THE new car market continues to take a battering at the hands of COVID, as the Toyota HiLux falls to ninth overall, with the August new vehicle sales figures showing a 28.8 per cent fall in total new car sales year-on-year, down from 85,633 to 60,986.
Year to date figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), through the national VFACTS report, also show 575,906 sales for the eight months ending 31st August 2020, down 20.4 per cent on the same period in 2019 (723,283 sales).
Released today, just one day after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced a seven per cent drop in Gross Domestic Product for the June quarter, the largest drop ever in a single quarter, the only clear winners were the models in the national top ten.
For Toyota, who remained the number one selling brand despite its HiLux hiccup, the RAV4 was the star, ahead of the Ford Ranger, Mazda CX-5, Toyota LandCruiser and Corolla, with the Hyundai i30 in at sixth and Mitsubishi Triton taking seventh.
The Kia Cerato holds down eighth place, with the Mazda CX-3 in tenth. It was a good month for Mazda, taking out second ahead of Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Ford for total vehicle sales in August.
On a state-by-state basis, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market is clear. The best performing state was the Australian Capital Territory with 1,312 sales, up 0.4 per cent on August 2019.
New South Wales, Australia’s largest market, recorded 23,431 sales for the month, down 16.3 per cent on August 2019. Victoria, which is currently under Stage 4 Restrictions, recorded a 65.9 per cent downturn with 8,347 sales for the month.
FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said that while the overall industry was showing some response to stimulus packages, the story for Victoria was less than promising.
“The industry has moved swiftly to implement robust COVIDSafe protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of employees and customers is preserved,” he said.
“However, it is particularly difficult for our members and their Victorian dealer networks under the current Stage 4 Restrictions, and this is reflected in the reduced sales figures,” he added.
“While we have the utmost respect for essential health priorities, the automotive industry supports the re-opening of our economy under appropriate COVIDSafe protocols.”
The industry has now experienced 29 consecutive months of diminishing sales across all sectors. In August, there were 14,758 passenger vehicle sales, 32,378 SUV sales and a total of 11,234 ute and light commercial vehicle sales.