Top-selling cars by category in 2019
Most popular passenger car
In terms of traditional passenger cars, the highest seller wasn’t a huge surprise. Toyota’s perennially popular Corolla small hatch and sedan took top honours, coming in third overall with close to 30,500 sales, but that was still about 17,000 behind the HiLux.
Most popular small car
In the entry-level small segments, there are three clear leaders when it comes to sales. The Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and the Mazda3. While the Mazda3 was once the top-selling car in Australia (2011-2012), a move upmarket in 2019 that prompted a price increase from Mazda, saw the 3 slip down the sales ladder to seventh last year. Hyundai’s popular i30 – that gets a facelift later this year – overtook its Mazda rival in 2019, while in 2020, the 3 is being outsold by the Kia Cerato as well.
Most popular mid-size vehicles
When it comes to medium and large cars, things have changed a lot in just a few years. The Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore once dominated these larger segments, but the shift away from passenger cars and the closure of local manufacturing operations have had an impact. Once the most popular vehicle categories, the number of medium and large models available in Australia has more than halved and iconic nameplates like the Honda Accord, Subaru Liberty and Hyundai Sonata barely trouble the sales charts.
Toyota’s Camry remains the most popular pick among these models with a tick under 17,000 sales in 2019. A shift from local manufacturing to Japanese sourcing following the closure of Toyota’s factory in late 2017 hasn’t impacted Camry sales anywhere near as drastically as the Commodore when Holden moved to German sourcing after the closure of its local plant. Holden’s sales have declined so much that parent company General Motors has announced that it is killing off the Holden brand.
Interestingly, the next most popular medium/large car in Australia last year wasn’t an affordable mainstream model – it was a German luxury car! The Mercedes-Benz C-Class nabbed about 6800 sales, highlighting the trend towards more premium fare. In fact, the C-Class sedan and wagon range was Australia’s top-selling vehicle with a premium badge last year.
Benz is the brand of choice for buyers with deeper pockets too. Its E-Class and S-Class sedans topped their respective segments.
Most popular people movers
When you think of people-movers, nameplates like the Toyota Tarago might still come to mind. But the Tarago is being discontinued – replaced by the larger Granvia – and the most popular seven-to-eight-seater family hauler is Kia’s Carnival. Given the popularity of seven-seat SUVs, however, people-movers are nowhere near as sought after as they were in the 1980s and 90s.