Holden was the biggest loser but Honda was an even bigger winner when it came to new-vehicle registrations among the mainstream brands last month.
According to unofficial sales figures obtained by motoring.com.au ahead of official VFACTS data to be released by the FCAI on Monday, the overall market boomed by more than eight per cent in February.
Once again the biggest growth was in small and medium SUV as well as 4×4 pick-up, but this time also light and small cars. In contrast, mid-size, large, upper large and sports cars continued their decline in popularity.
Of the top 10 mainstream brands every one of them sold more vehicles last month than in February 2017 except Mazda (down just 0.1 per cent) and Holden, which slumped by more than 18 per cent month on month.
In its fourth month as a full-line importer following the closure of its factory last October, the once-dominant Australian car-maker sold less than 4700 vehicles last month, placing it eighth overall and giving it a market share of five per cent.
In the same month it launched its first imported Commodore and with stocks of the homegrown model – as well as the Cruze and Malibu – all but depleted, the biggest losers were Caprice (94%), Ute (down 73%) and Commodore — down 53 per cent to less than 750 old and new Commodores.
But also suffering serious sales drops were Holden’s Trax (down 42%), Colorado 4×4 (18%), Trailblazer (11.5%) and Captiva (down 40% to 840), which has been replaced by the Equinox, which found about 360 buyers in its second month on sale.
The only Holden models to lift their sales in February were the Spark (up 115), Barina (up 35%) and Astra – up more than 150 per cent with more than 1000 sold, making it Holden’s top-seller in February followed by Colorado and Captiva.
Meantime, Honda surged by almost 55 per cent on the back of strong sales of its volume-selling Civic (1400 – up 70%), CR-V (1375 – up 149%), HR-V (1050 – up 8.0%) and Jazz (840 – up 48%).
Mitsubishi had the second biggest volume growth of the mainstream brands at more than 24 per cent, thanks to 1630-plus Triton 4×4 sales (up 6.5%), 1620-plus Outlander sales (up 103%), 940 Lancer sales (up 137%) and almost 650 sales of its new Eclipse Cross.
The next biggest mover was Hyundai (up more than 14 per cent due to Accent and i30 sales upticks), but Toyota continued to lead the pack with a 12 per cent monthly sales increase.
Behind it in terms of February growth was Kia (up 11.7%), Nissan (10%), Ford (6.9%), Subaru (4%) and Volkswagen (1.2%).
Top 10 brands in February by sales:
Toyota — 18,280
Mazda — 9910
Hyundai — 8000
Mitsubishi — 7160
Ford — 6060
Honda — 4940
Nissan — 4860
Holden — 4690
Volkswagen — 4670
Kia — 4660