Sales record tumbles

Toyota reigns, Mazda wins, Holden and Ford struggle

TOBY HAGON

THE books have finally closed on 2015, marking the year as a big one for luxury cars, small SUVs and anything from Thailand.

It will also go down as the year the ute onslaught took a breather, with sales of pick-ups slowing as overall vehicle sales surged 3.8 percent to a record 1,155,408.

Mazda was – again – the biggest winner of 2015, adding 13,320 vehicles to its 2014 tally for 114,024 sales, cementing second place in the race behind Toyota’s 206,236.

Holden and Ford had years to forget, posting record low market shares of 8.9 and 6.1 percent respectively. Holden scraped into third place and put on a brave face – “There are many positive trends and several key model lines performed strongly,” Holden MD Mark Bernhard said – while Ford didn’t bother.

Toyota was still dominant, although it again shed market share, down to 17.8 percent. It had more market share (18.6 percent) when it was in third place in 1996, showing how much the market has fragmented in two decades.

“Market share is not our focus,” Toyota sales and marketing boss Tony Cramb said. “In the end, market share doesn’t pay the bills.

You’ve just got to hit your sales plan and we were happy with the sales numbers for the year.”

Premium brands accounted for more than 10 percent of sales for the first time – 115,000 vehicles.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz set individual records to again dominate, the three-pointed star seemingly uncatchable with 36,374 sales, more than 11,000 ahead of second-placed BMW.

While fewer cars arrived from China (down 44.2 percent, to 2320 cars), Thailand lifted to 249,805 (up 10.1 percent). Japan remained out in front, at 335,288 (up 1.9 percent).

SUVs overall passed a new milestone in 2015, now accounting for more than one in three sales, as traditional passenger cars slumped to 44.6 percent.

Ute sales dropped 0.4 percent as the market awaited the first all-new Toyota Hilux in a decade – enabling Ford to celebrate rare good news with increased market share for Ranger.

Holden put on a brave face after scraping into third place