Vehicle sales hit the gas in January

Strong month signals positive start for new vehicle sales in 2021.

New car buyers appear to have shaken off last year’s COVID blues with surging January sales indicating strong consumer confidence and a likely catch-up in demand suppressed during last year’s lockdowns. 

The strong January result follows the recovery in new car sales experienced during the final months of 2020 with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the automotive industry in Australia, reporting a total of 79,666 vehicles were sold in January 2021, up 11.1 % on the same month last year.

The positive result was reflected across every state and territory with sales increases ranging between 38.7% (Northern Territory) and 1.9% (Victoria) compared with January 2020. 

Sales in Queensland were up by 18.1% to 16,633 vehicles, ranking the Sunshine State third behind the Northern Territory and Western Australia in percentage growth terms and third in overall sales volume behind New South Wales and Victoria. 

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the January result was a positive sign for the industry. 

“During the past three months sales had increased by 12.4% compared to the corresponding period 12 months earlier,” Mr Weber said.

“The January sales numbers are indicative of positive consumer confidence in the domestic economy.

“With attractive interest rates and a range of other economic indicators encouraging consumption, we hope to see this trend in new vehicle purchasing continue through 2021.”

The FACI said the sales growth was being driven by increased demand from private buyers with sales up 25.4% in that category while sales in other categories were notably less bullish. 

Sales to business buyers were down 1.3% while sales to government and rental companies also fell by 11.2% and 12.4% respectively.

SUVs and light commercial vehicles again proved popular with buyers, up 17.4% and 24.6% respectively on their January 2020 performance, while passenger vehicle sales fell by 9.3%.

Toyota again reinforced its status as Australia’s favourite vehicle brand, with a dominant 16,819 sales, representing 21.1 per cent market share.

It was followed by Mazda with 8508 sales (10.7%), Hyundai with 5951 sales (7.5%), Kia with 5500 sales (6.9%) and Mitsubishi with 5179 sales (6.5%). 

 Toyota Hilux was the best-selling vehicle in January 2021 with sales of 3913 vehicles, followed by the Ford Ranger (3120), Toyota RAV4 (3066), Toyota Landcruiser (2,388) and Mazda CX5 (2,081).

Top 10 individual models (by sales volume): 

 1.  Toyota Hi-Lux  3913
 2.  Ford Ranger  3120
 3.  Toyota RAV4  3066
 4.  Toyota LandCruiser  2388
 5.  Mazda CX-5  2081
 6.  Toyota Corolla  2062
 7.  Hyundai i30  1952
 8.  Mitsubishi Triton  2908
 9.  Isuzu D-Max  1822
 10.  Nissan X-Trail  1593

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