Auto industry targets the magic million

Strong May sales show car industry is on track to reach a million sales in 2021.

Growing confidence in the Australian economy is reflected in May’s new vehicle sales which are the strongest monthly figures so far in 2021, up an impressive 68% on the corresponding month last year and eclipsing even pre-COVID figures for the same month in 2019. 

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported 100,809 new vehicle sales in May, surpassing the strong March result of 100,005.

The result is also an 8.9% increase on May 2019, before the impacts of COVID-19 led to a collapse in new vehicle sales throughout most of 2020.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the industry was on track to achieve more than one million new vehicles for the full year, adding the result showed confidence in the national economy and pent-up demand was strong enough to counter issues related to COVID-19 uncertainties and supply chain problems.
“I expect this situation will continue to improve in the second half of this calendar year as confidence continues to grow, coupled with incentives such as the extension of the depreciation allowance for business which was announced in the Federal Budget during the month,” Mr Weber said. 

Toyota was once again market leader in May recording sales of 21,156 for a market share of 21%, or 10.5% better than second placed Mazda (10,554).

Korean car maker Kia finished the month in third place (7124), followed by Ford (6493) and Mitsubishi (6478). 

The Toyota Hi-Lux was the highest selling vehicle in May (4402) closely followed by the Ford Ranger (4254), Toyota RAV4 (4014), Toyota LandCruiser (3399) and the Isuzu Ute D-Max (3058).

Every segment showed strong growth.

The passenger vehicle market was up by 6379 sales (46.1%) over the same month last year; the sports utility market, up by 24,956 vehicle sales (87.1%); the light commercial market, up by 8386 vehicle sales (56.7%); and the heavy commercial vehicle market, up by 1194 vehicle sales (45.7%) versus May 2020.

Notable high achievers in terms of total year-to-date sales versus last year’s were: Genesis up 312% (173 sales YTD); GWM up 271% (5489 sales YTD); Isuzu ute up 103% (14841 sales YTD); LDV up 169% (5459 sales YTD); MG up 247% (15,241 sales YTD); Skoda up 132% (4773 sales YTD); and Volvo car up 93% (4356 sales YTD)

Brands on the other side of the ledger included: Chrysler -31% (70 sales YTD); Citroen -35% (49 sales YTD); Ferrari -26% (74 sales YTD); Honda -25% (9794 sales YTD); Jaguar -26% (454 sales YTD); and Mercedes-Benz vans -23% (1784 sales YTD). 

In terms of where Australia is sourcing its cars from, Chinese-made cars were up 242% YTD to a total of 27,430 vehicle sales, surpassing German-built cars (17,844 YTD), but still lagging Korea (62,883 YTD), Thailand (98,684 YTD), and Japan (164,752 YTD).  

Despite all the hoopla about Australia being an unfriendly legislative environment for electric vehicles (EVs), their sales continue to rise off a low base with 436 sales for the month bringing YTD sales to 1691, a 184% increase on the same period last year. 

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) sales were also up a healthy 105% on the same period last year, with a total of 1122 sales.

But hybrids still comfortably lead the alternative propulsion class with 30,816 sales YTD, representing a 62% gain on last year.

Petrol and diesel-powered vehicles remain the dominant technology, with a total of 258,546 petrol and 148,862 diesel vehicles sold during the period, representing an increase over last year of 31% and 44% respectively.  

Australia new car sales for May 2021:

 Ranking  Vehicle May '21   May '20 % difference 
 1. Toyota HiLux   4402  3527  24.8%
 2.  Ford Ranger  4254  2663  59.7%
 3.  Toyota RAV4  4014  2345  71.2%
 4.  Toyota LandCruiser  3399  2132  59.4%
 5.  Isuzu Ute D-Max  3058  1010  202.8%
 6.  Mazda CX-5  2768  1479  87.2%
 7.  Mitsubishi Triton  2317  866  167.6%
 8.  Toyota Prado  2214  1358  63%
 9.  Toyota Corolla  2190  1626  34.7%
 10.  Hyundai i30  2127  1191  78.6%