THE Australian new-vehicle market reached the magic million mark in November, but remained flat, with sales down 7.4 per cent compared with the same month last year.

Data from industry statistician Vfacts shows even the SUV market failed to ignite, and the only growth of consequence was among the 4×4 utes, again dominated by Toyota’s HiLux.

Total November sales amounted to 93,860 units – 11,500 down on the same time last year – for a cumulative year-to-date total of 1,065,583.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ Tony Weber said the statistics reflected the state of the economy.

“However, it is encouraging that sales have passed the one million mark with one more selling month to go,” he said.

“The fall in sales is a modest outcome win a market where consumer preferences are rapidly shifting from passenger vehicles to SUVs.”

Passenger-car sales in November were down more than 20 per cent, to 29,250, but 4×4 ute sales were up nearly 9 per cent and light-commercial sales increaed 4 per cent to 20,900.

Hilux, on 4671, was way out front, with Ford Ranger in second spot, more than 1000 sales astern, and Toyota Corolla stayed in third place on 2659 sales.

Fourth was Mitsubishi’s Triton 4×4 (2404), edging ahead of the Hyundai i30, which found 2378 buyers.

Just 35 sales behind was the Mazda3, followed by stablemate Mazda CX-5, which was some 50 sales ahead of rival SUV Nissan X-Trail, six sales in front of the Navara 4×4.

Tenth spot was occupied by another SUV stalwart in Hyundai’s Tucson.

Holden is having a tough time with its year-to-date sales down by a third and its imported Commodore was comprehensively outsold by its Colorado ute.

Kia’s Picanto again easily led the micro market, but Fiat 500 overtook Mitsubishi Mirage – by a solitary sale – to claim second spot.

Hyundai Accent topped the light car sector, Corolla the small car market and Camry remained unchallenged in the medium car segment.

Kia Carnival was still king of the people movers and Mustang was way in front among the sub-$80K sports cars.

The small SUV segment was a dogfight, led by Nissan Qashqai on 1343 sales from Mazda CX-3 (1302), Mitsubishi ASX (1261) and Hyundai Kona, on 1001.

There was a similar battle in the medium SUVs, headed by CX-5 (1998), X-Trail (1942), and Toyota Rav4 (1936).

Prado topped the large SUV class.

Aston Martin had 15 buyers in November, the new Alpine 110 snared 12 buyers in its first few days, 12 more bought Bentley Bentaygas, Holden Astra clocked up a neat 1000 sales and Mitsubishi Outlander was one behind on 999.

The overall top 10 were:
  1. Toyota 18,271
  2. Mazda 8905
  3. Hyundai 7969
  4. Mitsubishi 6953
  5. Ford 5519
  6. Nissan 5330
  7. Holden  5125
  8. Volkswagen 4713
  9. Kia 4644
  10. Subaru 3921

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.