The dramatic new-car sales slump in Victoria in August – due to stage-four lockdown restrictions – has slammed the brakes on national figures.
Last month new-car sales plummeted 66 per cent in the garden state, contributing to an overall Australian downturn of 28.8 per cent. This represents the worst decline since record keeping began.
CEO of the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA), James Voortman, told CarAdvice the current safety measures are unsustainable and crippling the industry.
"The most important thing for Victorian car dealers is that the government enables them to open to the public as soon as possible," Mr Voortman said.
"Our businesses are pretty different to most retailers, because they have vast open spaces and we don’t have high foot traffic. We are well positioned to open safely."
"It’s very important for these businesses, and the people they employ, that this happens sooner rather than later," he added.
In a recent statement the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tony Weber, echoed this sentiment: "It is particularly difficult for our members and their Victorian dealer networks under the current Stage 4 Restrictions, and this is reflected in the reduced sales figures".
"While we have the utmost respect for essential health priorities, the automotive industry supports the re-opening of our economy under appropriate COVIDSafe protocols," Mr Weber said.
"We’ve seen 29 consecutive months of diminishing sales in this industry, and there’s no doubt our members are feeling the pinch. The move to commence the reopening of industry and markets, especially in Victoria, needs to start as soon as possible."
The coronavirus has taken the lives of 591 Victorians (at time of writing), representing 87 per cent of all Australian causalities.
While many industries are lobbying the government to reopen, the state's Department of Health and Human Services has said such exemptions would be unsafe at this time.