Australia’s most popular cars revealed
The Australian new car market ended the decade with a whimper as it recorded the lowest sales total since 2011.
Last year, 1,062,867 new cars found a home. The tally is nearly 8 per cent down on the 2018 figure.
December capped off a horror year with the market down about 4 per cent compared to the previous year.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief Tony Weber said there was a multitude of reasons for buyers staying away from dealerships.
"2019 reflects a tough year for the Australian economy, with challenges including tightening of lending, movements in exchange rates, slow wage growth and, of course, the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing," Mr Weber said.
Toyota was again Australia's favourite brand, selling more than 205,000 vehicles in 2019.
The Japanese giant also accounted for four of the top 10.
Toyota Australia's president Matthew Callachor applauded the brand's rising market share in a tough market and was confident of a strong year ahead.
Our market share was 20 per cent or higher in six months of the year and was 18 per cent or above on a further four occasions, providing a level of consistency that generates confidence in consumers as well as among our dealers," Mr Callachor said.
"Forecasts for continued low interest rates and slightly stronger economic growth make us cautiously optimistic for the upcoming year."
The best-selling vehicle was again its HiLux ute (47,649 sales), which convincingly beat its long term rival and perennial sales bridesmaid, the Ford Ranger (40,960).
The Mitsubishi Triton (25,819) took out the bronze medal in the battle of the tradies.
The Toyota Corolla (30,468) was the best selling passenger vehicle, soaring past long-term rivals the Hyundai i30 (28,378) and the Mazda3 (24,939).
Mazda's CX-5 was again the go-to choice for Aussie families - the best selling SUV in the country tallied 25,539 sales.
However, the Toyota RAV4 (24,260) came extremely close to overtaking the long-time bestseller - supply issues with News Corp's Car of the Year, the RAV4 Hybrid, may have robbed Toyota of the chance to eclipse its long-time rival.
Toyota's LandCruiser (23,024) - a favourite in the bush and suburbs alike - was the ninth best selling vehicle in the country.
This is despite a range-topping LandCruiser selling for well north of $100,000.
There were very few bright spots in what was a dark year for many brands.
Kia was one of the few to end the year on a relative high, with 61,503 sales - an increase of 4.6 per cent over the previous year.
The South Korean brand's surge was led by the Cerato (21,757) small car.
Sales of Volkswagen's sibling brand Skoda jumped an impressive 20 per cent to 7000 for the year.
Luxury car brands Lexus, Porsche and Volvo had a good year, but all still sell less than 10,000 cars annually.
And low-volume budget Chinese brands, including MG and LDV, experienced massive sales growth as buyers chased value over badge prestige.
A lowlight of 2019 was the continued decline of Holden.
As the brand finally cut ties with the Commodore nameplate, sales dropped by nearly 30 per cent on the previous year.
Holden sold just 5915 examples of the European-built Commodore in 2019 - a far cry from the 95,000 it sold in 1998 when it was the best selling car in the country.
It wasn't alone in having a horror year. Established mainstream brands Mazda, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen experienced double-digit sales declines and even Toyota fell by 5 per cent.
Top 10 sellers in 2019
Toyota HiLux - 47,649
Ford Ranger - 40,960
Toyota Corolla - 30,468
Hyundai i30 - 28,378
Mitsubishi Triton - 25,819
Mazda CX-5 - 25,539
Mazda3 - 24,939
Toyota RAV4 - 24,260
Toyota LandCruiser - 23,024
Kia Cerato - 21,757
Top 10 brands in 2019
Toyota - 205,766
Mazda - 97,619
Hyundai - 86,104
Mitsubishi - 83,250
Ford - 63,303
Kia - 61,503
Nissan - 50,575
Volkswagen - 49,928
Honda - 43,868
Holden - 43,176