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Most states up despite ongoing COVID issues

ACT the worse hit while sales during COVID show increases for NT, WA and Tasmania

5 Apr 2022

THE Australian car industry has been through the wars in the past two years as COVID and its tentacles ravaged sales and threatened business survival and worker employment.


Since the first two months of 2020, just before the effects of COVID began to strangle the economy, most states and territories report stronger sales figures to show they have pounded through the pandemic.


Much of this is based on the huge buyer demand and eroded by the lack of commensurate supply.


Around the country, comparing the first two months of 2020 with the same period this year, the big winner is the Northern Territory with an 18.8 per cent sales increase. It is followed by Queensland with a 15.2 per cent rise in sales, then WA with a 14.8 per cent lift.


A truckload of words has been thrown by NSW and Victorian ministers over seeking a greater slice of the national GST pie, claiming that Western Australia – through its mining interests – has more than enough to share.


The two major states argue that WA has become the fattened cow because of the royalties that are making the state, and its citizens, better off than those in other parts of Australia.


If that was the case, then it certainly is not reflected in the sales figures of vehicles – usually the first sign of a higher disposable income.


WA vehicle sales are down 3.6 per cent on 2016 and still down 4.7 per cent on last year, when sales hit a seven-year high of 16,775 units.


By contrast, NSW sales are down 19 per cent on 2016 – when sales were their highest in the past seven years at 61,025 units – and 6.5 per cent down on last year. 


Victorian sales in the first two months of this year are 13.5 per cent down on 2016 but up almost two per cent on last year.


If there was any GST discrepancy and the rumoured community flow-on benefit, it doesn’t show up in car sales.


Queensland lifted 15.2 per cent in the past two years, attaining sales to the levels of the good times around 2016. 


In South Australia, sales in the first two months of 2022 are also around the 2016 levels (around 11,000 units) and it’s the same in WA and showing a relatively minor 3.6 per cent difference to seven years ago.


Tasmania has fared well with a 14.6 per cent rise since early 2020 and is up 13.6 per cent on 2016. Again, a trend across most states and territories.


The ACT and Victoria have recorded the only sales falls in the period, with Victoria down a modest 1.8 per cent on 2020 but a bigger 13.5 per cent drop on 2016 and an even more pronounced 21.8 per cent decline on the heady days of 2018.

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