Majority rules: The brands pinning sales success to a single model

  • Thursday 1st January 1970

We dive into year-to-date sales results to see which brands have all their eggs in one basket.

Every brand has a top-seller. Differences in price, positioning and market acceptance mean this will always be an inescapable truth.

Some brands, more than others, have a clear top seller. To the end of July 2020 there are 17 individual brands relying on a single model for over half their sales tally.

While it could be viewed as a measure of success, it also carries a degree of risk. A sudden interruption to supply or a shift in market forces has the potential to send sales figures plummeting.

Looking through the list shows a repeated pattern of utes and SUVs as major contributors, though that’s not always the case.

While the list below focusses on brands offering more than one model, it leaves out those with only a single-model range and those that report VFACTS figures under a single group, like Alpine, Aston Martin, Caterham, Chrysler, Ferrari, McLaren and Morgan.

These are the brands leaning heavily on the popularity of a single model for sales success:

Jeep – Grand Cherokee

Starting things off, Jeep owes 50.2 per cent of its sales success to the Grand Cherokee. Of 2834 sales for the brand this year 1424 went to the Grand Cherokee large SUV.

Within its class the Grand Cherokee is a comparatively mild success, commanding a 2.8 per cent share of its segment, compared to the top-selling Toyota Prado, with an 18.2 per cent share of the segment, and 9411 sales year-to-date to the end of July 2020.

Jeep’s next-best seller is the Wrangler, with 639 sales so far, representing almost a quarter (22.5 per cent) of the brand’s total sales locally.

MG Motor – MG 3

While SUVs are often the key to success, MG Motor bucks the trend. Of its three-model range the ZS and HS SUVs fall in line behind the MG 3 hatch. The brand has amassed 6857 sales to the end of July, of which 2384 were MG 3s, or 50.8 per cent.

Although it is one of the few cars in the class without an ANCAP safety rating, the MG 3 is a sales success in the light car class, with deliveries up by 70.5 per cent in the first seven months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, and a 16.8 per cent share of the segment making it the top seller in the city-car class.

The Toyota Yaris isn’t going down without a fight though with 3375 sales for a 16.3 per cent share. It should be noted, though, the Toyota Yaris decline is attributable to the runout of the current model and the imminent introduction of an all-new model.

After the MG 3, the brand’s next-best seller is the ZS SUV with 2031 reported as sold, or almost one-third (29.6 per cent) of MG's sales in Australia.

Jaguar – E-Pace

Despite having many more familiar name plates, and identifiable models in its range, Jaguar’s newest model takes the cake for the brand. The E-Pace holds 51.2 per cent of Jaguar’s sales tally with 487 or the brand’s 951 sales.

Within the prestige small SUV category the E-Pace commands 6.4 per cent of the market, putting it a long way off the pace of the Audi Q3, which leads the segment with 20.5 per cent share, or 2031 sales.

Without the E-Pace, Jaguar would instead have to turn to the F-Pace, which has racked up 212 sales for the year so far, or 22.3 per cent of Jag’s total.

Bentley – Continental GT

Low volume prestige brands often show extremes within their figures, where just a couple of sales can make a big impact in percentage terms. In Bentley’s case 53.5 per cent of its sales, or 53 vehicles, were the Continental GT coupe and convertible, amid 99 cars sold in total.

The Conti’s positioning puts it into the sports cars over $200,000 class, which is also prone to extremes. The Continental range's 7.3 per cent share looks tepid alongside the dominant Porsche 911 with 243 sales for a 33.5 per cent segment win.

Bentley also swims against the SUV tide, with the Bentayga contributing 34 sales, or 34.3 per cent of the brands sales as the second-best seller.

Rolls-Royce – Cullinan

Like Bentley, the Rolls-Royce range is hardly overflowing with variants to pick from, or more accurately the sales are divided by coupe/convertible, sedan, and Cullinan with no individual reporting for Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and Dawn.

That doesn’t matter though because it’s the Cullinan that leads with 14 of Rolls-Royce’s 26 sales, or 53.8 per cent.

Sales within the prestige upper large SUV segment are, naturally, exclusive with a 0.5 per cent share, compared to the segment-best Mercedes-Benz GLS with 25.2 per cent from 567 sales. It hardly seems right to consider the two rivals.

Cullinan aside, the number two spot went to the coupe and convertible range with 11 sales, or 42.3 per cent, while sedans have accounted for only one sale this year.

Ram – 1500 Express

While most brands don’t class different trim levels as unique models, Ram is a little more granular with its sales and lists the 1500 Express, 1500 Laramie and 1500 Warlock as individual models.

On the basis of that the 1500 Express, Ram’s price leader, holds a 54.1 per cent slice of the pie, with 1085 of the locally-converted American pick-up truck specialist’s 2007 sales.

Australian sales don’t divide the ute class by size, so the 1500 Express and its 1.2 per cent segment share sits among more traditional 4x4 utes like the Ford Ranger 4x4 with 20,205 sales and a 23.3 per cent segment slice.

Close behind the Express, the 1500 Laramie contributed 887 sales so far this year or 44.2 per cent of Ram's numbers.

Interestingly if you were to combine 1500 sales as a single entry Ram’s split would look very different with 1989 1500s and 18 combined 2500 and 3500 sales. That’s 99.1 per cent to the 1500 and just 0.9 per cent to the bigger toys – though it is worth noting 2500 and 3500 sales are taking a break before the introduction of the new-generation 2500 due in early 2021.

Lamborghini – Coupe and Convertible

Much like the VFACTS quirk that allows other prestige brands to group models under one umbrella listing, Lamborghini bundles Aventador and Huracan together under the coupe/convertible banner. Because of this the supercar ranges hold a 54.5 per cent share over the brand's sales, with 36 of 66 units.

From a segment perspective Lamborghini holds a 5.0 per cent share of the $200,000 and up sports car class that the Porsche 911 sits at the head of.

Where SUVs would usually dominate, for now the Urus is the brand's second best seller making up 45.5 per cent of Lamborghini's sales with 30 vehicles.

SsangYong – Musso and Musso XLV

A ute can make all the difference to a brand’s sales standing, and in the case of South Korean brand, SsangYong the Musso and Musso XLV 4x4 ute ranges account for 57.4 per cent of sales. That’s 489 of the 852 vehicle total.

SsangYong doesn’t play in the 4x2 sector, but with the 4x4 class it makes up a mere 0.6 per cent, compared to the close-run one-two battle between Ranger (20,205 units, 23.3 per cent) and HiLux (19,327 units, 22.3 per cent).

The SsangYong brand is next supported by the closely related Rexton SUV, with 164 sales, or 19.2 per cent of the brand’s result.

Alfa Romeo – Stelvio

For a brand most commonly associated with driving passion and a rich racing history, it may be surprising to learn that Alfa Romeo owes the biggest shares of its sales to the Stelvio SUV range.

Of 380 Alfa Romeo sales, 220 were Stelvios, or 57.9 per cent. In its segment the Stelvio commands 11.4 per cent of the prestige medium SUV class, The Mercedes-Benz GLC wagon leads with an 18.5 per cent share from 3001 sales.

Following the Stelvio, the Giulia prestige medium sedan holds second place for the brand at 25.8 per cent, or 98 sales. Both Stelvio and Giulia are expected to receive a mid-life refresh either late in 2020 or early 2021.

LDV Automotive – T60 4x4

While it may not be a household name, LDV Automotive is fast working to remedy that with the T60 4x4 ute. Within the LDV range the T60 claims a 58.1 per cent share.

The 4x4 ute segment crown belongs to the Ford Ranger 4x4, next on the list.

LDV's second-best seller was the G10 van which contributed a 685 sales (17.6 per cent) compared to the T60's 2256 sales.

Ford – Ranger 4x4

In this instance it bears repeating, a ute can make all the difference, which certainly holds true in Ford’s case. The Ranger 4x4 is not only the nation’s top-selling vehicle, but also holds the balance of Ford’s sales by a significant amount.

Ford Ranger 4x4 accounts for 20,205 or the Blue Oval’s 32,224 sales. That’s a hefty 62.7 per cent of Ford’s overall split, but also 23.3 per cent of the 4x4 ute segment, making it best in class, albeit overtaken by HiLux when 4x2 and 4x4 versions of both are combined.

After the Ranger, the Ranger-based Everest SUV holds the second slot with a comparatively tiny 3134 sales, or 9.7 per cent of Ford’s total.

The imbalance is all the more stark when you consider that Ranger 4x4 is one of 12 Ford models currently counted in VFACTS results, unlike smaller brands who have one stand-out from three or four models.

Haval – H2

With 1605 sales on the board overall, Haval doesn’t play in the big leagues just yet, but with 1039 of its H2 small SUV finding local homes, it’s a clear winner within the line-up at 64.7 per cent.

The fleet favourite Mitsubishi ASX tops the segment with a 15.0 per cent share from 7847 sales. In comparison the H2’s 2.0 per cent is lightweight, but far from worst in segment.

Were it not for the H2, Haval’s next effort comes from the H6 medium SUV contributing 395 sales so far this year making up 24.6 per cent of the brand’s total.

Great Wall – Steed 4x2

With only two models to pick from – essentially both the same, but split by their category definition – the Great Wall range shows an unusual preference toward the Steed 4x2 in a market where 4x4 utes traditionally rule.

Of the 994 Great Walls sold this year 65.9 per cent are the Steed 4x2. That’s 655 units.

The 4x2 segment is owned by Toyota with a 38.6 per cent market share for the HiLux 4x2 at 5968 units. The only cars the Steed outsells are 4x2 versions of the, Mercedes-Benz X-Class and Volkswagen Amarok – both of which are discontinued models.

Maserati – Levante

Not unlike Alfa Romeo before it, Maserati might be best known for sleek sports cars and race day triumphs, but it's the Levante SUV people most desire to own with 192 or the brands 284 sales belonging to the Levante, or 67.6 per cent.

Within the prestige large SUV class the Levante holds 1.9 per cent of the market, this compares to the segment's top-seller, the Mercedes-Benz GLE wagon with 19.2 per cent from 1903 vehicles sold.

Within the Masterati range the silver medan goes to the Ghibli sedan which as accrued 59 sales for the year for a 20.8 per cent portion of the brand's sales.

Genesis – G70

None of the totals are too special, but Hyundai’s relatively new dedicated prestige brand Genesis owes a 70.6 per cent slice to the G70. That’s 60 units of the 85 Genesis vehicles sold.

In the medium prestige segment the 0.8 per cent segment split is paltry compared to the 24.9 per cent stake of the best-selling Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan and wagon, with 1766 sales.

The other 25 Genesis sales go to the larger G80 range for a 34.1 per cent stake. Those figures are expected to move significantly with an all-new G80 and expansion into the large SUV segment with the GV80, both due later in 2020.

Fiat – 500

At over three quarters of Fiat’s overall sales, the 500 and related Abarth 595 range is a lot of eggs in one basket. The micro car’s 288 sales represents 76.4 per cent of the 377 car Fiat total.

The 500’s segment is small with just the Mitsubishi Mirage and Kia Picanto as rivals. The 500 holds a 10.5 per cent share of segment, but the clar win goes to the Picanto with a 74.4 per cent share, or 2034 units. Mirage holds the remaining 15.0 per cent from 411 sales.

Oddly, it isn’t the 500X SUV that plays a supporting role to the 500, rather the very niche Abarth 124 Spider. It’s 47 sales and 12.5 per cent portion of Fiat sales only just beats the 500X with 42 sales or 11.1 per cent.

Fiat Professional – Ducato

By far the biggest brand whitewash is that of the Fiat Professional Ducato, with a monstrous 95.1 per cent share of the van division sales. That is 408 vehicles from a total of 429.

Fiat Professional, while a part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group like Fiat, lists as a separate brand in Australia. Hence why the split doesn’t include passenger cars, the same occurs with Mercedes-Benz cars and vans.

While the Ducato rules its own range it gets grouped with heavy commercial vehicles with a 3.5 to 8.0 tonne GVM, a segment it holds a 4.2 per cent share of. At the top of the class, the Isuzu N-Series truck range holds down 25.6 per cent, from 2501 sales.

With a two model range, Fiat Professional’s only other model, the Doblo van is a long way back in the number two slot with 21 sales for the remaining 4.9 per cent.