Australian vehicle sales for January 2019 (VFACTS)

It’s the start of a brand new year and everyone is settling back into the rhythm and routine. Are people buying cars? The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has just released the national VFACTS figures for new vehicle registrations in Australia for January, so we can take a look at what cars people are buying and what carmakers are jumping out of the gate first.

Continuing on from its stellar year of sales last year, Toyota bursts out of the gate setting the top figure for vehicle brands. It sold an impressive 15,961 vehicles in the first month of the year, far out-selling its nearest competitor, Mazda. Toyota’s figure is up 4.3 per cent on last year’s January 2018 figure, while Mazda’s number drops 6.2 per cent.

Further down the ranking, Hyundai sits in fourth place and sees a 12.9 per cent drop in sales compared with the same month last year. This leaves the gap open for Mitsubishi to claim third spot for January, with its figure rising an impressive 26.7 per cent. This is the highest jump in sales for any brand within the top 10. In other areas, Kia jumps straight into fifth spot from its usual 8-10th position. See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands for January 2019:

  1. Toyota – 15,961 (down from 15,991 of December 2018 sales)
  2. Mazda – 9490 (up from 8129)
  3. Mitsubishi – 6669 (down from 7306)
  4. Hyundai – 6205 (up from 5766)
  5. Kia – 4651 (up from 4214)
  6. Ford – 4421 (down from 5230)
  7. Holden – 4167 (down from 4822)
  8. Honda – 4042 (down from 4189)
  9. Nissan – 3803 (down from 4534)
  10. Volkswagen – 3617 (down from 4291)

As for the best-selling vehicle model, the Toyota HiLux sets the pace. It should probably be labelled as the mascot of Australia or something as sales seem to be unstoppable. Interestingly, four utes make up the top 10, and three SUVs. This leaves just three passenger cars, and all three are small hatchbacks. The top 10 best-selling vehicle models for January 2019 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3951 (up from 3871 of December 2018)
  2. Mazda3 – 2831 (up from 2285)
  3. Ford Ranger – 2564 (down from 3365)
  4. Toyota Corolla – 2417 (up from 2311)
  5. Mazda CX-5 – 2347 (up from 1990)
  6. Hyundai i30 – 1891 (up from 1772)
  7. Mitsubishi ASX – 1818 (up from 1300)
  8. Toyota RAV4 – 1800 (up from 1729)
  9. Mitsubishi Triton – 1697 (down from 2000)
  10. Holden Colorado – 1544 (up from 1437)

Small Cars under $40,000 – In a segment that used to be the most popular, it looks like the Mazda3 is setting the pace. This is quite interesting as the all-new model is set to arrive a bit later this year. We suspect Mazda might be offering a few run-out specials at the moment to clean up the current stock. Toyota’s Corolla is pushed to number two spot. The segment overall saw a 12.9 per cent decline in sales compared with the same month last year. The top 10 best-selling small cars in January 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mazda3 – 2831 (up from 2285 of December)
  2. Toyota Corolla – 2417 (up from 2311)
  3. Hyundai i30 – 1891 (up from 1772)
  4. Kia Cerato – 1426 (up from 1206)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 1231 (up from 1220)
  6. Holden Astra – 1071 (up from 1067)
  7. Honda Civic – 1066 (down from 1162)
  8. Mitsubishi Lancer – 500 (down from 1192)
  9. Subaru Impreza – 494 (down from 577)
  10. Ford Focus – 291 (up from 92)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Stepping up a segment, and it’s the humble Toyota Camry that sets a commanding lead straight off the bat. The second-place Mazda6 managed a mere fifth of the sales of the Camry. Camry sales are up a whopping 64.1 per cent compared with the same month last year. This helped the segment overall take a 9.5 per cent increase in sales compared with January last year. The top five best-selling models in this class for January were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1237 (down from 1280 of December 2018)
  2. Mazda6 – 273 (up from 244)
  3. Subaru Liberty – 112 (up from 74)
  4. Hyundai Sonata – 105 (up from 76)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 97 (down from 137)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Moving over into the premium stuff, the Mercedes C-Class continues its trend from last year as the most popular of its kind. BMW 3 Series couldn’t get close, leaving it to second place. The segment overall is seeing a 9.5 per cent drop in sales compared with the same month last year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during January were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 622 (down from 660)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 169 (up from 161)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 104 (down from 136)
  4. BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe – 97 (up from 5)
  5. Audi A4 – 95 (down from 143)

Large Cars under $70,000 – Sales here continue to dwindle as buyers downsize or move to SUVs and utes. However, the Holden Commodore is clinging on, while the Kia Stinger adds some spark to the segment. Overall sales in this class are down 47.4 per cent compared with January last year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for January were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 403 (up from 381 in December)
  2. Kia Stinger – 130 (down from 144)
  3. Skoda Superb – 56 (up from 37)
  4. Hyundai Genesis– 0 (0)
  5. Toyota Aurion – 0 (0)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Into the business class, the BMW 5 Series has set the pace for the start of the year. And it’s not just a case of all rivals dropping in sales. 5 Series figures are up 204.3 per cent. We wonder if this has anything to do with the latest police fleet adopting more of them in replacement to the Commodore and Falcon. The segment overall sees a 13.1 per cent decline in sales. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment in January were as follows:

  1. BMW 5 Series – 140 (up from 84)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 85 (down from 104)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 22 (down from 24)
  4. Audi A7 – 13 (down from 17)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 11 (equal)/Jaguar XF – 11 (equal)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Now, into the exciting stuff. Sales of the Ford Mustang have actually dropped, despite the launch of the new model. Sales are down 16.1 per cent for the month, although it is still very much in the lead. The BMW 2 Series comes in second place, with around a third of the sales of the ‘Stang. Segment sales overall are down 26.6 per cent for the month compared with last year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for January were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 369 (down from 439 of December)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 115 (up from 85)
  3. Toyota 86 – 66 (up from 64)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 45 (up from 41)/Subaru BRZ – 45 (up from 25)
  5. Renault Megane RS – 35 (down from 53)
    (Subaru WRX – 139 [up from 123] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – In the higher end, the Mercedes C-Class two-door models follow in the footsteps of the sedan. BMW 4 Series sales are only right behind though. Both of them are seeing a drop in sales of about 20 per cent. Meanwhile, segment sales are down 25.3 per cent for the first month of the year. The top five best-selling models in this class for January were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 121 (down from 125)
  2. BMW 4 Series Coupe – 102 (up from 20)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 45 (down from 48)
  4. Audi A5 – 21 (down form 43)/Jaguar F-Type – 21 (up from 4)
  5. Lexus RC – 17 (up from 15)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – Elite vehicles are topped by the Porsche 911. We suspect its sales will increase a bit this year with the arrival of the new 992 version in the second quarter. Not far behind, Ferrari is continuing its impressive standard from last year. Overall segment sales are down 38.2 per cent for the month of January. The top five best-selling vehicles in the segment during January 2019 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 39 (up from 23 of December)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 25 (up from 19)
  3. Bentley Coupe/Convertible – 10 (down from 12)
  4. Mercedes-AMG GT – 6 (down from 8)
  5. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class – 5 (equal)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – We know the HiLux takes the crown, but what about the others? The Mitsubishi Triton is off to a good start, perhaps encouraged by the arrival of the new model (pictured above), while the Holden Colorado is also setting decent pace. VFACTS has removed the LDV T60 from the 4×2 lineup, which means it misses out on the combined sales tally. For reference, the T60 4×4 reported 117 sales in January. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser and LDV T60) for January were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3951 (up from 3871 from December 2018)
  2. Ford Ranger – 2564 (down from 3365)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1697 (down from 2000)
  4. Holden Colorado – 1544 (up from 1437)
  5. Nissan Navara – 1083 (down from 1529)
  6. Mazda BT-50 – 1046 (up from 945)
  7. Isuzu D-Max – 859 (down from 2184)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 544 (down from 773)
  9. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 120 (down from 288)
  10. Great Wall Steed – 71 (down from 78)

Lastly, SUV sales continue to blow the market away. The Mazda CX-5 sets the pace overall as the best-selling SUV in Australia, followed by the Mitsubishi ASX and Toyota RAV4. Interesting observations include the Volvo XC40 stepping up in the small premium class, while the Hyundai Santa Fe makes an appearance in the top three in the large segment.

The ‘Medium under $60,000’ segment continues as the favourite, with 13,467 sales, down 2.3 per cent. This is followed by the ‘Small under $40,000’ class, with 9266 sales, up 1.5 per cent. Rounding out third place is the ‘Large under $70,000’ segment, with 7984 sales, down 4.4 per cent.

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

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 1818 (up from 1300 in December 2018)
    Mazda CX-3 – 1308 (up from 1068)
    Honda HR-V – 1043 (up from 929)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    BMW X1 – 199 (down from 256)
    Volvo XC40 – 176 (down from 178)
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 163 (down from 242)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Mazda CX-5 – 2347 (up from 1990)
    Toyota RAV4 – 1800 (up from 1729)
    Nissan X-Trail – 1519 (down from 1661)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    BMW X3 – 449 (up from 295)
    Audi Q5 – 358 (down from 427)
    Lexus NX – 269 (up from 222)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 1350 (down from 1462)
    Toyota Kluger – 945 (down from 1166)
    Hyundai Santa Fe – 571 (up from 513)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    BMW X5 – 260 (up from 223)
    Lexus RX – 154 (down from 189)
    Range Rover Sport – 151 (down from 290)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 846 (down from 953)
    Nissan Patrol – 73 (down from 84)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class – 50 (up from 36)
    Range Rover – 40 (up from 25)
    Lexus LX – 29 (down from 31)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in January were down on December figures. During January, Australian consumers bought 81,994 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 87,528 in December. Overall sales for the month and year-to-date are down 7.4 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.