New-car sales increased for the fourth month in a row during February 2021, following a historic 31 month decline.
- shares

Australian new-car sales have surged for the fourth month in a row, despite ongoing stock shortages due to production delays caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Official figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show 83,977 new motor vehicles were reported as sold during February 2021, an increase of 5.1 per cent compared to the same month last year (79,940).

Prior to November 2020, the car industry had reported 31 months in a row of sales decline – the longest slump since the Global Financial Crisis of a decade ago.

Despite the positive signs, sales still lagged 6.4 per cent behind the five year rolling average for February (89,702).

Chinese manufacturer MG broke into the top 10 for the first time, finishing the month in eighth place after reporting 3017 vehicles as sold. This represents a year-on-year increase of 160.3 per cent for the month of February. Only GWM and Hyundai-subsidiary Genesis recorded greater margins of year-on-year growth.

Utes continued to dominate the market, with the Toyota HiLux (4808) and Ford Ranger (2900) maintaining their existing one-two lead.

However, sales of the Isuzu D-Max were up an impressive 68.6 per cent year-on-year, slotting the new-generation ute into third place in the combined 4x2 and 4x4 ute market and 7th place outright. The Mitsubishi Triton was also competitive, finishing 4th among utes, and 8th place overall.

Tony Weber – the chief executive of the FCAI – said the results showed confidence in the market was continuing to grow: “During the past four months we have seen an increase of 10.6 per cent in new vehicles and this has been reflected with strong growth in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory in February 2021. The sales reduction in Victoria can be attributed to the COVID 19 restrictions that were put in place during the month."

“We remain confident that this trend of growth will continue in an environment where business operating conditions continue to normalise,” he said in a media statement.


TOP 10 CARS IN FEBRUARY 2021

RankModelVolume February 2021Change year-on-year
1Toyota HiLux4808up 4.5 per cent
2Ford Ranger2900down 9.4 per cent
3Toyota RAV42750up 2.7 per cent
4Toyota Corolla2427down 8.2 per cent
5Hyundai i302210down 0.7 per cent
6Mazda CX-52048up 7.9 per cent
7Isuzu D-Max1765up 68.6 per cent
8Mitsubishi Triton1761down 7.7 per cent
9Mitsubishi ASX1489up 6.3 per cent
10Kia Cerato1468down 10.7 per cent

TOP 10 CAR BRANDS IN FEBRUARY 2021

RankBrandVolume February 2021Change year-on-year
1Toyota18,375up 8.3 per cent
2Mazda8322up 20.9 per cent
3Hyundai6252up 7.2 per cent
4Mitsubishi6202up 7.2 per cent
5Kia5871up 15.7 per cent
6Ford4712up 8.7 per cent
7Nissan3824up 4.6 per cent
8MG3017up 160.3 per cent
9Volkswagen3009down 16.7 per cent
10Mercedes-Benz2815up 16.0 per cent

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment in February 2021

MicroKia Picanto (645)Mitsubishi Mirage (53)Fiat/Abarth 500 (36)
Light < $25kMG 3 (1313)Toyota Yaris (492)Volkswagen Polo (485)
Light > $25kMini Hatch (140)Audi A1 (64)Citroen C3 (5)
Small < $40kToyota Corolla (2427)Hyundai i30 (2210)Kia Cerato (1468)
Small > $40kMercedes A-Class (421)BMW 1 Series (239)BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (148)
Medium < $60kToyota Camry (1001)Mazda 6 (101)Skoda Octavia (89)
Medium > $60kMercedes C-Class (343)Lexus IS (147)BMW 3 Series (124)
Large < $70kKia Stinger (191)Skoda Superb (54)
Large > $70kMercedes E-Class (99)BMW 5 Series (62)Porsche Taycan (51)
Upper Large < $100kChrysler 300 (16)
Upper Large > $100kBMW 6 Series GT (12)Mercedes S-Class (7)Porsche Panamera & Audi A8 (5)
People MoversKia Carnival (606)Honda Odyssey (127)Volkswagen Multivan (83)
Sports < $80kFord Mustang (221)BMW 2 Series coupe/convertible (62)Toyota 86 (51)
Sports > $80kMercedes C-Class coupe/convertible (130)BMW 4 Series (52)Mercedes E-Class coupe/convertible (34)
Sports > $200kPorsche 911 (23)Ferrari range & McLaren range (13)

SUVs: Top Three in each segment in February 2021

Light SUVMazda CX-3 (1379)Toyota Yaris Cross (653)Volkswagen T-Cross (563)
Small SUV < $40kMitsubishi ASX (1489)Hyundai Kona (1323)MG ZS/ZST (1302)
Small SUV > $40kMercedes-Benz GLA (372)Audi Q3 (353)Volvo XC40 (334)
Medium SUV < $60kToyota RAV4 (2750)Mazda CX-5 (2048)Mitsubishi Outlander (1178)
Medium SUV > $60kBMW X3 (416)Mercedes-Benz GLC (373)Volvo XC60 (340)
SUV Large < $70kToyota Prado (1407)Isuzu MU-X (745)Subaru Outback (608)
SUV Large > $70kBMW X5 (286)Mercedes-Benz GLE Wagon (263)Land Rover Defender (186)
SUV Upper Large < $100kToyota LandCruiser wagon (1326)Nissan Patrol (332)
SUV Upper Large > $100kMercedes-Benz G-Class (73)BMW X7 (54)Mercedes-Benz GLS (51)

Utes and vans: Top Three in each segment in February 2021

Vans < 2.5tVolkswagen Caddy (67)Renault Kangoo (44)Peugeot Partner (24)
Vans 2.5t-3.5tToyota HiAce (795)Hyundai iLoad (418)Ford Transit Custom (357)
4x2 UtesToyota Hilux (1090)Isuzu D-Max (485)Ford Ranger (297)
4x4 UtesToyota Hilux (3718)Ford Ranger (2603)Mitsubishi Triton (1560)

The market

New-car sales in February 2021 were up 5.1 per cent compared to the same month in 2020, with 83,977 vehicles reported as sold. It was the fourth monthly year-on-year growth after 31 continuous months of decline.

Nine of the Top 10 brands posted sales increases and market share gains, as supply of new vehicles began to return to normal after production interruptions last year – and dealers filled orders placed in previous months. Volkswagen was the only top ten brand to see a decline, reporting sales down 16.7 per cent.

However, car dealers are still reporting delays on many popular models following a shortage of semiconductors in the wake of the pandemic.

February 2021's year-on-year growth follows a 11.1 per cent increase in January, 13.5 per cent increase in December, a 12.4 per cent increase in November, a decline of 1.5 per cent in October, a 21.8 per cent decline in September, a 28.8 per cent decline in August 2020, a 12.8 per cent decline in July 2020, 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,.

While up on 2020's result of 79,940, sales still fell short of February results in 2019, at which time 87,102 vehicles were reported as sold.

Brands

Toyota remained market leader for February 2021 comfortably ahead of its nearest rivals, Mazda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and Kia.

The Japanese car giant’s sales totalled 18,375, up 8.3 per cent compared to February 2020.

Chinese manufacturer MG broke into the Top 10 for the first time, reporting 3017 cars as sold and finishing the month in 8th place. This represents 160.3 per cent year-on-year growth – only GWM and Genesis recorded greater margins of year-on-year growth.

Mazda secured second place with 8322 sales (up 20.9 per cent), however it only had one car in the Top 10 (this being the CX-5 SUV with 2048 examples reported as sold).

Hyundai finished in third place, with 6252 new cars reported as sold (up 7.2 per cent).

Models

The Toyota HiLux (4808) was the top-selling vehicle outright in Australia in February 2021, when sales of both 4x4 and 4x2 model variants are combined (as is industry practice).

The Ford Ranger (2900), Toyota RAV4 (2750), Toyota Corolla (2427), and Hyundai i30 (2210) followed to round out the top five.

Miscellaneous

Sales of electrified vehicles – comprising hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric models – increased by 6.0 per cent year-on-year, from 5175 in February 2020 to 5483 in February 2021.

It's worth noting, however, that 91.5 per cent of those sales (5016 units) were hybrid vehicles, led primarily by the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid mid-size family SUV.

Electric-only vehicle sales – excluding Tesla, which does not release official sales numbers in Australia – increased by 72.4 per cent over the same period last year, from 152 in February 2020 to 262 in February 2021.

Plug-in hybrid sales increased 54.2 per cent over February 2021 figures (from 120 to 185), while February 2021 saw the first hydrogen light vehicles sold in Australia, namely 20 examples of the Hyundai Nexo.

Other sales gains of note in February 2021 a 160.3 per cent increase for Chinese mainstream brand MG, a 170.1 per cent increase for reborn Chinese ute maker GWM, and a 186.7 per cent increase for Korean luxury upstart Genesis.