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VFCATS: Australian new-car market bounces back

Dominant: The HiLux led a commanding performance from Toyota, with the brand representing five of October's six best-selling vehicles.

Finally some good news with October new-car sales showing signs of recovery

6 Nov 2020

FOLLOWING months of steep new-car sales drops as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks as though the Australian new-car market is showing signs of life with a far more stable October result.


According to the latest round of VFacts figures, nationwide new-vehicle sales tallied 81,220 units, down only 1.5 per cent on the 82,456 sold over the same month in 2019.


While that in itself is not particularly impressive, it is well ahead of the 18.8 per cent overall sales skid year-to-date, and a far cry from the massive 48.5 per cent year-on-year plunge experienced in April, when the full effects of the pandemic first started being felt.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said the October sales results were encouraging.


“After a very challenging year, we are seeing ‘green shoots’ in the Australian new vehicle market,” he said. “Every state and territory except Victoria and Tasmania have seen significant growth and, given the circumstances, Victoria’s result is seen as encouraging,”


“These results mark the 31st month of decreasing sales for the industry, which has experienced a series of financial and market challenges during the period. 


“However, the green shoots that we are seeing in October give us great hope that we may begin to see further recovery during the coming months.


“Nationally, the state of industry operations is returning to normal as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Additionally, government initiatives such as a constructive budget that included the instant asset write off, along with more accessible finance for consumers, is also acting as a welcome stimulus for the industry,” he said.


As mentioned, Tasmania and Victoria were the only states to not record year-on-year growth in October, with the latter only just starting to make its way out of strict Stage Four lockdown measures, with new-car dealerships finally allowed to re-open near the end of the month.


Victorians sales were down 28.3 per cent to 17,594 units (-6941 units), while registrations on the Apple Isle fell 16.1 per cent to 1343 units (-257).


All other states and territories saw positive results, led by Queensland with 18,012 units (+1880, +11.7%) and New South Wales with 27,759 units (+1625, +6.2%).


Western Australia (8732 units, +17%), South Australia (5614, +14.5%), the ACT (1433, +28.1%) and Northern Territory (733, +37.7%) all saw growth as well, indicating some underlying consumer confidence.


Both the SUV and light-commercial vehicle (LCV) segments saw growth in October – up 6.7 and 11.6 per cent respectively – while the passenger car segment slumped 24.5 per cent, down 5763 units. Heavy commercial sales were down 1.2 per cent, or 37 units.


As usual, Toyota was the dominant sales force in October, recording 19,505 sales for a healthy 24 per cent overall market share.


Leading the charge for Toyota was the recently updated HiLux, which beat out its main rival, the Ford Ranger, to claim top spot with 4444 sales, up 26.4 per cent over October 2019.


In what was a dominant performance from Australia’s most popular car-maker, Toyota managed to occupy five of the top six spots for individual sales with the RAV4 medium SUV (4084, +91.6%), LandCruiser 4x4 (2429, +15.6%), Prado large SUV (2207, +45.9%) and Corolla small car (1943, -8.2%) finishing third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.


It was a particularly strong month for the LandCruiser, however it is worth noting that Toyota bundles the 200 Series SUV (1640) and 70 Series workhorse (789) as a single model in VFacts figures.


Second place belonged to Mazda with 7457 sales (9.2% share), with Toyota’s dominance meaning only one Mazda model was represented in the top 10 – the venerable CX-5 medium SUV, in eighth place with 1912 units (+11.9%).


Hyundai came in third with 5951 units, represented in the top 10 by the Tucson medium SUV, which held ninth place with 1693sales.


Ford claimed fourth spot with 5744 units, with the majority of Ford sales comprising of the ever-popular Ranger pick-up, which finished second behind the HiLux with 4217 units (+33.4%).


Kia rounded out the top five with 5304 sales, represented at the top end only by the Cerato small car (1619 units, -11.4%), which finished tenth overall for individual models.


Next up was Mitsubishi with 4510 units and Nissan with 3539, neither of which had any models represented in the October top 10.


Eighth place belonged to Volkswagen with 3112 units, followed by Subaru on 2902, led by the Forester medium SUV with 1274 units.


Rounding out the top 10 was Mercedes-Benz Cars with 2288 units, while Isuzu Ute (2252) narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish on the back of its new-generation D-Max pick-up which finished seventh overall with 1932 sales.


Of the main premium brands, Merc (-9.8% year-on-year) led its main rivals BMW (1843, -5.8%) and Audi (1481), the latter of which was up 1.2 per cent for the month.


Electrified sales saw a rise in October, with sales more than doubling compared to October 2019.


Top 10 Brands October 2020

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 19,505 24.0
2 Mazda 7457 9.2
3 Hyundai 5951 7.3
4 Ford 5744 7.1
5 Kia 5304 6.5
6 Mitsubishi 4510 5.6
7 Nissan 3539 4.4
8 Volkswagen 3112 3.8
9 Subaru 2902 3.6
10 Mercedes-Benz Cars 2288 2.8


Top 10 Models October 2020

Ranking Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 4444
2 Ford Ranger 4217
3 Toyota RAV4 4084
4 Toyota LandCruiser 2429
5 Toyota Prado 2207
6 Toyota Corolla 1943
7 Isuzu D-Max 1932
8 Mazda CX-5 1912
9 Hyundai Tucson 1678
10 Kia Cerato 1619

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