New car sales rebound for the first time in months

An easing of coronavirus restrictions, Government incentives and end-of-financial year deals have helped lift Australian new car sales off the canvas in June.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) sales data showed an uptick in new vehicle sales during June, with a total of 110,234 vehicles sold during the month – the best sales result since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis

However, in a sign of how grim things have become for the beleaguered industry, the decrease of 6.4% over June 2019 was celebrated as a good result and the strongest since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

The uplift compares with March sales which were down 17.9%, April sales down 48.5% and May sales down 35.3%. 

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber attributed the slight recovery to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, seasonality, the extension of the Federal Government’s instant asset write-off scheme, and end-of-financial-year activity at brand and dealership level.  

“Some states have seen the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and this has increased floor traffic through dealerships,” Mr Weber said.

“In addition, June is traditionally a very strong month for new vehicle sales.

“The end-of-financial-year campaigns are well known, so it’s an excellent time for businesses and consumers to replace their vehicles.

“In June 2020, this has been reflected in strong results for business purchases, which have increased by 6.3% on June 2019.

“The extension of the Government’s instant asset write-off scheme has also been a positive influence.  This program allows businesses to bring forward tax deductions for eligible expenditure.

“Finally, we have seen a strong surge in marketing activity from both brands and dealerships, who are offering an array of attractive retail packages in a bid to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

New car sales:

 Vehicle  June '20  June '19  % diff.
Toyota Hi-Lux  6537  5396 21.1%
Ford Ranger  5329  4851 9.9%
Toyota Corolla  3008  3137  -4.1%
Toyota LandCruiser  2909  2360  23.3%
Mitsubishi Triton  2721  2695  1.0%
Toyota Rav4  2632  2449  7.5%
Mazda CX-5  2530  2911  -13.1%
Toyota Prado  2374  2045  16.1%
Hyundai i30  2368  3343  -29.2%
Hyundai Tucson  2206  2344  -5.9%

Source: VFACTS

Toyota was the best-selling brand in June with 22,867 sales, ahead of Mazda with 9420 sales, Hyundai with 7737 sales, Ford with 7624 sales and Mitsubishi with 7419 sales.

Four of the five top-selling vehicles were 4x4s, with the Toyota Hi-Lux again the best with 6537 sales (up 21.1% on June 2019).

Mr Weber said associated Government initiatives had likely supported the slight recovery but said that June nonetheless represented the 27th consecutive month of decreasing sales for the automotive industry. 

“Stimulus packages from the Federal Government, such as Job Keeper and Job Seeker, have helped to restore some consumer confidence and supported the small bounce back during June.

“However, there’s no doubt that the new vehicle industry in Australia is still under high pressure.  We’re not out of the woods yet,” Mr Weber said.