Australian vehicle sales for September 2019 (VFACTS)

It’s that time of the month again. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has released the September 2019 VFACTS figures for new vehicle registrations, giving us a detailed look at how the new car market is travelling and what models are the most popular.

Firstly, we see the overall market is starting to recover a little bit after reporting downturn after downturn in monthly sales this year. For the first nine months of the year, sales are down 7.9 per cent compared with the same period last year. That’s a slight improvement from negative 8.0 per cent in August.

As for the top-performing brands, Toyota of course dominates the charts once again. However, even it is experiencing the pain of the market’s unwillingness to buy new cars compared with last year. Its monthly figure is down 12.8 per cent compared with September 2018, and down 6.3 per cent year-to-date (YTD). The overall figure for the month is still miles ahead of any competition, though.

We see there has been some shuffling about in the top 10 list. Mitsubishi has moved up to second spot for the month, overtaking Mazda, while Kia moves up into fifth spot. Holden has unfortunately been pushed off the list, with Honda reporting higher figures. See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands in September 2019:

  • Toyota – 15,166 (down from 16,700 in August 2019 sales)
  • Mitsubishi – 8990 (up from 6242)
  • Mazda – 8168 (up from 7291)
  • Hyundai – 7245 (down from 7320)
  • Kia – 5128 (up from 4662)
  • Ford – 4783 (down from 4916)
  • Nissan – 4651 (up from 4538)
  • Volkswagen – 3816 (down from 4100)
  • Subaru – 3502 (down from 3553)
  • Honda – 3404 (up from 3067)

At the top for the best-selling vehicle models, it’s the HiLux once again. Further down the top 10 are a number of movements however. The Mazda3, once a top-runner, has been pushed out of the top 10 completely, while the Kia Cerato moves up into seventh. The Mitsubishi Triton also scored high figures, enough to land in third overall, and the ASX posted impressive numbers. The top 10 best-selling vehicle models for September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3364 (down from 3674 in August 2019)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3116 (down from 3181)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 3001 (up from 1755)
  4. Hyundai i30 – 2447 (down from 2813)
  5. Mitsubishi ASX – 2419 (up from 1728)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 2355 (up from 1797)
  7. Toyota Corolla – 2219 (down from 2863)
  8. Kia Cerato – 2022 (up from 1686)
  9. Nissan X-Trail – 1769 (up from 1743)
  10. Toyota RAV4 – 1716 (down from 2006)

Small Cars under $40,000 – Here we see the Hyundai i30 has overtaken the usual suspects, coming in as a bit of an underdog for the month. Hyundai i30 sales are down only 0.3 per cent YTD, almost going against the market trend, while the Corolla’s figures are down 15.7 per cent, and the Mazda3’s YTD figure is down 14.5 per cent. Kia Cerato sales are the most impressive though, up 14.1 per cent YTD. This market segment is reporting a 17.9 per cent drop in sales YTD. The top 10 best-selling small cars in September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Hyundai i30 – 2447 (down from 2813)
  2. Toyota Corolla – 2219 (down from 2863)
  3. Kia Cerato – 2022 (up from 1686)
  4. Mazda3 – 1696 (down from 1999)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 1118 (up from 1112)
  6. Honda Civic – 820 (up from 774)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 384 (down from 455)
  8. Hyundai Elantra – 265 (up from 208)
  9. Ford Focus – 187 (down from 333)
  10. Holden Astra – 141 (down from 378)

Small Cars over $40,000 – Moving into the premium stuff, the Mercedes A-Class continues as the favourite. However, the Audi A3 is right on its tail for September. We suspect this class will be shaken up a bit with the arrival of the all-new BMW 1 Series as well, which arrives late this year. Overall sales in this class are down 13.7 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 307 (down from 326 in August 2019)
  2. Audi A3 – 297 (up from 257)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 126 (down from 155)
  4. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 104 (up from 92)
  5. Nissan LEAF – 60 (down from 98)
Medium Cars under $60,000 – Into the taxi zone, the Toyota Camry keeps kicking goals here. It’s pretty much holding the segment alive. Even though YTD figures are down 13.6 per cent for the class, Camry sales are up 3.9 per cent. The top five best-selling models in this segment for September 2019 were as follows:
  1. Toyota Camry – 1186 (down from 1290)
  2. Mazda6 – 193 (down from 201)
  3. Skoda Octavia – 171 (down from 180)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 145 (down from 179)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 81 (down from 135)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Premium mid-size buyers continue to flock to the Mercedes C-Class, quite clearly. The C-Class more than doubled the sales of its nearest competitor, the 3 Series. Overall segment sales are down 9.4 per cent YTD, but C-Class figures are up a whopping 28.2 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment in Australia during September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 636 (up from 423)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 294 (up from 232)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – 145 (down from 172)
  4. Audi A4 – 71 (down from 80)
  5. Audi A5 Sportback – 66 (up from 58)

Large Cars under $70,000 – This poor old segment is experiencing some obvious decline, mostly because buyers are turning to SUVs and utes for a more adventurous product. However, the Holden Commodore continues to post even figures here. The new Peugeot 508 might help liven up the segment in the months to come. Overall segment sales are down 29 per cent YTD. Only four vehicles register figures in this class. This is how they performed during September 2019:

  1. Holden Commodore – 419 (down from 509 in August)
  2. Kia Stinger – 135 (down from 172)
  3. Skoda Superb – 38 (down from 103)
  4. Peugeot 508 – 27 (up from 24)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Executive class vehicles are shaping up a bit better, with segment sales down 13.5 per cent YTD. The favourite during September was the Mercedes E-Class, followed by arch rival BMW 5 Series. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 74 (down from 86)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 64 (down from 96)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 14 (up from 11)
  4. Lexus GS – 8 (up from 2)
  5. Audi A7 – 6 (down from 7)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Into the entry level sports cars and we see the Ford Mustang overshadows everything. However, its figures are down 27.1 per cent YTD, although, that’s against the segment’s overall downturn of 30.4 per cent YTD. The new Hyundai Veloster jumps onto the board and is expected to post some increases over the coming months thanks to the arrival of the all-new model. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment for September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 437 (up from 229 in August)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 85 (up from 56)
  3. Hyundai Veloster – 70 (up from 20)
  4. Subaru BRZ – 53 (up from 46)
  5. Toyota 86 – 47 (down from 63)
    (Subaru WRX – 106 [up from 59] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – In the more serious stuff, the Mercedes C-Class two-door continues as the most popular. However, the all-new Toyota Supra has jumped onto the board for the first time and is expected to post some very interesting figures going forward. Overall segment sales are up 3.6 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling models in this class for September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 248 (up from 173)
  2. Toyota Supra – 232 (new model)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 42 (down from 51)
  4. Audi A5 – 38 (up from 26)
  5. Porsche Cayman – 23 (up from 16)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – High-rollers seem to fancy the Porsche 911 the most, with sales of the iconic German sports car up 0.2 per cent YTD. Ferrari is still a very popular one though, with its YTD figure up 21.3 per cent. Overall segment sales are down 7.5 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 36 (up from 30 in August)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 23 (down from 35)
  3. Aston Martin coupe/convertible – 12 (up from 10)
  4. Bentley coupe/convertible – 10 (down from 13)
  5. McLaren coupe/convertible – 9 (up from 4)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – Mitsubishi’s latest Triton is really paying off for the brand, consistently positioning itself as the third favourite here. We see the Isuzu D-Max is doing very well too, moving up into fourth position for the month, overtaking the Colorado. The rest of the top 10 remained in the same standings as August. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser) for September 2019 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3364 (down from 3674)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3116 (down from 3181)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 3001 (up from 1755)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 1346 (up from 1206)
  5. Holden Colorado – 1216 (down from 1364)
  6. Nissan Navara – 1114 (up from 1088)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 970 (up from 791)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 501 (down from 681)
  9. LDV T60 – 382 (up from 340)
  10. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 182 (up from 150)

Over in the ever-trending SUVs, the Mazda CX-5 has reclaimed its title as best-selling SUV overall after the Toyota RAV4 swiped it away during August. These two are running very close across YTD, with 20,268 sales versus 17,600, respectively. RAV4 sales are up 4.0 per cent YTD and CX-5 sales are up just 0.4 per cent. It’ll be a close finish by the end of the year we reckon.

The BMW X3 was the best-selling premium SUV during September, followed by the BMW X5. Volvo’s XC40 came across the line as the most popular in the small premium class. The mid-size premium SUV class reported the highest overall figure for the month for premium SUVs, with 2971 sales in total.

As for the most popular SUV classes overall during September, the ‘Medium under $60,000’ segment is the favourite, with 14,363 sales, down 1.5 per cent YTD. The second most popular is the ‘Small under $40,000’ segment, posting 11,899 sales during the month, down 2.1 per cent YTD. Rounding out the top three is the ‘Large under $70,000’ segment, with 8288 sales during September, down 8.5 per cent YTD.

The top three best-selling SUVs in all segments for September 2019 were as follows:

  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 2419 (up from 1728 in August 2019)
    Nissan Qashqai – 1350 (up from 1206)
    Mazda CX-3 – 1317 (up from 1097)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Volvo XC40 – 225 (down from 281)
    BMW X1 – 191 (down from 249)
    Mercedes-Benz GLA – 170 (up from 146)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Mazda CX-5 – 2355 (up from 1797)
    Nissan X-Trail – 1769 (up from 1743)
    Toyota RAV4 – 1716 (down from 2006)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    BMW X3 – 512 (up from 379)
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 446 (down from 463)
    Audi Q5 – 402 (up from 354)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 1338 (down from 1392)
    Toyota Kluger – 756 (down from 792)
    Mitsubishi Pajero Sport – 780 (up from 335)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    BMW X5 – 496 (up from 288)
    Audi Q7 – 358 (up from 297)
    Mercedes-Benz GLE – 303 (up from 289)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 960 (down up 1160)
    Nissan Patrol – 102 (down from 165)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    BMW X7 – 96 (up from 75)
    Audi Q8 – 54 (down from 59)
    Lexus LX – 31 (equal)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in September were up on August figures. During September, Australian consumers bought 88,181 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 85,633 in August 2019. Overall sales for the month of September are down 6.9 per cent compared with September 2018, 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.