Slump in new car sales continues in July

June's sales lift proves a false dawn as July delivers another blow to flagging new car sales.

Not even the extension of the Federal Government’s instant asset write-off scheme to the end of December could prevent Australian new car sales from recording another month of negative growth in July, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

After briefly picking itself up off the canvas in June to record the best sales result since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, albeit a drop of 6.4%, the new vehicle market fell away again in July, recording 72,505 sales, a decrease of 12.8% on July 2019, when sales totalled 83,184.

An official statement from the FCAI said the July results “demonstrate the continuing challenging conditions facing the market, due to a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, said: “On a year-to-date basis, there were 514,920 vehicles sold to 31 July 2020, which represents a decrease of 19.2% on the same period in 2019, when sales totalled 637,650 vehicles.”

Toyota was once again leading brand for the month with 15,508 sales, a decrease of 2368 vehicle over July 2019 and 9412 sales year-to-date. Mazda took second spot on the podium (7806 sales), followed by Mitsubishi (4684 sales), Hyundai (4634 sales) and Kia (4625 sales).

SUVs, light commercials rule

Sports utility and light commercial vehicles remained the main drivers of the market, the two segments accounting for 70.9% of all sales. 

The former claimed 50.4% of the market with 36,560 sales, while LCVs claimed 20.5% with 14,898 sales. 

Passenger vehicles accounted for the remaining 25%, with a total of 18,149 sales for the month.

In terms of individual models, Toyota RAV4 (4309 sales) jumped from sixth spot in last month’s top 10 to nudge its stablemate Hi-Lux out of top spot. 

It was followed by Ford Ranger (3104), Toyota Hi-Lux (2947), Toyota Corolla (2192) and Hyundai i30 (1745). 

Results 'not unexpected'

Mr Weber said given current market conditions and the industry’s long-term downturn, the July 2020 results were not unexpected. 

“The Australian automotive industry, like many sectors in the Australian market, continues to face challenging and difficult conditions, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The extended Stage 4 restrictions which have now been invoked in Australia’s second largest market, Victoria, will no doubt further challenge the industry during the coming months.”

The ACT was the only state or territory to achieve an increase in sales in July 2020 versus last year, with 1584 sales representing an increase of more than 30%.

Victoria was proportionally the biggest loser versus last year, with 17,487 sales representing an almost 28% reduction on July 2019. Queensland was down just over 9% versus July 2019, with 15157 sales.

Top 10 individual models (by sales volume):

 Rank  Vehicle  July '20  July '19 % diff.
 1  Toyota Rav 4 4309  2419   78.1%
 2  Ford Ranger 3104 168  -2%
 3  Toyota Hi-Lux 2947  3359  -12.3%
 4  Toyota Corolla  2192  3244  -32.4%
 5  Hyundai i30  1745  2252  -22.5%
 6  Mazda CX-5  1727  2160  -20%
 7  Mitsubishi Triton  1593  1524  4.5%
 8  Mazda CX-3  1355  1285  5.4%
 9  Toyota Camry  1281  1598  -19.8%
 10  Mazda 3  1224  1894  -35.4%

Source: VFACTS