Australian vehicle sales for September 2018 (VFACTS)

The new vehicle registration stats for September 2018 are out with the release of the national VFACTS report, and we can see overall new car sales have dropped 0.9 per cent in the first nine months of the year compared with 2017.

Toyota is leading the car brand sales race, with its sales up 1.3 per cent year-to-date (YTD). Sales for the popular Japanese carmaker in the month of September are down 0.1 per cent compared with last year. Its monthly figure is still way ahead of any of its competitors, though, selling more than double what second-favourite, Hyundai, achieved.

Mazda has taken a tumble down to fourth position for this month, leaving the way for Hyundai and Mitsubishi to swoop in. It looks like this was due to a big drop in CX-5 and Mazda3 sales. Nissan also made a move from eighth place to fifth, while Holden drops back down to 10th. See below for the top 10 best-selling brands during September 2018.

  1. Toyota – 17,386 (down from 18,833 of August 2018 sales)
  2. Hyundai – 8110 (up from 8006)
  3. Mitsubishi – 7622 (up from 7067)
  4. Mazda – 7070 (down from 10,740)
  5. Nissan – 5167 (up from 4440)
  6. Ford – 5084 (down from 5962)
  7. Kia – 5003 (up from 4620)
  8. Subaru – 4758 (up from 3845)
  9. Volkswagen – 4694 (up from 4637)
  10. Holden – 4651 (up from 4356)

The Toyota HiLux is still the best-selling vehicle model in the country, far outselling any of its rivals. The new Corolla seems to be off to a great start as well, coming in third, followed by the Hyundai i30. Mazda seems to have dropped the ball this month as mentioned above, with its popular Mazda3 tumbling down to eighth place. Seven vehicles in the top 10 are now made up of SUVs or utes. The top 10 best-selling vehicles for September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4338 (up from 4275)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3228 (down from 3515)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 2917 (down from 3033)
  4. Hyundai i30 – 2508 (up from 2323)
  5. Mitsubishi ASX – 2138 (up from 1543)
  6. Nissan X-Trail – 1908 (down from 1910)
  7. Mitsubishi Triton – 1857 (up from 1752)
  8. Mazda3 – 1842 (down from 2969)
  9. Nissan Navara – 1713 (up from 1113)
  10. Toyota RAV4 – 1611 (down from 1684)

Small Cars under $40,000 – The Kia Cerato is moving its way up the rankings in this class, while the Subaru Impreza seems like it is dropping further down almost every month that passes. Subaru Impreza sales are down 18.2 per cent YTD as well. The top 10 best-selling small cars in September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2917 (down from 3033)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 2508 (up from 2323)
  3. Mazda3 – 1842 (down from 2969)
  4. Kia Cerato – 1574 (up from 1491)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 1406 (down from 1553)
  6. Honda Civic – 1101 (up from 923)
  7. Holden Astra – 1049 (up from 571)
  8. Subaru Impreza – 721 (down from 860)
  9. Mitsubishi Lancer – 416 (up from 400)
  10. Ford Focus –  121 (down from 358)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Sales in this class continue to diminish as buyers swarm to SUVs and utes. Even the top-seller, the Toyota Camry, is taking a hit. Its sales are down 37.3 per cent YTD, against the segment’s decline of 30.2 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling models in this class for September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1145 (down from 1604 of August)
  2. Mazda6 – 213 (down from 289)
  3. Volkswagen Passat – 174 (down from 208)
  4. Ford Mondeo – 168 (up from 128)
  5. Skoda Octavia – 152 (down from 183)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – In the more demanding premium mid-sizer class, the segment is also reporting a drop in sales. Overall figures are down 17.9 per cent YTD. The Mercedes CLA, strangely, was the best-seller for the month, leaving the traditional sedans to follow behind. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 363 (up from 263)
  2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 356 (up from 197)
  3. BMW 3 Series – 296 (down from 301)
  4. Audi A4 – 136 (up from 107)
  5. Lexus IS – 72 (down from 93)

Large Cars under $70,000 – Holden Commodore sales are remaining fairly dormant from previous months, while most of the rivals collapse around it. The Kia Stinger and Skoda Superb are pretty much the only models with a fighting chance for the top spot in the future. Segment sales are down an alarming 53.5 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Holden Commodore – 672 (down from 682 in August)
  2. Kia Stinger – 130 (up from 125)
  3. Skoda Superb – 63 (up from 62)
  4. Toyota Aurion – 1 (equal)
  5. Peugeot 508 – 1 (up from 0)

Large Cars over $70,000 – The luxury sedan class is dominated by the Mercedes E-Class. However, its sales are down 22.8 per cent YTD. This could be due to the changeover to the updated model. Arch rival BMW 5 Series isn’t coping much better, with its figure down 41.9 per cent YTD. Segment sales overall have dropped 27.6 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment in September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 190 (up from 102)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 75 (up from 52)
  3. Jaguar XF – 65 (up from 29)
  4. Audi A6 – 18 (up from 5)
  5. Volvo S90 – 15 (up from 9)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Over in the fun cars, the Ford Mustang remains as the leader. Despite the new model coming in though sales are down 25.2 per cent YTD, which is a pretty big whack. This is obviously not the right time of the year to buy a sports car by the looks of it as all models except the Subaru BRZ reported a drop in YTD figures – BRZ up just 0.4 per cent. Segment sales are down 40 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 422 (down from 736 of August)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 101 (up from 75)
  3. Toyota 86 – 69 (down from 70)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 61 (up from 44)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 53 (down from 65)
    (Subaru WRX – 189 [up from 165] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – Moving into the more serious stuff and it’s the Mercedes C-Class and E-Class two-door models that dominate the charts. BMW 4 Series sales are lingering behind, with the Porsche 718 Cayman matching the Audi A5 for fourth spot in September. Segment sales are down 26 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling models in this class for September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 82 (down from 90)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 60 (down from 68)
  3. BMW 4 Series Coupe – 45 (down from 56)
  4. Audi A5 – 29 (down from 39)/Porsche Cayman – 29 (up from 17)
  5. Lexus RC – 28 (up from 25)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – In the really fast lane the Porsche 911 remains as the favourite. Its sales are actually up 16 per cent YTD. Bentley coupe/convertible sales also jumped impressively for the month, up 414.3 per cent compared with September last year. Segment sales are down just 0.5 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 57 (up from 29)
  2. Bentley Coupe/Convertible – 36 (up from 4)
  3. Aston Martin (not specified) – 21 (up from 11)
  4. Ferrari (not specified) – 15 (down from 19)
  5. Lamborghini (not specified) – 10 (down from 11)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – Ute sales continue to take over the market, with the Toyota HiLux standing out as the clear favourite. The Mercedes X-Class doesn’t seem to be getting much traction, stuck in 10th place, while its parent vehicle, the Nissan Narava, has moved up to fourth spot for the month. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for September 2018 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4338 (up from 4275 from August)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3228 (down from 3515)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1857 (up from 1752)
  4. Nissan Navara – 1713 (up from 1113)
  5. Isuzu D-Max – 1446 (down from 1461)
  6. Holden Colorado – 1318 (down from 1439)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 875 (down from 1334)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 753 (up from 661)
  9. LDV T60 – 278 (down from 318)
  10. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 107 (down from 112)

SUVs, SUVs, SUVs. We just can’t get enough of them. We had a comment on YouTube recently saying that we’re are reviewing too many SUVs. But, when you look at the sales stats and the demand the public has for these jumped up wagons, it’s hard to blame the manufacturers for supplying more and more. This makes it difficult for us to avoid them.

The most popular class is the ‘Medium under $60,000’ segment, which contributed 13,671 sales in September. Its YTD figure is up 7.0 per cent. This is followed by the ‘Small under $40,000’ segment which saw 11,887 sales during the month. Its so-far-this-year figure is up 24.9 per cent. Rounding out the best three is the ‘Large under $70,000’ segment, with 9217 sales. YTD sales are down 1.1 per cent.

Interesting movements for the month included the Hyundai Kona moving into second spot in its class, while the Audi Q5 moved into the top three in its class. The Mazda CX-5 also dropped down to third as highlighted earlier, leaving the Mitsubishi ASX to claim the title as the best-selling SUV for the month. The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories for September 2018 were as follows:

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 2138 (up from 1543 in August)
    Hyundai Kona – 1513 (up from 947)
    Honda HR-V – 1247 (up from 820)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 392 (up from 299)
    BMW X1 – 220 (up from 194)
    Audi Q3 – 203 (down from 219)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Nissan X-Trail – 1908 (down from 1910)
    Toyota RAV4 – 1611 (down from 1684)
    Mazda CX-5 – 1506 (down from 2599)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 681 (up from 557)
    Audi Q5 – 425 (up from 73)
    BMW X3 – 324 (down from 387)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 1518 (down from 2019)
    Toyota Kluger – 1042 (down from 1259)
    Subaru Outback – 936 (down from 1080)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    BMW X5 – 211 (down from 219)
    Mercedes-Benz GLE – 189 (up from 170)
    Lexus RX – 147 (up from 142)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 929 (down from 1109)
    Nissan Patrol – 88 (down from 121)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class/GL – 45 (down from 125)
    Lexus LX – 24 (up from 20)
    Range Rover – 13 (down from 23)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in September were slightly down on August figures. During September 2018, Australian consumers bought 94,711 vehicles compared with 95,221 in August. Sales for the month are down 5.5 per cent compared with September 2017, and YTD sales are down 0.9 per cent as mentioned at the start.

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.