New-car sales hit the brakes in April, but the slowdown wasn't as bad as most other markets. Here's a detailed look at the weakest month in 26 years.
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New-car sales in April 2020 represented the biggest month-to-month slump since records were kept, the weakest result in 26 years, and the 25th month in a row in decline – a longer slowdown than the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009 – as the coronavirus took its toll.

Official figures show a total of 38,926 vehicles reported as sold – versus 75,550 for the same month last year – a decline of 48.5 per cent, versus sharper declines overseas of between 80 and 98 per cent.

Once heavy trucks and buses are removed from the tally, 37,086 cars, utes, vans, and SUVs were reported as sold last month – down from 73,148 in April 2019 – representing a 49.3 per cent reduction.

RELATED: Our May 2020 VFACTS report


Toyota, which has led the Australian new-car market for 17 years in a row, topped the sales charts with five models inside the Top 10 – HiLux (down 35.5 per cent), RAV4 (up 54.4 per cent), Corolla (down 50.8 per cent), Prado (down 35.7 per cent) and LandCruiser (down 21.2 per cent).

Toyota posted a relatively modest sales decline of 31.8 per cent (compared to the market slump of 48.5 per cent) and as a result increased its market share to 26.5 per cent – its highest on record, representing one in four of all new vehicles sold.

Mazda ranked second, finishing 60.5 per cent down from 2019 figures, with three models – the CX-5 (down 64.5 per cent), Mazda3 (down 79.1 per cent) and CX-30 (not released last April) – in the top 20.

Kia finished third outright for the first time ever – and overtook its sibling Hyundai (down 65.3 per cent) for the second month in a row – with a 44.9 per cent sales decline compared to April 2019.

However, when year-to-date totals are compared, Hyundai leads Kia, albeit by a slim margin of less than 1000 sales.

US pick-up specialist Ram and China's MG were the only brands to post growth compared to April 2019, with sales increasing by 14.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Holden's clearance saw it move just 1501 cars last month, though it stayed inside the Top 10, with a 56.9 per cent decline versus April 2019.

April 2020 sales by brand:

BrandApril 2020 salesChange compared to April 2019
Isuzu Ute1099-41.2%
Mercedes-Benz Cars981-54.4%
Mercedes-Benz Vans369-11.7%
Volvo Car287-53.4%
Land Rover248-60.6%
Great Wall72-28.7%
Fiat Professional46-41.8%
Alfa Romeo13-78.7%
Aston Martin1-92.3%


Toyota dominated the market, representing five of the top six models, its best result on record. The HiLux was again number one (2339) but the RAV4 (1911), buoyed by strong demand for the hybrid model, placed second, which relegated the Ford Ranger to third (1540).

The Kia Cerato (860) outsold its Hyundai i30 twin (695) in the small < $40k segment, however the Toyota Corolla led the category with 1195 sales.

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment

  • Micro: Kia Picanto (99), Fiat 500 (20), Mitsubishi Mirage (19)
  • Light < $25k: Kia Rio (251), MG3 (222), Suzuki Swift (182)
  • Light > $25k: Mini (74), Audi A1 (17), Citroen C3 (1)
  • Small < $40k: Toyota Corolla (1195), Kia Cerato (860), Hyundai i30 (695 + 58 Elantras)
  • Small > $40k: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (217), BMW 1 Series (116), Audi A3 (65)
  • Medium < $60k: Toyota Camry (675), Mazda 6 (71), Skoda Octavia (39)
  • Medium > $60k: BMW 3 Series (254), Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (94), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (87)
  • Large < $70k: Kia Stinger (75), Holden Commodore (30), Skoda Superb (2)
  • Large > $70k: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (36), BMW 5 Series (30), Maserati Ghibli (11)
  • Upper Large: Chrysler 300 (16), BMW 6 Series GT (15), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe (5)
  • People Movers: Kia Carnival (220), Hyundai iMax (30), Honda Odyssey (26)
  • Sports < $80k: Ford Mustang (146), BMW 2 Series (62), Mazda MX5 (33)
  • Sports > $80k: BMW 4 Series (50), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (38), BMW Z4 (16)
  • Sports > $200k: Porsche 911 (19), Ferrari range (9), BMW 8 Series (4)

SUVs: Top Three in each segment

  • Light SUV: Mazda CX-3 (394), Volkswagen T-Cross (188), Holden Trax (178)
  • Small SUV < $40k: Toyota C-HR (480), Mazda CX-30 (452), Hyundai Kona (379)
  • Small SUV > $40k: BMW X1 (222), Volvo XC40 (177), Audi Q3 (151)
  • Medium SUV < $60k: Toyota RAV4 (1911), Mazda CX-5 (648), Subaru Forester (510)
  • Medium SUV > $60k: BMW X3 (263), BMW X4 (162), Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class (162)
  • SUV Large < $70k: Toyota Prado (947), Isuzu MU-X (339), Toyota Kluger (313)
  • SUV Large > $70k: BMW X5 (232), Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (117), Lexus RX (106)
  • SUV Upper Large: Toyota LandCruiser Wagon (924), Nissan Patrol Wagon (150)
  • SUV Upper Large > $100k: BMW X7 (60), Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class (34), Land Rover Discovery (28)

Utes and vans: Top Three in each segment

  • Vans < 2.5t: Volkswagen Caddy (69), Renault Kangoo (25), Peugeot Partner (6)
  • Vans 2.5t-3.5t: Toyota Hiace (308), Hyundai iLoad (152), Ford Transit Custom (105)
  • 4x2 Utes: Toyota HiLux (456), Isuzu D-Max (198), Mazda BT-50 (147)
  • 4x4 Utes: Toyota HiLux (1883), Ford Ranger (1419) Holden Colorado (780)
ModelApril 2020 salesChange over April 2019
Toyota HiLux2339-35.5%
Toyota RAV4191154.4%
Ford Ranger1540-48.9%
Toyota Corolla1195-50.8%
Toyota Prado947-35.7%
Toyota LandCruiser Wagon924-21.5%
Kia Cerato860-47.9%
Holden Colorado854-31.8%
Isuzu D-Max760-43.9%
Hyundai i30695-63.6%
Toyota LandCruiser679-20.8%
Toyota Camry675-47.0%
Mazda CX-5 648-64.5%
Subaru Forester510-46.9%
Hyundai Tucson494-63.5%
Toyota C-HR480-29.9%
Nissan X-Trail469-59.6%
Mitsubishi Outlander459-61.7%
Mazda CX-30452NA
Kia Sportage439-52.5%


Out of 17 vehicle categories, the top three segments (4x4 utes, medium SUVs and small cars) accounted for more than half of all sales in April.

Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars fell by 27.6 per cent (from 181 to 131) in April. However, however sales of hybrid vehicles grew by a remarkable 64.1 per cent (from 1711 to 2809), largely due to the popularity of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which has begun to shorten its four- to 10-month waiting list as supply improves.

Above: Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The Australian Capital Territory was the only state or region in the nation to post sales growth in April compared to the same month last year – from 1087 to 1355, marking a 24.7 per cent increase.

This sharp spike follows growth in February and March in the ACT driven largely by thousands of insurance claims caused by hail storms and high winds in the region in late January.


Segment Sales

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