Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Nissan makes history by trumping Holden sales in February

Last month, Nissan's new car sales surpassed Holden's for the first time in Australian automotive history. It's also the second time in the past twelve months that Nissan has beaten Ford in a monthly new car sales tally. In fact, Nissan is selling more cars now than when it assembled them locally (between 1972 and 1992).

In disturbing news for Australia's struggling car manufacturers, the top-three selling car brands in February were Japanese. Only two locally made cars, the Commodore and Cruze, made it into the top 10 - barely.

Industry veterans are blaming the Australian dollar, which has been at record highs for two years. In December, one Australian dollar bought 80 Japanese Yen, but as the Japanese currency weakens, the value of one Australian dollar climbed to almost 95 Yen at the start of March.

The artificially devalued Yen has enabled Australian importers of Japanese cars to offer abnormally sharp discounts. Honda Australia has even reverted to sourcing some cars from Japan (rather than Thailand) because of the price drop.

Brand-new models of the Nissan Pulsar, Toyota Corolla and RAV4 have recently been released in Australia with the same - or in some cases even cheaper - prices than they started with in the 1990's, despite being much better equipped.

The dramatic effect of rising currency on the Australian car manufacturing industry has renewed calls for the Reserve Bank to weaken the dollar - and quickly. The industry is at risk of being squeezed down the market ladder as European brands also move to make the most of favourable exchange rates. Last year a Mercedes Benz was the second-highest selling medium sedan after the Toyota Camry, ahead of the Mazda6 and Subaru Liberty.

The preliminary sales figures for February 2013:

Top-selling brands (compared to February last year)

  • Toyota - 15,992 (up 7 per cent)
  • Mazda - 8728 (up 0.4 per cent)
  • Nissan - 8225 (up 32 per cent)
  • Holden - 7687 (down 20 per cent)
  • Hyundai - 7505 (up 1 per cent)
  • Ford - 6590 (down 5 per cent)
  • Volkswagen - 4190 (up 1.4 per cent)
  • Honda - 3862 (up 48 per cent)
  • Subaru - 3104 (down 3.8 per cent)
Top-selling cars in February (compared to February last year)
  • Mazda3 - 3378 (down 11 per cent)
  • Toyota HiLux - 3319 (up 46 per cent)
  • Toyota Corolla - 3158 (up 0.5 per cent)
  • Nissan Navara - 2639 (up 30 per cent)
  • Mitsubishi Triton - 2336 (up 72 per cent)
  • Hyundai i30 - 2055 (down 15 per cent)
  • Ford Ranger - 1739 (up 118 per cent)
  • Holden Commodore - 1733 (down 42 per cent)
  • Holden Cruze - 1730 (down 39 per cent)
  • Nissan Dualis - 1548 (up 70 per cent)
Figures provided by

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