Australia’s new car sales dipped in October for the 19th consecutive month, compared to the same month in the preceding year. Manufacturer-supplied VFACTS figures show sales were down 9.1 per cent for the month, to 82,456, with drops recorded in every State and Territory.
Year-to-date (YTD) cumulative sales are naturally well down, by 8.0 per cent to 893,920 units. That’s the lowest January-October tally since 2011. That means the market for new cars is now the smallest it has been for eight years.
It’s also the longest downturn since the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago – as consumer confidence wanes and tighter credit requirements mean more deals are falling over after customers have already signed on the dotted line.
And perhaps people are just deciding to hang onto cars longer, too.
While vehicle sales fell across all types, conventional passenger vehicles and light commercial utes and vans were hardest hit, down by 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
SUV sales fell 3.0 per cent, and this vehicle type captured nearly 50 per cent overall market share (46.9 per cent to be precise).
Toyota sales fell below the market average (4.6 per cent) to 16,988 sales, giving it a commanding lead over all competitors and market share of 20.6 per cent. Three of the top-ten-selling models were also Toyotas.
Hyundai finished second on 7455 sales, actually up 0.3 per cent. Mazda in third dipped by 22.1 per cent to 6370 units. Kia finished fourth for the month (and sits sixth annually) thanks to a 10.5 per cent increase against the trend, to 5062 cars.
Ford was fifth with 4891 units (down 8.8 per cent), ahead of Mitsubishi (4811, down 22.6 per cent). Volkswagen finished seventh on 4220 (down 12.7 per cent), Nissan eighth (4011, down 5.4 per cent), Subaru ninth (3303, down 24.4 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans tenth (3204, up 13.4 per cent).
Holden finished 11th on 3086 units, down 41.3 per cent. That’s the Lion Brand’s second-weakest tally in the VFACTS records, after posting a new low in September, edging out Honda (2761, down 10 per cent), Isuzu Ute (1947, down 7.3 per cent), BMW (1785, up 4.9 per cent) and Suzuki (1464, up 26.5 per cent).
Audi did not manage the kind of growth shown by rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW, dipping 28.1 per cent to 1246 units. However, with an influx of new product hitting dealers, not least the new Q3, expect the worm to turn eventually for the Ingolstadt marque.
The next few slots in running order were filled by smaller-scale brands that bucked the trend and showed growth. They are Lexus (890, up 16.6 per cent), Renault (824, 9.9 per cent), MG (765, up 115 per cent from a low base), Volvo Car (up 0.6 per cent to 695), and Skoda (559, up 16.2 per cent).
Lower-volume brands that took October sales hits included Land Rover (553, down 12.8 per cent), LDV (501, down 12.4 per cent), Jeep (393, down 33.6 per cent), Porsche (257, down 2.7 per cent), Peugeot (245, down 8.9 per cent), Jaguar (150, down 36.4 per cent), and Alfa Romeo (83, down 11.7 per cent).
The running order had the Toyota HiLux on top (3516, down 20.1 per cent), ahead of the Ford Ranger (3160, down 10 per cent). Next was the Hyundai i30 (2216, up 8.2 per cent), which looks to be benefiting from its lower starting price than the new-generation Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3.
Fourth was the Toyota RAV4 (2132, up 34.8 per cent) despite buyers enduring a long waiting list on the Cruiser Hybrid variant, making it the nation's number-one SUV yet again. The Corolla was fifth (2117, down 20.5 per cent), ahead of the Kia Cerato (1827, up 36.5 per cent).
Rounding out the top ten were the Mazda CX-5 (1708, down 14.6 per cent), Hyundai Tucson (1693, up 10.7 per cent), Nissan X-Trail (1592, down 3.2 per cent) and Mitsubishi ASX (1517, down 12.8 per cent).
Half of the top ten were compact SUVs, alongside three small cars and two utes. There’s three Toyotas, two Hyundais, one one each from Ford, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.
Top sellers by vehicle segment
- Micro Cars (393, down 25 per cent): Kia Picanto (322), Mitsubishi Mirage (37), Fiat 500 (34)
- Light Cars < $25k (4580, down 23.3 per cent): Toyota Yaris ( 863), Suzuki Swift (538), Hyundai Accent (529)
- Light Cars > $25k (172, down 29.2 per cent): Mini hatch (138), Audi A1 (27), Citroen C3 (7)
- Small Cars < $40k (10,634, down 19.8 per cent): Hyundai i30 (2216), Toyota Corolla (2117), Kia Cerato (1827)
- Small Cars > $40k (943, down 16.8 per cent): Audi A3 (236), Mercedes-Benz A-Class (202), Mercedes-Benz B-Class (198)
- Medium Cars < $60k (2283, up 4.6 per cent): Toyota Camry (1505), Mazda 6 (144), Skoda Octavia (122)
- Medium Cars > $60k (1476, up 43.2 per cent): Mercedes-Benz C-Class (546), BMW 3 Series (365), Mercedes-Benz CLA (111)
- Large Cars < $70k (658, down 25.3 per cent): Holden Commodore (469), Kia Stinger (131), Skoda Superb (38)
- Large Cars > $70k (231, down 9.8 per cent): Mercedes-Benz E-Class (84), BMW 5 Series (64), Chrysler 300 (25)
- People Movers (1204, up 14.3 per cent): Kia Carnival (587), Honda Odyssey (123), Mercedes-Benz V-Class (119)
- Sports Cars < $80k (546, down 44.6 per cent): Ford Mustang (214), Hyundai Veloster (76), BMW 2 Series (75)
- Sports Cars $80k - $200k (443, up 29.5 per cent): Mercedes-Benz C-Class (196), Toyota Supra (46), Audi A5 (42)
- Small SUV < $40k (9802, down 1.8 per cent): Mitsubishi ASX (1517), Hyundai Kona (1367), Mazda CX-3 (1216)
- Small SUV > $40k (1213, down 15.6 per cent): BMW X1 (286), Volvo XC40 (200), Lexus UX (176)
- Medium SUV < $60k (13,192, down 4.2 per cent): Toyota RAV4 (2132), Mazda CX-5 (1708), Hyundai Tucson (1693)
- Medium SUV > $60k (2627, down 0.5 per cent): Mercedes-Benz GLC (573), BMW X3/X4 (419), Audi Q5 (395)
- Large SUV < $70k (8845, down 6.2 per cent): Toyota Prado (1513), Toyota Kluger (1087), Isuzu MU-X (672)
- Large SUV > $70k (1349, up 14.9 per cent): Mercedes-Benz GLE (334), BMW X5 (168), Lexus RX (166)
- Upper Large SUV < $100k (1419, up 14.8 per cent): Toyota LandCruiser (1325), Nissan Patrol (94)
- Upper Large SUV > $100k (201, up 12.3 per cent): BMW X7 (60), Audi Q8 (39), Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (34)
- Small Vans (179, down 24.2 per cent): Volkswagen Caddy 101, Renault Kangoo (40), Peugeot Partner (30)
- Medium Vans (1618, down 14.3 per cent): Toyota HiAce (619), Hyundai iLoad (294), Ford Transit Custom (169)
- 4x2 Utes (2390, down 16.1 per cent): Toyota HiLux (838), Isuzu D-Max (382), Ford Ranger (287)
- 4x4 Utes (12,707, down 9.3 per cent): Ford Ranger (2873), Toyota HiLux (2678), Holden Colorado (1218)
Sales were down irrespective of buyer type. Private sales were down 5.2 per cent (35,395), business fleet sales fell 8.2 per cent (34,822), rental sales fell 27.2 per cent (6083), and government purchases dipped 7.3 per cent (3065).
Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars were 273 units (up three-fold), excluding Tesla which doesn't disclose sales. Hybrid car sales were registered as 2749 units, nearly double October 2018's tally (1595). Nearly all of these were made by Toyota/Lexus. Sales of petrol-electric passenger cars (1845) smashed diesel-powered passenger cars (842).
Sales by country of origin: Japan (25,296), Thailand (19,495), Korea (12,550), Germany (6478), USA (3577), England (1937), China (1602), Czech Republic (1222), and Mexico (1142).
Sales by State and Territory: NSW (26,134, down 8.5 per cent), Victoria (24,535, down 8.8 per cent), Queensland (16,132, down 7.2 per cent), WA (7461, down 10.3 per cent), SA (4901, down 11.4 per cent), Tasmania (1600, down 14.7 per cent), ACT (1119, down 21.1 per cent), NT (574, down 19 per cent).
“Year to date sales of new motor vehicles in 2019 are almost 78,000 units (eight per cent) lower than the same period in 2018," said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries CEO Tony Weber.
“While the drought and other domestic conditions are impacting the market, our key concern is the effect over-regulation of the financial sector is having on new vehicle sales.
"The FCAI and our members have been concerned about the risk-averse approach to lending in Australia for some time and see improved access to finance as a key to driving economic growth in 2020.
“Of particular interest is the fact that sales are down across all buyer types, with private sales down 5.2 per cent compared to October 2018, business sales are down 8.2 per cent and government sales are down 7.3 per cent.”
Sales by brand in October
|Brand||October 2019 sales||Change over Oct 2018|