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VFACTS: Victorian lockdown throttles new-car sales

In a trot: The Toyota RAV4 comfortably topped the August sales table with 4825 units.

28.8 per cent skid in new-car sales in August with Victoria largely to blame

3 Sep 2020

FOLLOWING a month of tight Stage Four lockdown restrictions, new-car sales in Victoria are in freefall, spearheading a nationwide monthly decline of 28.8 per cent that brings the overall year-to-date drop to 20.4 per cent.


According to official Vfacts figures, the clamp-down in Victoria has seen the state’s sales tally drop a massive 65.9 per cent, with 8347 sales for the month compared to 24,476 in August 2019.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said that while other states were showing some positive signs, the re-opening of businesses in Victoria was essential to the car industry’s recovery.


“The industry has moved swiftly to implement robust CovidSafe protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of employees and customers is preserved,” he said.


“However, it is particularly difficult for our members and their Victorian dealer networks under the current Stage 4 Restrictions, and this is reflected in the reduced sales figures.


“While we have the utmost respect for essential health priorities, the automotive industry supports the re-opening of our economy under appropriate CovidSafe protocols.


“We’ve seen 29 consecutive months of diminishing sales in this industry, and there’s no doubt our members are feeling the pinch. The move to commence the reopening of industry and markets, especially in Victoria, needs to start as soon as possible.”


Retail sales in Victoria are banned at least until Stage Four restrictions are lifted – set for mid-September at the earliest – with online sales still permitted.


Victoria’s 8347 sales were nearly met by Western Australia’s 7106 new registrations, despite a vast population difference of roughly 3.9 million residents – 6.5 million in Victorian compared to 2.6m in the west.


Overall sales across the country stood at 60,986 units (-28.8% from 85,633) with Tasmania also experiencing a significant dip, down 35.8 per cent.


Other states fared better, with New South Wales (-16.3%, 23,431 units), Queensland (-14.1%, 14,477), South Australia (-10.8%, 4597), Northern Territory (-6.8%, 586) and Western Australia (-4.6%, 7106) all dropping by less than the national average.


The ACT even grew its year-on-year sales, even if it was by a paltry four units from 1307 to 1312.


As usual, Toyota was the best-selling brand for the month by some margin, with 12,449 total units moved, marking a 20.4 per cent overall market share despite a 25.5 per cent skid compared to August 2019.


The strong performance came off the back of the popular RAV4 medium SUV, a runaway success in August with 4825 sales – more than double the 2006 it sold last August and the second straight month it has topped the sales table.


Oddly, one of Toyota’s prime movers, the HiLux – which is on track to win Australia’s overall sales crown for the fifth year running – was down 66.9 per cent to 1217 units, due in no small part to the updated version landing in local showrooms at the end of the month.


The LandCruiser off-roader and Corolla small car also performed strongly for Toyota, registering fourth and fifth respectively on the overall sales tally.


Mazda finished the month in second place with 6921 units (-5.1%, 11.3% share), with the CX-5 medium SUV its best-seller with 1884 units, an increase of 4.8 per cent compared to 2019 and enough for third place overall.


The CX-3 small SUV rounded out the top 10 with 1136 units, also with a year-on-year increase – this time by 3.6 per cent.


Hyundai took the sales bronze medal with 4525 units (-38.2%), with the i30 small car being the only model from the South Korean car-maker in the top 10 with 1429 sales, enough for sixth position despite a massive 49.2 per cent slide.


Kia finished fourth for the month with 4521 units – only down 3.0 per cent year-on-year and helped by the Cerato small car (1264), which finished eighth overall.


Mitsubishi rounded out the top five with 4308 sales (-31.0%), with the Triton claiming the lion’s share of the triple diamond brand’s sales with 1406 units (19.9%).


A strong second-place performance from the Ford Ranger (2935, -7.7%) helped the Blue Oval to sixth overall (3898, -20.7%), while Volkswagen finished seventh with 2785 units despite no top-ten models.


Nissan sales were down a considerable 47.6 per cent year-on-year (2380) but still good enough for eighth place, while Mercedes-Benz Cars was the strongest performer among luxury brands with a ninth-placed 2064 units (-13.3%).


Rounding out the top ten was Subaru (2052), with the Forester medium SUV the strongest performer at 712 units.


Merc’s performance outshone its premium German rivals including BMW (1414, -24.0%) and Audi (1008, -26.2%), the latter of which is up 1.4 per cent year-to-date thanks to an avalanche of new-model launches in 2020.


Brands to buck the downward sales trend so far in 2020 include Ram Trucks (+34.0%), MG (+57.1%), Haval (+94.6%), Great Wall (+22.4%) and Genesis (+25.3%), while SsangYong is finally starting to pick up momentum since its Australian re-launch in December 2018, with a massive 174.2 per cent increase.


Top 10 Brands August 2020

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 12,449 20.4
2 Mazda 6921 11.3
3 Hyundai 4525 7.4
4 Kia 4521 7.4
5 Mitsubishi 4308 7.1
6 Ford 3898 6.4
7 Volkswagen 2785 4.6
8 Nissan 2380 3.9
9 Mercedes-Benz Cars 2064 3.4
10 Subaru 2052 3.4


Top 10 Models August 2020

Ranking Model Sales
1 Toyota RAV4 4825
2 Ford Ranger 2935
3 Mazda CX-5 1884
4 Toyota LandCruiser 1633
5 Toyota Corolla 1464
6 Hyundai i30 1429
7 Mitsubishi Triton 1406
8 Kia Cerato 1264
9 Toyota HiLux 1217
10 Mazda CX-3 1136

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