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Suv sales Surge in Soft October Market

Overall national sales of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) continued to climb in October, despite the overall vehicle market in Australia declining over the month, according to the latest data released today by the motor industry’s statistical service, VFACTS.

National vehicle sales for October reached 90,718, down 5.3 per cent from October 2017. The overall market decline for the month was led by falling passenger car sales, at 27,802 or 23.6 per cent lower in October 2018 compared to October 2017.

Overall national SUV sales were 39,849, and the SUV segment now represents 43.9 per cent of the market in October 2018 and 38.5 per cent of the market year to date.   Within the SUV segment the sales of medium SUVs holds the greatest volume with 18.1 per cent of the total market in October 2018.  The sales of small SUVs increased by 14.1 per cent in October 2018 compared to October 2017 with this category now representing 12.6 per cent of the total market in October 2018.

Year-to-date sales across the market are currently at 971,723, which is a 1.3 per cent dip from the same period in 2017 – which was a record year.

Sales in October fell across all states and territories compared to October 2017, other than Tasmania, which held firm with a 0.3 per cent increase.  The remaining states and territories fell as follows: New South Wales (-9.2%), Victoria (-4.2%), Queensland (-2.7%), Western Australia (-1.7%), South Australia (-5.1%), the ACT (-2.1%) and the Northern Territory (-4.7%).

The decline was again most pronounced in sales to private purchases, which were down by 12 per cent across all vehicle types for the month compared to October 2017.  This included falls in passenger sales to private buyers of 24.1 per cent, whilst private SUVs sales were down by 3.2 per cent and light commercial sales down by 4.3 per cent.  Year to date sales to private buyers are now down 6.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.

While business purchases overall were also down (-4.1%) on October 2017 sales, business purchases of SUVs increased by 13.3 per cent over October 2017 and light commercials increased by 3.4 per cent over the October 2017 sales numbers.  Government purchases were up 6.7 per cent in October 2018, with increases of 24.3 per cent in SUV purchases and 9.3 per cent in light commercials.

Tony Weber, the Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, acknowledged the ongoing softening in sales as the market continues to adjust after record sales over recent years.

“Total sales so far in 2018 are a modest 1.3 per cent below the same number during the 2017 record year.  This demonstrates that the market is broadly holding firm, despite evolving consumer preferences demonstrated through the shift from passenger vehicles to SUVs” Mr Weber said.

“Given the slowing housing market and the current drought, the overall result demonstrates the resilience of Australia’s competitive automotive market.”

The Toyota Hilux was the highest selling vehicle in October 2018 with sales of 4401, followed by the Ford Ranger (3511), the Toyota Corolla (2663), the Mazda 3 (2094) and the Hyundai i30 (2049).

Toyota led the market in sales volume for October with 19.6 per cent of the total market, followed by Mazda (9.0%), Hyundai (8.2%), Mitsubishi (6.9%) and Ford (5.9%).

Summary by Class:

Key Points:

  • The October 2018 market of 90,718 new vehicle sales is a decrease of 5,045 vehicle sales or -5.3% on October 2017 (95,763) vehicle sales. October 2018 (26.4) had one more selling day than October 2017 (25.4), however this resulted in a decrease of 333.9 vehicle sales per day.
  • The Passenger Vehicle Market is down by 8,594 vehicle sales (-23.6%) over the same month last year; the Sports Utility Market is up by 2,978 vehicle sales (8.1%); the Light Commercial Market is up by 199 vehicle sales (1.0%); and the Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market is up by 372 vehicle sales (10.9%) versus October 2017.
  • Toyota was market leader in October, followed by Mazda and Hyundai. Toyota led Mazda with a margin of 9,639 vehicle sales and 10.6 market share points. 


Source: VFACTS

Top 10 individual models (by sales volume): State/Territory results (by sales volume): 


Total Vehicle Sales — Year to Date

VFACTS monthly vehicle sales data is available at noon on the third working day after the end of every month. Select data and media releases on the sales results are available at

For more information, contact:
Leigh Obradovic,
Director, Policy
02 6229 8216 / 0438 274 833