New-car sales data for May shows signs of recovery compared to April.
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Buyers appear to be returning to showrooms as COVID-19 restrictions are eased, according to official new-car sales figures for May 2020.

After new-car sales dropped by 48.5 per cent in April – the biggest decline in at least 30 years – the slowdown of 35.3 per cent in May is being viewed as a sign the worst could be over.

Figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show a total of 59,894 vehicles were reported as sold in May 2020, versus 92,961 for the same month last year.

While this is still a significant drop in sales year-on-year, the trend appears to show the industry is on track for a V-shaped recovery.

On a year-to-date basis, new vehicle sales are down by 23.9 per cent compared to the first five months of 2019.

With trucks deducted from the figures, passenger cars, SUVs, utes and vans totalled 57,279 in May 2020.

This represents a 54.5 per cent increase in sales from the previous month, however it's worth noting April is customarily one of the weakest months of the year due to the Easter break and school holidays, while May is among the strongest as it is the lead-up to the end of the financial year in June.

RELATED: Our April 2020 VFACTS report


Brands

Toyota continued its 17-year market domination with 14,466 total sales and holding onto five of the top 10 spots. The HiLux ute took the number one crown for May with 3527 examples sold (down 16.1 per cent), followed by the RAV4 SUV in third (2345 sold, down 19.6 per cent), Corolla small car in fourth (1626 sold, down 34.1 per cent), Prado four-wheel-drive in sixth (1358 sold, down 23.5 per cent), and the Landcruiser Wagon taking seventh place with 1260 vehicles sold (down 9.9 per cent).

Despite the strong results, Toyota's market share declined to 24.2 per cent from 26.5 per cent in the previous month. It's still good news for the Japanese manufacturer however, amounting to an increase in market share when compared with May 2019 figures.

Mazda took second on the podium, with a total of 5661 sales. The results show a 34 per cent reduction on May 2019 numbers – on par with overall market decline year-on-year.

The CX-5 took fifth spot with 1479 sales (down 29.6 per cent), and the Mazda3 jumped ten spots from April, taking ninth overall with 1052 sales (down 55.4 per cent). Mazda sales accounted for 9.5 per cent of total market share.

Despite selling around half of the cars than it did in May of 2019, Hyundai still managed to finish in third with 4109 cars delivered – in part thanks to the i30 in eighth spot with 1191 sales (down 58.9 per cent) and the Tucson rounding out the top ten with 1019 cars sold (down 40.4 per cent).

Haval had a strong month – albeit from a low base – with a 96.7 per cent increase in sales (from 119 to 207) when compared with May 2019. The Chinese car maker was only one of three brands to finish in positive territory, with MG and Ram increasing sales by 62.5 per cent and 31.3 per cent respectively, compared to the same month the previous year.

May also saw Holden drop to 13th spot from eighth in April 2020, as dealerships continue to clear stock.

Top brands for May 2020


Models

Toyota continued to hold top spot, with half of the top 10 cars coming from the company. The RAV4 fell to third despite on-going demand for the Hybrid model, swapping places with the Ford Ranger (2663, down 33 per cent). The HiLux remains in the top spot, with 3527 vehicles sold.

The Corolla, i30, and Mazda3 took the top three in the $40k small car segment, with the Kia Cerato (842, down 58.4 per cent) nipping on the heels of the Mazda.

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment

  • Micro: Kia Picanto (203), Mitsubishi Mirage (42), Fiat 500 (37)
  • Light < $25k: Suzuki Swift (313), MG MG3 (302), Kia Rio (271)
  • Light > $25k: Mini hatch (111), Audi A1 (36), Citroen C3 (4)
  • Small < $40k: Toyota Corolla (1626), Hyundai i30 (1191 + 122 Elantras), Mazda3 (1052)
  • Small > $40k: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (352), BMW 1 Series (194), Audi A3 (168)
  • Medium < $60k: Toyota Camry (911), Mazda6 (125), Skoda Octavia (94)
  • Medium > $60k: BMW 3 Series (268), Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (174), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (139)
  • Large < $70k: Kia Stinger (93), Holden Commodore (40), Skoda Superb (15)
  • Large > $70k: BMW 5 Series (57), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (29), Audi A6 (11)
  • Upper Large: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe (14), BMW 7 Series (10), Chrysler 300 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (7)
  • People Movers: Kia Carnival (190), Hyundai iMax (68), Honda Odyssey (46)
  • Sports < $80k: Ford Mustang (257), Toyota 86 (40), BMW 2 Series (38)
  • Sports > $80k: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (75), BMW Z4 (39), BMW 4 Series (18)
  • Sports > $200k: Porsche 911 (30), Ferrari range (20), BMW 8 Series (9)

SUVs: Top Three in each segment

  • Light SUV: Mazda CX-3 (883), Hyundai Venue (246), Holden Trax (225)
  • Small SUV < $40k: Toyota C-HR (789), Hyundai Kona (737), Mitsubishi ASX (725)
  • Small SUV > $40k: Audi Q3 (329), Volvo XC40 (209), BMW X1 (199)
  • Medium SUV < $60k: Toyota RAV4 (2345), Mazda CX-5 (1479), Hyundai Tucson (1019)
  • Medium SUV > $60k: BM X3 (404), Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class (348), Lexus NX (246)
  • SUV Large < $70k: Toyota Prado (1358), Toyota Kluger (541), Mazda CX-9 (453)
  • SUV Large > $70k: BMW X5 (254), Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (195), Lexus RX (142)
  • SUV Upper Large: Toyota LandCruiser Wagon (1260), Nissan Patrol Wagon (219)
  • SUV Upper Large > $100k: Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class (77), BMW X7 (75), Land Rover Discovery (46)

Utes and vans: Top Three in each segment

  • Vans < 2.5t: Volkswagen Caddy (133), Renault Kangoo (35), Peugeot Partner (11)
  • Vans 2.5t-3.5t: Toyota Hiace (615), Hyundai iLoad (239), Ford Transit Custom (219)
  • 4x2 Utes: Toyota HiLux (727), Isuzu D-Max (348), Mazda BT-50 (246)
  • 4x4 Utes: Toyota HiLux (2800), Ford Ranger (2499), Toyota LandCruiser (872)

May 2020 sales by model


Miscellaneous

Lotus took the title of most impressive sales data for May 2020, with a 500 per cent increase from May 2019. The British sports car maker sold a total of six cars compared with a single vehicle being delivered for the same month last year.

Showing immense growth and acceptance in the marketplace was Chinese manufacturer Haval, seeing a near 97 per cent growth when compared to May of 2019. This, despite the practical and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though not quite on the same astronomical trajectory, electric and plug-in hybrid sales are moving in a positive direction. Sales for this developing sector grew by 28 per cent, year-over-year.

Once all electrified powertrains are added (which includes petrol hybrid models), the overall sales numbers are down by 5 per cent from May 2019.

Following Canberra's hail storm in January, new-car sales in the ACT are beginning to taper-off, but still took the claim of having the smallest decline of any state or territory.

May 2020 sales by segment