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VFACTS: Strong March puts market up 22 per cent

Surprise surprise: Toyota was once again the best-selling brand in March with more than double the sales of Mazda in second place.

More sales growth expected as Aussie economy emerges from COVID-19 mauling

7 Apr 2021

THE Australian new-vehicle market has made the biggest leap yet in its recovery from the COVID-19 mauling last year, with sales up 22.4 per cent in March compared to the corresponding month in 2020.


In total, 100,005 new vehicles were sold nationally last month compared to the 81,690 shifted in March last year with all states and territories bar the ACT recording positive growth.


According to the latest round of VFacts data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the biggest growth was experienced in the Northern Territory with sales up 43.4 per cent year-on-year (918 vs 640) while the ACT’s sales took a 43.8 per cent hit, dipping from 2959 units in March last year to 1663 this year.


As for the other states, Queensland (21,588), Western Australia (9514) and Tasmania (1634) saw sales growth of 32.7, 30.5 and 30 per cent respectively while South Australian sales improved by 28 per cent (up to 6389).


New South Wales (32,499) experienced a 22.1 per cent sales increase and Victorian sales were up 19.1 per cent (to 25,800).


SUVs are continuing to lead the market with 51.7 per cent (51,705 units) of all new vehicles sold last month being some form of high-riding family hauler.


Light-commercial vehicles (LCVs) were the second-most popular vehicle class, occupying 23.3 per cent of the market (23,255 units), followed not too distantly by traditional passenger vehicles (21,360/21.4%) which proved the only major vehicle class to record negative sales growth (-1.9%).


As usual it was Toyota that proved the most popular brand with its 21,319 sales earning it a 21.3 per cent stranglehold on the market – more than double that of Mazda in second (10,785/10.8%).


Toyota’s ongoing reign at the top of the tables was warranted last month by having four models – HiLux (5319), RAV4 (3522), LandCruiser (3392) and Corolla (2892) – within the top 10.


By comparison, Mazda had just one model make it into the top 10 – CX-5 (3022 – much like third-place Hyundai (6852/6.9%) which was represented solely by the i30 (2514).


Fourth place once again went to Mitsubishi which managed to shift 6430 units (6.4% share) across its portfolio with the Triton once again being the brand’s top seller (2492).


Despite a characteristically strong showing from its ever-popular Ranger (3983), it was Ford that occupied fifth spot for March with 5977 sales (6.0%) while Kia took sixth (5802/5.8%).


Nissan managed to hold onto seventh place with its 4559 sales – almost half of which were X-Trails (1932) – landing it a 4.6 per cent market share ahead of Subaru which managed to re-enter the top 10 with 4212 sales (4.2%).


Volkswagen occupied ninth with 3358 sales (3.4%) and MG rounded out the top 10 with 3303 sales (3.3%).


While the brand didn’t manage to crack the top 10 as a best-selling brand last month, Isuzu Ute Australia’s D-Max once again found itself in top 10 models, nabbing ninth place (down from eighth in February) with 1994 examples.


Electrified vehicles had a particularly good month with pure electric vehicle sales up 152.1 per cent from 163 units in March 2020 to 411 this year.


Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) sales meanwhile were up 101.4 per cent from 142 units to 286, a feat not quite replicated by the regular hybrids which saw sales growth of 41.4 per cent (4631 vs 6548).


Pleased with the continued recovery of the market, FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said the results “could have been even stronger if some brands had not been impacted by delivery constraints in global factory supply chains”.


“This is the strongest March result in two years with private buyers representing the largest proportion of new-vehicle purchasers,” he said.


“It is our expectation that these delivery issues will continue to be resolved during the coming months.”


With the strong performance now in the bank, the market as a whole is up 13 per cent year-to-date with 263,648 new vehicle sales.


Top 10 Brands March 2021

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 21,319 21.3
2 Mazda 10,785 10.8
3 Hyundai 6852 6.9
4 Mitsubishi 6430 6.4
5 Ford 5977 6.0
6 Kia 5802 5.8
7 Nissan 4559 4.6
8 Subaru 4212 4.2
9 Volkswagen 3358 3.4
10 MG 3303 3.3


Top 10 Models March 2021

Ranking Model Sales
1 Toyota Hilux 5319
2 Ford Ranger 3983
3 Toyota RAV4 3522
4 Toyota Landcruiser 3392
5 Mazda CX-5 3022
6 Toyota Corolla 2892
7 Hyundai i30 2514
8 Mitsubishi Triton 2492
9 Isuzu D-Max 1994
10 Nissan X-Trail 1932


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