Banner image for Media Releases

Media Releases

Rising Suv sales as the Market Softens in September

Despite continuing increases in national sales of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in September, the overall vehicle market in Australia declined over the month, according to the latest data released today by the motor industry’s statistical service, VFACTS.

National vehicle sales for September reached 94,711, down 5.5 per cent from September 2017. Significantly, overall passenger car sales at 30,487 in September 2018 now account for just under one third of the total market, at 32.2 per cent.

Despite the September fall in passenger car sales, SUV sales climbed 6.2 per cent to 41,420, underpinned by a significant gain in small SUVs of 25.7 per cent. Furthermore, there was also considerable growth in the sale of upper large SUVs, which rose by 10.4 per cent in September. During the month light commercial sales fell by 2.3 per cent to 19,298 despite this category once again taking out the two top selling models.

In year-to-date sales, the market dipped 0.9 per cent under the record-setting total for the nine months of 2017. Cumulative industry sales year to date reached 881,005 to the end of September.

Sales in September fell across all states and territories compared to September 2017, other than Tasmania, which saw an amazing 21.9 per cent increase. The Tasmanian result was offset with falls in New South Wales (-9.4%), Victoria (-4.9%), Queensland (-4.6%), Western Australia (-1.1%), South Australia (-5.1%), the ACT (-0.6%) and the NT (-6.5%).

The overall decline in the market was led by falls in sales to private purchasers, which declined by 15.8 per cent compared to September 2017. Government fleet sales also saw a smaller decline of 2.6 per cent, however business fleet purchases remained buoyant, up marginally by 0.3 per cent.

Tony Weber, the Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, acknowledged that the results demonstrate an adjustment to the market after a sustained period of record sales.

“What we are seeing is a slightly slowing market, after the industry has produced five years of record sales over the past six years” Mr Weber said.

“After a record 2017, year to date sales in 2018 are sitting just 0.9 per cent below lastyear’s numbers. This demonstrates the inherent strength of the market. The decline in passenger vehicle sales and corresponding growth in SUVs also shows that the traditional family car continues to evolve in Australia.”

The Toyota Hilux was Australia’s best-selling vehicle during August with total sales of 4,338, followed by the Ford Ranger with 3,228 and the Toyota Corolla with 2,917. The Hyundai i30 (2,508), and the Mitsubishi ASX (2,138) both moved up the list from August to round out the top five.

Toyota again led with an 18.4 per cent share of the September market, followed by Hyundai (8.6%), Mitsubishi (8.0%), Mazda (7.5%) and Nissan (5.5%).


Key Points:

  • The September 2018 market of 94,711 new vehicle sales is a decrease of 5,489 vehicle sales or -5.5% on September 2017 (100,200) vehicle sales. September 2018 (24.6) had one less selling day than September 2017 and this resulted in a decrease of 64 vehicle sales per day.
  • The Passenger Vehicle Market is down by 7,660 vehicle sales (-20.1%) over the same month last year; the Sports Utility Market is up by 2,417 vehicle sales (6.2%); the Light Commercial Market is down by 447 vehicle sales (-2.3%); and the Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market is up by 201 vehicle sales (6.1%) versus September 2017.
  • Toyota was market leader in September, followed by Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Toyota led Hyundai with a margin of 9,276 vehicle sales and 9.8 market share points.