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Hybrid sales went through the roof in April 2020

Amid the grim sales statistics, there are signs that Australians are embracing petrol-electric hybrid tech in a big way.
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Sales of petrol-electric hybrid vehicles skyrocketed in April 2020, even though it was the weakest month in 26 years and the sharpest decline since records began in 1991.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid appears to have been the driving force behind the unprecedented growth rate of all hybrid vehicles by 64.1 per cent (from 1711 to 2809) in April 2020 versus the same month last year.

Although sales of hybrid passenger cars fell at a slower rate than the rest of the market in April 2020 (by 21.5 per cent, from 1576 to 1237 deliveries), demand for hybrid SUVs increased by more than 11 times or 1064 per cent (from 135 to 1572 deliveries).

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has been in hot demand since it went on sale last year, and is the reigning Car of the Year from our sister website Drive.com.au.

The waiting list for a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has recently stretched from between four months to 10 months in some extreme cases.

The long wait has prompted Toyota Australia to review its order allocation system after CarAdvice revealed – with the help of the Facebook group Australians waiting for 2020 RAV4s – some customers were receiving their cars much sooner than others who had been in the queue for more than six months.

In some cases customer orders spent several months in the queue before even being allocated a production slot.

Toyota Australia says it has secured additional production and is hopeful of shortening the waiting time for the RAV4 Hybrid, which it says should now be between four to six months for most customers.

The waiting time for hybrid versions of other models such as the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Prius range are not as lengthy and in most cases dealers have vehicles in stock.

Meanwhile, the official VFACTS data supplied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars fell in April 2020, though not by as much as the rest of the market.

Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids (the FCAI does not yet split them into two categories, even though one type is a pure electric car and the other still requires petrol but has a limited electric driving range) were down by 27.6 per cent compared to the same month last year (from 181 to 131 deliveries), which is a less dramatic decline than the overall market which fell by 48.5 per cent.

The figures also do not include sales of Tesla cars as the US electric vehicle specialist does not share its sales data.