The diversity and multi-purpose capability of the current crop of light commercial vehicles saw private sales in this segment in Australia rise 10% year on year in November 2016 as the country's new vehicle market headed toward a record sales year according to industry-compiled VFACTS data.
Strong private sales of light commercials contributed to two models, both predominantly diesel-powered, leading the market for the second month in succession with sales of the market-topping Toyota Hilux up 14% on November 2015 and the second-placed Ford Ranger up 12.6%. The Nissan Navara was the third light commercial vehicle to join the top 10 best sellers for the month.
The chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said the strong gain in light commercial sales was indicative of how the role of these vehicles has changed over time.
"Private buyers are increasingly using these dual cab utilities as a weekday workhorse and a weekend recreational vehicle," Weber said.
"The growing sophistication of these vehicles with their passenger car comfort and equipment levels, family-sized cabins and strong towing capacity positions them as an alternative to the traditional passenger car. More entrants to this light commercial market are on the way in coming years so we can only expect this segment to grow."
Total industry sales for November reached 98,937, a narrow gain of 0.3% year on year, but maintaining the industry's momentum toward record calendar year of sales in 2016.
Year to date, the November result boosted sales past the million unit mark to 1,079,370, 2.2% up year on year.
Passenger cars sales took a 40.3% share of the total November market, still narrowly ahead of the fast-rising SUV segment, which saw another 1.4% gain to 37.9%. Light commercials also made ground to 18.8%.
Traditional passenger cars have continued a slow decline in Australia this year; the market growth areas were in medium-sized SUVs (which accounted for 16.2% of November sales, up 2%) and 4X4 pick-up and cab-chassis light trucks, up 0.6% to 12.9%.
The Toyota Hilux led November sales, with 3,839 units, followed by the Ford Ranger with 3,410, the Toyota Corolla (3,245), Toyota Camry (2,957) and Mazda 3 (2,877).
Toyota was market leader in November with 18,162 sales and 18.4% of the market, followed by Mazda (9.9%), Hyundai (8.1%), Holden (7.8%)) and Ford (6.9%).
Year to date, Toyota was the clear market leader with 17.6% share, followed by Mazda (10%), Hyundai (8.8%), Holden (8.0%) and Ford (6.9%).