales across YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment in December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 112 (up from 104)
  2. Audi A6 – 27 (up from 21)
  3. Audi A7 – 14 (down from 17)
  4. BMW 5 Series – 12 (down from 84)/Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 12 (down from 24)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 8 (up from 7)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 1228 (down from 1531 in 2018)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 964 (up from 815)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLS – 220 (up from 79)
  4. Maserati Ghibli – 130 (down from 194)
  5. Audi A7 – 123 (down from 131)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Into the fun stuff and it’s the Ford Mustang that crosses the line with most sales in December. It has also posted the most sales in this class for the year, however, its YTD figure has dropped 38.4 per cent. That’s not as bad as it seems though as the segment overall has posted a drop of 35.6 per cent YTD.

Further down, the BMW 2 Series comes in second place for the month and for the year. Its YTD sales are down 32.2 per cent. The Toyota 86 rounds out the top three for the year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 245 (up from 119 of November)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 58 (up from 36)
  3. Renault Megane RS – 55 (up from 34)
  4. Hyundai Veloster – 45 (down from 49)
  5. Toyota 86 – 43 (up from 33)
    (Subaru WRX – 95 [down from 123] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Ford Mustang – 3948 (down from 6412 in 2018)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 923 (down from 1361)
  3. Toyota 86 – 568 (down from 957)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 442 (down from 835)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 399 (down from 688)
    (Subaru WRX – 1109 [down from 2139] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – The Mercedes C-Class two-door models continue to dominate this segment, with almost five times as many sold compared with the runner-up for the year, the E-Class two-door. Interestingly, the segment is seeing a 10.8 per cent increase in sales YTD. The top five best-selling models in this category for December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 227 (down from 229)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 37 (down from 47)
  3. Toyota Supra – 23 (down from 46)
  4. Audi A5 – 21 (down from 36)
  5. Lexus RC – 16 (up from 14)/Audi TT – 16 (up from 13)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 2496 (up from 1520 in 2018)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 577 (down from 751)
  3. BMW 4 Series – 468 (down from 645)
  4. Audi A5 – 402 (down from 594)
  5. Toyota Supra – 327 (new model)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – It’s been an interesting race in this class, with some really high-end and exotic brands posting impressive figures throughout the year. For December, it was a close race, with equal first and second places.

For the year overall, the Porsche 911 gets the crown once again. Ferrari posted decent numbers, considering the exclusivity of its vehicles. In fact, its YTD figure is up 6.6 per cent. Figures for the whole segment YTD are down 9.1 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in the segment during December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 16 (down from 27)/Bentley Coupe and Convertible – 16 (up from 8)
  2. Aston Martin (not specified) – 14 (up from 8)/Ferrari (not specified) – 14 (down from 17)
  3. McLaren (not specified) – 9 (up from 8)
  4. Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe/Convertible – 8 (up from 2)
  5. Maserati Coupe/Convertible – 7 (up from 2)

Top 5 for 2019 overall:

  1. Porsche 911 – 504 (down from 511)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 257 (up from 241)
  3. Aston Martin (not specified) – 129 (down from 161)
  4. Mercedes-AMG GT – 115 (down from 172)/Bentley two-door – 115 (up from 89)
  5. McLaren (not specified) – 88 (equal)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – As we saw at the beginning, the Toyota HiLux has been crowned the overall best-selling vehicle of 2019. This means it’s also taken the winning spot in the ute segment, for both December and 2019 overall.

For the month of December the Triton has moved into third spot, while the Mazda BT-50 dropped down to eighth position. And for 2019 overall, we see the standings remain unchanged compared with 2018, except the Colorado moved up a position. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for December and all of 2019 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3917 (up from 3687 from November 2019)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3348 (down from 3491)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 2315 (down from 3123)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 1880 (up from 1438)
  5. Holden Colorado – 1366 (up from 1156)
  6. Nissan Navara – 1030 (up from 955)
  7. Volkswagen Amarok – 706 (down from 724)
  8. Mazda BT-50 – 640 (down from 706)
  9. LDV T60 – 267 (down from 360)
  10. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 226 (up from 176)

Top 10 for 2019 overall:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 47,649 (down from 51,705 in 2018)
  2. Ford Ranger – 40,960 (down from 42,144)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 25,819 (up from 24,896)
  4. Holden Colorado – 17,472 (down from 18,301)
  5. Isuzu D-Max – 16,892 (down from 18,550)
  6. Nissan Navara – 13,412 (down from 16,469)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 11,357 (down from 13,167)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 8371 (down from 9290)
  9. LDV T60 – 3529 (up from 3210)
  10. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 2126 (up from 1545)

Lastly, the ever-popular SUVs have seen some decent increases in sales over the last few years. But 2019 was a bit different, with segments reporting drops compared with 2018. The Mazda CX-5 managed to hold onto the top position overall for the year, just fending off the new Toyota RAV4. However, the Mazda couldn’t hold off the RAV4 for December alone.

The best-selling premium SUV for the year was the Mercedes-Benz GLC, followed by the BMW X3, and then the Audi Q5. All compete in the medium segment, which reported a YTD sales decline of just 0.5 per cent.

During all of 2019, the ‘Medium under $60,000’ class was the most popular, with 171,188 sales YTD, down 1.8 per cent on 2018. Next favourite, the ‘Small under $40,000’ SUV class posted 122,813 sales YTD, up 0.1 per cent. And then the ‘Large under $70,000’ class rounds out the top three, reporting 105,224 sales, down 8.9 per cent on 2018.

The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories for December and for all of 2019 were as follows:

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 2091 (up from 1027 in November)
    Mazda CX-3 – 1035 (down from 1107)
    Honda HRV – 938 (up from 825)
    Overall for 2019
    Mitsubishi ASX – 20,806 (up from 19,034 in 2018)
    Mazda CX-3 – 14,813 (down from 16,293)
    Hyundai Kona – 13,342 (up from 12,352)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Audi Q3 – 363 (up from 154)
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 304 (up from 246)
    BMW X1 – 259 (down from 285)
    Overall in 2019
    Volvo XC40 – 2858 (up from 1588)
    BMW X1 – 2847 (down from 3096)
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 2562 (down from 3906)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Toyota RAV4 – 2212 (down from 2316)
    Mazda CX-5 – 1828 (up from 1735)
    Nissan X-Trail – 1532 (down from 1882)
    Overall in 2019
    Mazda CX-5 – 25,539 (down from 26,173)
    Toyota RAV4 – 24,260 (up from 22,165)
    Nissan X-Trail – 19,726 (down from 21,192)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 414 (up from 384)
    Audi Q5 – 384 (down from 433)
    Volvo XC60 – 356 (up from 261)
    Overall in 2019
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 5770 (up from 5605)
    BMW X3 – 4583 (down from 4864)
    Audi Q5 – 4152 (up from 4086)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 1390 (up from 1204)
    Toyota Kluger – 1143 (up from 1084)
    Isuzu MU-X – 802 (up from 723)
    Overall in 2019
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 18,335 (down from 18,553)
    Toyota Kluger – 11,371 (down from 14,743)
    Isuzu MU-X – 8419 (down from 9090)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLE – 341 (up from 291)
    BMW X5 – 287 (up from 269)
    Audi Q7 – 239 (up from 173)
    Overall in 2019
    BMW X5 – 3498 (up from 2700)
    Range Rover Sport – 2202 (down from 2258)
    Mercedes-Benz GLE – 2081 (up from 1939)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 980 (up from 916)
    Nissan Patrol – 169 (down from 230)
    Overall in 2019
    Toyota LandCruiser – 13,802 (up from 13,677)
    Nissan Patrol – 1951 (up from 1259)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLS – 68 (down from 105)
    Audi Q8 – 46 (up from 37)
    BMW X7 – 31 (down from 40)
    Overall in 2019
    BMW X7 – 608 (new model)
    Audi Q8 – 494 (up from 6)
    Lexus LX – 419 (up from 404)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in December were down on November 2019 figures. During December, Australian consumers bought 84,239 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 84,708 in November. Overall sales for the month were down 3.8 per cent compared with December 2018, and down 7.8 per cent for the year overall. Australians bought 1,062,867 vehicles during the entire 2019 year, down from 1,153,111 during all of 2018.

Brett is the editor and founder of Performance Drive. 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.