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VFACTS: National sales slide continues

Back on top: The Ford Ranger returned as Australia’s best-selling model in September, usurping the Toyota RAV4.

September new-car sales down 21.8 per cent, FCAI hopeful of slow bounce-back

7 Oct 2020

THE ongoing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to wreak havoc on new-car sales, however Australia’s peak automotive industry body is hopeful of seeing an upswing soon.


According to the latest round of VFacts sales figures, nationwide new-car registrations in September were down 21.8 per cent compared to the previous September, while year-to-date sales are down 20.5 per cent – 0.1 per cent more than last month.


The falling sales numbers were again spearheaded by Victoria which in metro areas remains in Stage Four lockdown, however slightly more positive trends in other states combined with easing restrictions have given hope that a turnaround could be on the cards.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said that removing some barriers to purchase and increasing consumer confidence could result in more positive trends to end the year.


“First of all, we are seeing Covid-19 health restrictions across Australia, and particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, continue to ease,” he said.


“Another sign that the market may improve is the announcement by the federal government last week of an easing of lending conditions for private buyers and small business in Australia.


“Freeing up restrictions around financial lending will act as a stimulus for Australian industry.”


Just like in August, the lockdown in Melbourne caused Victoria to be the hardest-hit state with just 10,447 new car sales over the month, representing a 57.7 per cent skid over 2019, where 24,686 new cars were bought in the first month of spring.


Nevertheless, the fall was less than last month, when Victorian sales plummeted 65.9 per cent to 8347 sales, obviously caused by the shutting of automotive dealerships and decreased consumer confidence due to the economic effects of the pandemic.


The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) is currently in discussions with the Victorian government to allow the re-opening of automotive showrooms, which if successful would include the new- and used-car dealers, as well as commercial vehicle, motorcycle, tyre, car rental and farm machinery dealers.


Other major losers for the month included South Australia (5177 sales, down 22.1 per cent) and Tasmania (1268, -34.2%), however results in other parts of the country suggest the situation may not be as dire as the overall figures make it look.


Heavy lifters New South Wales (26,014 sales) and Queensland (16,149) were down, albeit by a far less severe margin (-6.0% and -7.9% respectively), while some states even grew their monthly sales.


The low-volume ACT (1382, +3.4%) and Northern Territory (666, +10.6%) markets fared well, while the fourth-biggest Western Australia market increased its sales by 1.5 per cent with 7882 new sales.


The overall passenger car market was the hardest hit with a 28.8 per cent slide representing 7180 fewer sales, while SUVs claimed nearly half of all sales with 32,647 units – down 22.0 per cent or 9207 sales.


Light-commercial vehicles dipped 13.6 per cent to 15,772 per cent, while heavy commercials dropped by 10.2 per cent to 2846 units.


Toyota again comfortably topped the sales tables with 12,936 sales in September (18.8% share), bringing its yearly tally to 138,622, itself representing a 21.5 per cent market share.


After enjoying two consecutive months as the best-selling vehicle in Australia, Toyota’s RAV4 medium SUV was finally knocked off its perch by the Ford Ranger, tallying 3726 sales – up 19.6 per cent on September 2019, likely influenced by September 2020 having nearly five more selling days than in 2019.


The strong performance from the Ranger could be due to Ford releasing a number of new variants for the pick-up range is recent months, including the XL Special Edition, XLT Fully Loaded, XLT dual-cab chassis and FX4 Max.


Following hot on the heels of the Ranger was its main rival, the Toyota HiLux, with 3610 sales marking a 7.3 per cent improvement, no doubt aided by the release of the mid-life update last month.


Despite losing top spot to the Ranger, the RAV4 still performed strongly with 2433 sales (+41.8%), while the LandCruiser off-roader was good enough for sixth place with 1599 sales (-0.7%) and the Corolla small car at eighth (1462, -34.1%). 


Mazda finished second with an even 7000 sales and 10.1 per cent segment share, spearheaded by the CX-5 medium SUV which snared fifth place with 1765 units (-25.1%).


Third place belonged to Hyundai with 5273 units (7.6% share), with two entrants in the top 10 – the fourth-placed i30 small car (1786, -27.0%) and the Tucson medium SUV which rounded out the top 10 with 1199 sales (-19.4%).


Kia continued its strong run of form to finish in fourth place with 5092 sales, with the Cerato small car doing the heavy lifting for the Korean brand in equal sixth place (1599, -20.9%).


Fifth place belonged to Ford with 4816 units, led by the strong performance of the aforementioned Ranger pick-up.


Despite sitting in fourth place overall in 2020, Mitsubishi finished sixth in September with 4179 sales, represented in the top 10 by the Triton pick-up with 1446 sales, a massive 51.8 per cent drop but still enough for ninth place.


Seventh place belonged to Volkswagen with 3493 sales and a 5.1 per cent share, followed by Nissan in eighth with 2588.


Mercedes-Benz Cars continued its strong performance in 2020 with ninth place and 2395 sales, while Subaru rounded out the top 10 with 2121 units, pushing out the likes of Honda.


Among premium brands, BMW came close to securing a top-ten spot with 2007 sales (-9.6%) for the month, while Audi recorded 1280 new registrations (-0.8%) in the midst of a prolific new-model rollout.


Top 10 Brands September 2020

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 12,936 18.8
2 Mazda 7000 10.1
3 Hyundai 5273 7.6
4 Kia 5092 7.4
5 Ford 4816 7.0
6 Mitsubishi 4179 6.1
7 Volkswagen 3493 5.1
8 Nissan 2588 3.8
9 Mercedes-Benz Cars 2395 3.5
10 Subaru 2121 3.1


Top 10 Models September 2020

Ranking Model Sales
1 Ford Ranger 3726
2 Toyota HiLux 3610
3 Toyota RAV4 2433
4 Hyundai i30 1786
5 Mazda CX-5 1765
6 Toyota LandCruiser 1599
7 Kia Cerato 1599
8 Toyota Corolla 1462
9 Mitsubishi Triton 1446
10 Hyundai Tucson 1199

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