The new-car market continued to show signs of recovery in July, which was the fourth strongest month of 2020.
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Australia, we have a new winner: the Toyota RAV4 topped the monthly sales charts for the first time ever in July, as buyers continue to shift towards SUVs and shun passenger cars.

It is the first time in the 26-year history of the Toyota RAV4 nameplate that it has led the Australian new-car market in the monthly sales charts.

The Toyota RAV4 was elevated to top spot after increased stock arrived to fill customer orders that had been waiting for up to 10 months – and dealers ran out of utes during the boom in June that was driven by end-of-financial-year tax incentives.

The top-selling vehicles for the past two-and-a-half years, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes, ran low on stock in July after strong demand in June.

Many showrooms were also left empty or with stock shortages caused by pauses in production earlier in the year due to the coronavirus.

In second and third place on the sales charts in July, the Ford Ranger wrestled the lead back from the Toyota HiLux.

However, the Toyota HiLux remains the clear market leader when the first seven months of the year are combined, and is on track to clock up its fourth consecutive year as Australia’s favourite car.

Overall new-car sales in July 2020 were down nationally by 12.8 per cent, with 72,505 vehicles reported as sold.

It was the 28th month in a row of year-on-year decline – the longest continuous slump since the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago – and the weakest July result in 18 years. However, it was the fourth strongest sales month so far this year.

Year-to-date, new-car sales are down by 19.2 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2019, with 514,920 vehicles reported as sold so far in 2020.

New-car sales in Victoria were hit hardest (down 27.8 per cent versus the national average decline of 12.8 per cent) as restrictions increased due to the second wave of COVID-19.

The car industry remains cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a market recovery in the next six to 12 months, with a raft of new or updated models due in the second half of the year.

Arriving in showrooms within the next few months will be a facelifted Toyota HiLux (with visual changes and more power), an updated Ford Ranger (with remote smartphone access), and all-new versions of the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 utes.

The Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA), which represents 50,000 employees and more than 3500 showrooms across the nation, says the raw numbers in July don’t tell the full story.

“A lot of the July results reflect the carryover of sales from June which was buoyed by government stimulus packages. Dealers couldn’t deliver every car they sold in June so a lot of those appeared as a sale in July,” said the CEO of the AADA, James Voortman.

“The July sales result also doesn’t reflect the decrease in foot traffic in dealerships last month, so we are watching closely what happens in August and September before declaring a recovery. In fact we believe we are a long way from returning to pre-COVID-19 levels.”

Toyota remained market leader with a comfortable margin over Mazda and Mitsubishi, which ranked third on the monthly sales charts for the seventh time.

Sister brands Hyundai and Kia continue to battle it out among themselves, finishing in fourth and fifth places respectively, separated by just nine sales in July 2020.

Hyundai, however, has a clear lead over Kia when year-to-date figures are compared (35,421 versus 31,083).

The luxury-car sector revealed mixed results in July 2020. Mercedes-Benz again made it into the Top 10 despite posting a monthly decline of 8.9 per cent, while certain prestige rivals posted significant gains, such as Audi (up 53 per cent), Alfa Romeo (up 67.9 per cent), and Volvo (up 23.1 per cent).

The majority of luxury brands hit the brakes, however, including BMW (down 42.5 per cent), Jaguar (down 42.9 per cent), Land Rover (down 40 per cent), and Lexus (down 29.5 per cent).

Some brands said they were affected by stock shortages caused by temporary factory shutdowns earlier this year.

Sales of certain exotic sports cars and super-luxury brands posted surprising gains in July 2020, including Maserati (up 65.6 per cent to 53 deliveries), Lamborghini (up 140 per cent, to 12 deliveries), McLaren (up 100 per cent to 8 deliveries), and Rolls-Royce (up 33 per cent, to 8 deliveries).

However, other premium brands struggled, such as Porsche (down 29.4 per cent, to 230 deliveries), Ferrari (down 53.8 per cent, to 12 deliveries) and Aston Martin (down 46.7 per cent, to 8 deliveries).

Top 10 car brands in July 2020

RankBrandVolume July 2020Change year-on-year
1Toyota15,508down 13.2 per cent
2Mazda7806down 5.1 per cent
3Mitsubishi4684down 10.7 per cent
4Hyundai4634down 33.6 per cent
5Kia4625up 2.6 per cent
6Ford4573down 6.7 per cent
7Volkswagen3710up 2.8 per cent
8Nissan2906down 23.6 per cent
9Subaru2864down 18.5 per cent
10Mercedes-Benz2556down 8.5 per cent

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.


Top 10 selling cars in July 2020

RankModelVolume July 2020Change year-on-year
1Toyota RAV44309up 78.1 per cent
2Ford Ranger3104down 2 per cent
3Toyota HiLux2947down 12.7 per cent
4Toyota Corolla2192down 32.4 per cent
5Hyundai i301745down 22.5 per cent
6Mazda CX-51727down 20.0 per cent
7Mitsubishi Triton1593up 4.5 per cent
8Mazda CX-31355up 5.4 per cent
9Toyota Camry1281down 19.8 per cent
10Mazda31224down 35.4 per cent

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

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The market

New-car sales in July 2020 were down by 12.8 per cent compared to the same month last year, with 72,505 vehicles reported as sold. It was the 28th month in a row of year-on-year decline.

Year-to-date, 514,920 new vehicles have been reported as sold, a decrease of 19.2 per cent compared to the first seven months of last year.

While sales for July 2020 were down, many dealers ran out of stock following temporary factory shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis, and stronger than expected demand in June.

This decrease in July 2020 compares to a 6.4 per cent decline in June 2020, a 35.3 per cent decline in May 2020, and a 48.5 per cent decline in April 2020, in the grip of the coronavirus crisis.

The July 2020 result was the lowest monthly tally in 18 years, and follows theweakest June tally in nine years, a 23-year low in May, and the lowest April result in at least 30 years.


Brands

Toyota remains market leader for July 2020 comfortably ahead of its nearest rivals, and is on track for its 18th year in a row as Australia’s top-selling car brand. The Japanese car giant’s sales totalled 15,508, down 13.2 per cent compared to the same month last year.

Toyota’s market share recovered to 21.4 per cent (compared to 20.7 per cent in June, 24.2 per cent in May and 26.5 per cent in April), with the brand representing one in four new vehicles sold.

Mazda held onto second place with 7806 sales (down 5.1 per cent) with three cars in the Top 10.

Mitsubishi finished in third place – even though it recorded a 10.7 per cent decline compared to the same month in 2019 – with 4684 new cars reported as sold.


Models

Toyota filled four spots in the Top 10, with the RAV4 (4309 sold, up 78.1 per cent), HiLux (2947 sold, down 12.7 per cent), Corolla (2192 sold, down 32.4 per cent), and Camry (1281 sold, down 19.8 per cent).

The Ford Ranger outsold the Toyota HiLux when sales of both 4x4 and 4x2 models are combined (as is industry practice), with 3104 sold (down 2 per cent) ahead of the Toyota HiLux, with 2947 (down 12.7 per cent. Both brands experienced stock shortages.

The Toyota Corolla again outsold the Hyundai i30 in the small car category (less than $40,000 segment).

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment

  • Micro: Kia Picanto (337), Mitsubishi Mirage (113), Fiat 500 (44)
  • Light < $25k: MG MG3 (571), Suzuki Swift (369), VW Polo (365)
  • Light > $25k: Mini hatch (102), Audi A1 (47), Citroen C3 (4)
  • Small < $40k: Toyota Corolla (2192), Hyundai i30 hatch plus Elantra sedan (1912), Mazda 3 (1224)
  • Small > $40k: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (588), Audi A3 (331), BMW 1 Series (98),
  • Medium < $60k: Toyota Camry (1281), Skoda Octavia (192), Mazda6 (122),
  • Medium > $60k: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (299), Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (236), BMW 3 Series (84)
  • Large < $70k: Kia Stinger (197), Holden Commodore (103), Skoda Superb (40)
  • Large > $70k: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (67), BMW 5 Series (40), Audi A6 (17)
  • Upper Large: Mercedes-Benz S-Class (20), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe (14), BMW 7 Series (5)
  • People Movers: Kia Carnival (369), Honda Odyssey (86), LDV G10 wagon (62)
  • Sports < $80k: Ford Mustang (279), Hyundai Veloster (72), Toyota 86 (49)
  • Sports > $80k: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (92), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (50), Toyota Supra (20)
  • Sports > $200k: Porsche 911 (32), BMW 8 Series (14), Ferrari range (12)

SUVs: Top Three in each segment

  • Light SUV: Mazda CX-3 (1355), Volkswagen T-Cross (344), Hyundai Venue (282),
  • Small SUV < $40k: Mitsubishi ASX (1053), Mazda CX-30 (990), Kia Seltos (940)
  • Small SUV > $40k: Audi Q3 (226), Volvo XC40 (215), Audi Q2 (137)
  • Medium SUV < $60k: Toyota RAV4 (4309), Mazda CX-5 (1727), Nissan X-Trail (1116)
  • Medium SUV > $60k: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class (479), Audi Q5 (297), BMW X3 (271)
  • SUV Large < $70k: Toyota Kluger (1057), Toyota Prado (779), Isuzu MU-X (622)
  • SUV Large > $70k: Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (266), Lexus RX (115), Volkswagen Touareg (113)
  • SUV Upper Large: Toyota LandCruiser Wagon (479), Nissan Patrol Wagon (105)
  • SUV Upper Large > $100k: BMW X7 (65), Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class (64), Land Rover Discovery (39)

Utes and vans: Top Three in each segment

  • Vans < 2.5t: Volkswagen Caddy (151), Renault Kangoo (68), Peugeot Partner (32)
  • Vans 2.5t-3.5t: Toyota Hiace (343), Ford Transit Custom (200), Renault Trafic (139)
  • 4x2 Utes: Toyota HiLux (896), Ford Ranger (305), Mazda BT-50 (272)
  • 4x4 Utes: Ford Ranger (2799), Toyota HiLux (2051), Mitsubishi Triton (1392)

July 2020 sales by model


Miscellaneous

Electrified vehicles – including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-electric – combined were up by 104.8 per cent from 3387 to 6935 examples reported as sold in July 2020, however this was largely driven by significant growth of conventional hybrid vehicles, in particular the Toyota RAV4.

Sales of purely electric cars fell by 40.3 per cent (138 reported as sold), compared to a 109.5 per cent increase in plug-in hybrid sales (132 reported as sold), and a 115 per cent increase in hybrid car sales (6665 reported as sold).

Figures from Toyota show more than 80 per cent of RAV4 sales in July were hybrid. The year-to-date sales mix for the Toyota RAV4 is now 60 per cent hybrid.

Toyota says more than 40 per cent of its overall vehicle sales in July were hybrid (driven largely by the spike in deliveries of RAV4 orders). Across Toyota's entire vehicle line-up, hybrids so far account for 25 per cent of sales in the first seven months of 2020.

The Australian Capital Territory was the only region to post sales growth in July 2020 (up 30.6 per cent), following a continued surge in new-car deliveries in the wake of mass vehicle write-offs during a severe hail storm in January.

A reflection of Australia’s changing buyer preferences, six of the Top 10 sellers were either utes or SUVs, with the Toyota RAV4, Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux filling out the top three positions.

July 2020 sales by segment