Australian vehicle sales for March 2019 (VFACTS)

The Australia vehicle sales figures for March 2019 have been released, in the form of national VFACTS data, and it looks like small hatchbacks could be making a comeback. Overall industry sales continue to decline though, with total sales some 7.9 per cent down on year-to-date numbers (YTD).

As usual, we’ll start with the top 10 most popular car brands in Australia. Toyota continues to shine the brightest here, however, even its figure is down 5.4 per cent YTD. Interestingly, Mitsubishi is fast-becoming the underdog of the industry. During March it moved up to an impressive second spot in overall vehicle brand popularity, fending off Mazda and Hyundai. We haven’t seen Mitsubishi in this position for as long as we have been reporting these stats (about 8 years).

Out of the top four sellers, Mitsubishi is up 19.3 per cent, Mazda is down 4.7 per cent, and Hyundai is down 13.6 per cent (all YTD). Further down the top 10, Volkswagen drops from seventh to eighth (down 10.3 per cent YTD), while all others keep their standings from the previous month. See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands for March 2019:

  1. Toyota – 17,298 (up from 16,359 of February 2019 sales)
  2. Mitsubishi – 10,135 (up from 8495)
  3. Mazda – 9618 (up from 9235)
  4. Hyundai – 7731 (up from 6429)
  5. Ford – 6160 (up from 5678)
  6. Kia – 5303 (up from 4856)
  7. Nissan – 5115 (up from 3923)
  8. Volkswagen – 4682 (up from 4067)
  9. Honda – 4335 (up from 3865)
  10. Holden – 3833 (up from 3825)

As for the best-selling vehicle in Australia, it is, yet again, the trusty Toyota HiLux. It easily outsold all rivals and any other would-be contenders on the market. The top three sellers are utes, but the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla seem to be clawing back a little, occupying fourth and fifth spot, and then the i30 in seventh. Even the Kia Cerato has jumped in to complete the top 10 lineup. The top 10 best-selling vehicle models for March 2019 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4527 (up from 4431 of February)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3721 (up from 3377)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 2666 (down from 3155)
  4. Mazda3 – 2642 (down from 2655)
  5. Toyota Corolla – 2499 (up from 2070)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 2414 (up from 2257)
  7. Hyundai i30 – 2402 (up from 1929)
  8. Mitsubishi ASX – 2236 (up from 2122)
  9. Mitsubishi Outlander – 2067 (up from 1524)
  10. Kia Cerato – 1873 (up from 1568)

Small Cars under $40,000 – The Mazda3 is selling quite well considering there’s an all-new model just around the corner. The company must be offering some great run-out deals to push the remaining stock out the door. Sales of the Mazda3 are down 8.8 per cent YTD, following the overall trend of the segment which is down 19.5 per cent YTD. The top 10 best-selling small cars in March 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mazda3 – 2642 (down from 2655)
  2. Toyota Corolla – 2499 (up from 2070)
  3. Hyundai i30 – 2402 (up from 1929)
  4. Kia Cerato – 1873 (up from 1568)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 1361 (up from 1153)
  6. Honda Civic – 994 (up from 867)
  7. Ford Focus – 536 (up from 421)
  8. Holden Astra – 440 (down from 774)
  9. Hyundai Elantra – 273 (up from 247)
  10. Subaru Impreza – 190 (down from 235)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Over in the shrinking mid-size sedan segment, the class is seeing a drop of 13.4 per cent in sales across YTD. The Toyota Camry continues to hold the most popularity though, and in fact its sales contribute to an increase of 6.8 per cent YTD. The Mazda6 figure also saw its tally jump positively by 2.1 per cent YTD, along with the Hyundai Sonata by the same value. The top five best-selling models in this class for March were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1256 (down from 1298 of February 2019)
  2. Mazda6 – 285 (up from 252)
  3. Volkswagen Passat – 110 (up from 67)
  4. Ford Mondeo – 98 (down from 106)
  5. Hyundai Sonata – 97 (up from 86)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Mercedes-Benz remains dominant in this class, with the C-Class far-exceeding sales of its arch rival, the BMW 3 Series. However, BMW has just launched the all-new 3 Series which could disrupt this contest somewhat over the coming months. Overall C-Class sales are up 31.1 per cent, and 3 Series sales are down 23.1 per cent across YTD. Further down the line, we see a single Genesis G70 was sold during March, which likely means it is getting ready to hit the market very soon. The Kia Stinger-based model could really shake up the segment, having already earned itself a number of awards overseas. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during March were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 634 (down from 838)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 270 (up from 143)
  3. Audi A4 – 167 (up from 111)
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 149 (up from 139)
  5. Audi A5 Sportback – 101 (up from 88)

Large Cars under $70,000 – In the large family sedan market the Holden Commodore remains the favourite. Its figure is far ahead of the rest, although this segment is reporting a decrease of 38.5 per cent in sales for the firth three months of the year (YTD). Even the much-loved Kia Stinger is seeing a drop of 8.9 per cent YTD.  The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for March were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 423 (down from 576 in February)
  2. Kia Stinger – 165 (up from 158)
  3. Skoda Superb – 86 (up from 84)
  4. Hyundai Genesis– 0 (0)
  5. Toyota Aurion – 0 (0)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Those looking for luxury with their large sedan seem to be flocking to the Mercedes E-Class, mostly. This segment is reporting an increase of 3.7 per cent in sales YTD. Aside from the BMW 5 Series and the E-Class, the numbers here are quite small to begin with. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment in March were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 131 (down from 169)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 117 (up from 114)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 26 (up from 24)
  4. Maserati Ghibli – 15 (up from 13)
  5. Lexus GS – 10 (up from 3)

Sports Car under $80,000 – In the fun sports car class, the Ford Mustang continues as the favourite. However, its figure for the first three months of this year is down 20.4 per cent compared with the first three months of last year (YTD). The segment overall is also seeing a drop of 35.0 per cent YTD. All models except the Audi A3 Convertible (28 units for March) are reporting drops in sales. The A3 Convertible jumped 27.3 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class for March were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 434 (down from 500 of February)
  2. Mazda MX-5 – 65 (up from 35)
  3. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 50 (down from 101)
  4. Toyota 86 – 31 (down from 47)
  5. Renault Megane RS – 30 (up from 25)
    (Subaru WRX – 81 [down from 86] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – Moving up a class, and it’s the Mercedes C-Class two-door that takes the crown. Like the entry sports car segment, YTD figures are down, but by only 5.6 per cent. Most contenders in this class remain fairly stable, although, we see the Infiniti Q60 has snuck into fifth spot. The top five best-selling models in this class for March were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 332 (up from 157)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 47 (up from 39)
  3. BMW 4 Series Coupe – 46 (down from 65)
  4. Audi A5 – 39 (up form 33)
  5. Infiniti Q60 – 26 (up from 11)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – More hardcore driving fans continue to turn straight to the Porsche 911 than any other model in this class. Its figure contributed to a 9.9 per cent drop YTD, but this will likely change when the all-new 992 generation arrives during the second quarter of this year. We see the BMW 8 Series continues to register sales, even though it hasn’t officially gone on sale just yet. These are likely the first vehicles, such as demonstrators and press vehicles. The top five best-selling vehicles in the segment during March 2019 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 70 (up from 54 of February)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 18 (down from 23)
  3. Bentley Coupe/Convertible – 11 (up from 10)/Aston Martin coupe/convertible – 11 (up from 9)
  4. BMW 8 Series – 10 (up from 7)/Lamborghini (not specified) – 10 (up from 6)
  5. McLaren coupe/convertible – 9 (equal)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – The increasingly popular ute class keeps charging ahead. And the stampede is led by the HiLux. Mitsubishi seems to be doing very well with the new Triton, although it can’t match the spike experienced in the previous month. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for March were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4527 (up from 4431 from February)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3721 (up from 3377)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 2666 (down from 3155)
  4. Holden Colorado – 1730 (up from 1302)
  5. Nissan Navara – 1407 (up from 1214)
  6. Mazda BT-50 – 1116 (up from 1088)
  7. Isuzu D-Max – 1646 (up from 1195)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 849 (up from 683)
  9. LDV T60 – 293 (up from 238)
  10. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 252 (up from 193)

Into the SUVs and we see the Mazda CX-5 just isn’t budging from its throne. It remains as the best-selling SUV in Australia, and shows no sign of slowing. Its March figure contributes to an increase of 7.8 per cent YTD. In second place is the Mitsubishi ASX, which obviously helped the brand moved into second place overall for the month. The best-selling luxury SUV was the Mercedes-Benz GLC, although its YTD efforts are down 3.9 per cent.

The ‘Medium under $60,000’ class continues as the most popular, with 15,158 sales, down 5.9 per cent YTD. This is followed by the ‘Small under $40,000’ segment, with 11,252 sales, down 0.2 per cent YTD. Rounding out the top three classes is the ‘Large under $70,000’ segment, reporting 10,665 sales, down 1.8 per cent YTD.

Interesting observations across the SUV markets include the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport making a big splash in its class, while the Lexus LX picked up a number of positions in the mammoth SUV segment. Speaking of which, the ‘SUV upper large above $100,000’ class saw a whopping 45.5 per cent increase in sales YTD. The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories for March 2019 were as follows:

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in March were up on February figures. During March, Australian consumers bought 99,442 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 87,102 in February. Overall sales for the month are down 7.1 per cent, and down 7.9 per cent year-to-date.

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.