MarketPlace

SUVs continue to do the heavy lifting

Musk steps down

Tesla’s eccentric frontman Elon Musk has been forced to limit his powers and pay a large fine following a settlement deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over security fraud charges. The American regulator sued Musk over tweets claiming he had sourced funding to take Tesla private, at $420 a share. An investigation revealed this to be false. The settlement deal allows Musk to remain as the CEO, but he must step down as Chairman and pay a US$10 million fine. Tesla will also pay a US$20 million penalty as part of the settlement.

HIGHLIGHTS SUVs, with sales of 41,420 units, now represent the largest proportion of overall vehicle sales, at 43.7 percent. The tally saw the segment grow by 6.2 percent, with small SUVs contributing much of the gain, with growth of 25.7 percent for the month (2711 units) and 24.7 percent year-to-date. Light commercials, encompassing dual-cab utes, remain up 2.3 percent YTD, though were down 1.8 percent in September.

LOWLIGHTS: Despite the continued growth of the SUV segment, total national monthly sales were down 5.5 percent in September, compared with the same month last year. Bad news? Not really. On the back of five record years, a decline is just part of a normal market cycle. Passenger car sales represented one third of the total market in September, with a tally of 30,487 units. This represents a decline of 20.1 percent compared with September ’17 and 13.4 percent decline YTD. Nine months in, this leaves total YTD sales 0.9 percent below a record pace for 2018.