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VFACTS: Signs of life in Australian new-car market

Dominance: in a strong month for Toyota, the Prado performed particularly well with a 116.1 per cent year-on-year increase.

November sale provide first month of positive growth after 31 months of decline

7 Dec 2020

FOLLOWING two-and-a-half years of consistent negative new-car sales results, the Australian market finally has some good news with November sales increasing over the corresponding period last year.


According to the latest round of VFacts figures, November brought about 95,205 new-car sales for the month, representing a 12.4 per cent increase over the 84,708 sold over November 2019, or 10,497 units.


The November increase sees the overall sales decline for 2020 ease from 18.8 per cent at the end of October to 16.1 per cent, with a total of 821,316 sales so far this year compared to 978,628 at the same point in 2019. 


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said the return to growth was encouraging and motivated by a few factors.


“Recent Australian new vehicles sales have seen 31 months of straight decline. This has been caused by a number of well recognised factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and environmental and financial issues,” he said.


“With the Australian economy showing improvement, it’s good news to see new vehicle sales trending in a more positive direction.


“Why are we seeing an improvement now? We believe there are a few contributing factors, including rising optimism from the Australian public as COVID-19 restrictions ease.


“This increase in consumer confidence is backed by government support programs during the pandemic, the easing of lending restrictions, and the current competitive automotive market.


“We also believe that, given our inability to travel internationally, many Australians are choosing to purchase a new vehicle and holiday at home this year – and we fully expect to see a notable increase in family driving trips over the Christmas season.”


Of the November sales, SUVs represented the strongest mix with over half of all new sales (52.5 per cent) with 50,016 units, marking an increase of 26.5 per cent year-on-year.


Light-commercial vehicles were next with a 22.3 per cent share (21,252 units), ahead of passenger cars with 21.8 per cent (20,711 units) and heavy-commercial vehicles with a 3.4 per cent share (3226).


Around the country, every state and territory except for Tasmania experienced positive sales results, with double-digit growth seen in all other states apart from Victoria and South Australia. 


New South Wales topped the sales tables with 30,343 units (up 13.0 per cent), followed by Victoria with 26,616 (+9.1%) and Queensland with 19,874 (+19.5%).


Western Australia (8829, +12.6%), South Australia (5650, +7.5%), the ACT (1451, +14.5%) and the Northern Territory (780, +32.9%) all performed well, while Tasmania’s aforementioned 10.9 per cent slide netted 1662 sales.


Toyota once again dominated new-car sales with 23,204 new registrations in November, making for a hefty 24.4 per cent share of the total market.


Playing a large part in its success is the fact that five out of the top six best-selling vehicles in November were Toyotas, led by the HiLux pick-up with 5038 units – up 33.0 per cent over the same period last year.


The RAV4 medium SUV (3800, +64.1%), LandCruiser SUV/pick-up (2947, +79.6%), Corolla small car (2774, +24.5%) and Prado large SUV (2602, +116.1%) claimed third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, capping a dominant month for the brand.


Mazda claimed second place with 9053 units and a 9.5 per cent share, helped predominantly by the CX-5 with 2412 units, up 39.0 per cent year-on-year.


Third place belonged to Hyundai with 6903 units and a 7.3 per cent share, with the Korean brand featuring two entrants in the top 10 – the i30 small car (2047, -12.5%) and Tucson medium SUV (1995, +38.2%), which finished ninth and tenth respectively.


Ford finished fourth with 6613 units or a 6.9 per cent share, with the Ranger pick-up (4260, +22.0%) snaring second place overall behind the HiLux.


Rounding out the top five was Mitsubishi with 5488 units (5.8% share), despite having no models in the top-10 list.


Next up was Kia (5376, 5.6% share), followed by Nissan (4001, 4.2% share) and Volkswagen (3280, 3.4% share).


Subaru followed close behind on 3203 units (3.4% share), while the top 10 was rounded out by Isuzu Ute (2943, 3.1% share) whose D-Max pick-up managed eighth place overall with 2095 sales, up 45.7 per cent.


Of the premium brands, BMW scored a rare sales win over compatriot and arch rival Mercedes-Benz Cars, with its 2647 sales narrowly edging out Benz by just nine sales, with 2638. Audi finished with 1819 sales, up 13.1 per cent for the month.



Top 10 Brands November 2020

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 23,204 24.4
2 Mazda 9053 9.5
3 Hyundai 6903 7.3
4 Ford 6613 6.9
5 Mitsubishi 5488 5.8
6 Kia 5376 5.6
7 Nissan 4001 4.2
8 Volkswagen 3280 3.4
9 Subaru 3203 3.4
10 Isuzu Ute 2943 3.1


Top 10 Models October 2020

Ranking Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 5038
2 Ford Ranger 4260
3 Toyota RAV4 3800
4 Toyota LandCruiser 2947
5 Toyota Corolla 2774
6 Toyota Prado 2602
7 Mazda CX-5 2412
8 Isuzu D-Max 2095
9 Hyundai i30 2047
10 Hyundai Tucson 1995

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