THE Toyota Hilux has ended 2018 as Australia’s most popular car for the third consecutive year, edging out the Ford Ranger once again for the top spot.
The battle for top car spot was taken out by Hilux, which sold 51,705 units last year according to VFACTS figures released this morning in a softening market, with a total of 1,153,111 new vehicles registered in 2018.
That’s three per cent down on 2017’s record figure, with December dropping 14.9 per cent on the same month the previous year.
In the battle of the brands, it was Toyota claiming the lion’s share of the Australian market, extending its share from 18.2 to 18.8 per cent over the year, with second and third placed Mazda and Hyundai also bucking the falling trend.
“New vehicle sales results in 2018 reflect a challenging climate across the Australian economy including a slowing housing market, tightening of money lending and the drought,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Chief Executive Tony Weber.
“Australian consumers continue to value the comfort, flexibility and utility of SUVs, which collectively accounted for 43 per cent of the market in 2018. We predicted this trend to continue last year, and this has certainly been the case.”
Passenger car sales dropped by 15.9 per cent, with 378,413 new units hitting the road; SUV sales grew by 6.4 per cent to 495,300, and the light commercial segment crept up by 0.6 per cent to end 2018 with 237,972.
The heavy commercial segment recorded a record year of 41,426 units – up 12.4 per cent on last year’s tally.
Today also marked the announcement of a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty period for all Toyota vehicles sold after 1 January 2019, hot on the heels of Subaru’s similar announcement on New Year’s Day.
The move brings both brands into line with almost all major car makers, who now offer a five or seven year manufacturer’s warranty period. Nissan remains the last major car maker to offer a three year, 100,000km warranty.