It was the second-best May result on record, as stock shortages continue. Insiders advise to get your order in now if you want a car before the summer holidays.
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New-car sales continue to show signs of a strong recovery as the Australian economy bounces back from coronavirus lockdowns and border restrictions imposed through much of last year.

Official new-car sales figures for May 2021 released today show demand for new motor vehicles has returned to pre-COVID19 levels, but it was the second-best May result rather than a record.

A total of 100,809 new vehicles were reported as sold in May 2021, an increase of 68.3 per cent compared to the disastrous May 2020 result posted in the grip of the coronavirus crisis.

May was only the second month this year to eclipse 100,000 new-car sales, and it was the third time in three years May has been in six-figure territory.

The new-car sales record for May stands at 102,901 set in 2017, however the May 2021 result was 3.7 per cent higher than the five-year average for May prior to the lockdown.

As had been the case each month so far this year, new-car sales results have shown sharp increases following historic declines last year.

May 2021 was the seventh month in a row in positive territory after 31 months of decline in the lead-up to and during the peak of the global pandemic.

The Toyota HiLux regained the lead as Australia’s favourite new motor vehicle in May 2021, after the Ford Ranger toppled it in April 2021 for only the third time in its history.

While the Toyota HiLux maintains its lead in the year-to-date tally and is on-track for its sixth annual win in a row, there was some consolation for the Ranger, which knocked off the HiLux in the 4x4-only tally.

Utes filled four of the first seven places in the Top 10 sales rankings.

And the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 small cars – former market leaders – only just scraped into the Top 10 as buyers continue to favour utes and SUVs.

As has been the case since the start of the year, the industry says most of the new cars delivered in May 2021 were ordered months ago and it is now struggling to secure enough new vehicles amid production slowdowns due to semiconductor shortages.

Hyundai, Kia and Nissan have all advised dealers of lengthy delivery delays of new cars due to semiconductor shortages (read more here and here), with many popular models pushed back until later this year or early next year.

Market leader Toyota says, for now, it is unaffected by parts shortages but is instead grappling with a sharp spike in demand as buyers gravitate the brands they trust in times of crisis.

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) has repeated its advice to consumers, to “get in the queue now because the stock situation changes daily.”

“Dealers are doing the best they can to keep customers up to date but unfortunately delivery times of a lot off vehicle are repeatedly being pushed back,” said the CEO of the AADA James Voortman.

As CarAdvice has previously reported, most new cars have up to 300 semiconductors or computer chips – to power vehicle safety systems and infotainment technology – while electric cars can have up to 3500 of the devices.

In an attempt to keep production lines moving, luxury brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz have temporarily deleted some of their most advanced safety systems on certain models.

French car maker Peugeot has reverted to old school analogue instrument dials rather than digital displays in some of its cars.

For now, mainstream brands including market leader Toyota have vowed to not remove technology from their vehicles, instead opting to run their assembly lines with a reduced output.

Despite the ongoing challenges, automotive industry executives believe the Australian new-car market will return to 1 million-plus sales for calendar year 2021, pending any further supply constraints.

There were 456,804 new cars reported as sold across Australia in the first five months of 2021, an increase of 37.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

At this sales rate, the industry is on track to eclipse 1 million new-car deliveries in calendar year 2021.

Market leader Toyota maintained its dominance at the top of the charts (with 21,156 deliveries), ahead of Mazda (10,554), and Kia (7124), which made it into the Top Three for only the second time in its history.

The May 2021 figures show Australians continued to favour SUVs and utes over traditional passenger cars (such as sedans and hatches).

Sales of passenger cars represented just 20 per cent of the sales mix.

A detailed list of categories and tables, compiled by CarAdvice News Team reporters William Davis and Alex Misoyannis are included below.

TOP 10 CARS IN MAY 2021

RankModelVolume May 2021Change year-on-year
1Toyota HiLux4402up 24.8 per cent
2Ford Ranger4254up 59.7 per cent
3Toyota RAV44014up 71.2 per cent
4Isuzu D-Max3058up 202.8 per cent
5Toyota LandCruiser2795up 121.8 per cent
6Mazda CX-52768up 87.2 per cent
7Mitsubishi Triton2317up 167.6 per cent
8Toyota Prado2214up 63.0 per cent
9Toyota Corolla2190up 34.7 per cent
10Hyundai i302127up 78.6 per cent

TOP 10 CAR BRANDS IN MAY 2021

RankBrandVolume May 2021Change year-on-year
1Toyota21,156up 46.2 per cent
2Mazda10,554up 86.4 per cent
3Kia7124up 158.1 per cent
4Ford6493 up 66.7 per cent
5Mitsubishi6478 up 15.2 per cent
6Hyundai6450 up 57.0 per cent
7Nissan4307 up 94.4 per cent
8Volkswagen4005 up 44.0 per cent
9Isuzu3946 up 174.2 per cent
10Subaru3547 up 75.3 per cent

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment in MAY 2021

MicroKia Picanto (609)Mitsubishi Mirage (95)Fiat 500 (31)
Light < $25kMG 3 (1194)Toyota Yaris (546)Kia Rio (543)
Light > $25kMini (224)Audi A1 (49)Citroen C3 (7)
Small < $40kToyota Corolla (2190)Hyundai i30 (2127)Kia Cerato (2052)
Small > $40kMercedes–Benz A-Class (321)BMW 1 Series (220)BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (195)
Medium < $60kToyota Camry (1369)Mazda 6 (164)Skoda Octavia (126)
Medium > $60kBMW 3 Series (483)Mercedes-Benz C-Class (384)Lexus IS (105)
Large < $70kKia Stinger (163)Skoda Superb (56)
Large > $70kMercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series (75)Porsche Taycan (53)Audi A6 (31)
Upper Large < $100kChrysler 300 (6)
Upper Large > $100kMercedes-Benz S-Class (18)BMW 7 Series (13)Lexus LS, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe (5)
People MoversKia Carnival (550)Volkswagen Multivan (138)Honda Odyssey (116)
Sports < $80kFord Mustang (441)Mazda MX-5 (88)BMW 2 Series coupe/convertible (46)
Sports > $80kBMW 4 Series coupe/convertible (124)Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe/convertible (211)Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe/convertible (25)
Sports > $200kPorsche 911 (46)Bentley coupe/convertible (17)Ferrari coupe/convertible (9)

SUVs: Top Three in each segment in MAY 2021

Light SUVMazda CX-3 (1533)Kia Stonic (986)Toyota Yaris Cross (757)
Small SUV < $40kMG ZS (1605)Mazda CX-30 (1471)Hyundai Kona (1400)
Small SUV > $40kAudi Q3 (473)Volvo XC40 (457)BMW X1 (432)
Medium SUV < $60kToyota RAV4 (4014)Mazda CX-5 (2768)Nissan X-Trail (1535)
Medium SUV > $60kAudi Q5 (552)Lexus NX (395)BMW X3 (370)
SUV Large < $70kToyota Prado (2214)Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (1003)Subaru Outback (931)
SUV Large > $70kMercedes–Benz GLE (471)BMW X5 (401)Land Rover Range Rover Sport (208)
SUV Upper Large < $100kToyota Landcruiser Wagon (2795)Nissan Patrol Wagon (234)
SUV Upper Large > $100kMercedes-Benz GLS (139)BMW X7 (88)Land Rover Discovery (55)

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

Vans < 2.5tRenault Kangoo (82)Peugeot Partner (36)Volkswagen Caddy Van (12)
Vans 2.5t-3.5tToyota HiAce Van (929)Hyundai iLoad (279)Ford Transit Custom (323)
4x2 UtesToyota Hilux 4X2 (911)Isuzu Ute D-Max 4X2 (525)Ford Ranger 4X2 (343)
4x4 UtesFord Ranger 4X4 (3911)Toyota Hilux 4X4 (3491)Isuzu Ute D-Max 4X2 (3058)

The market

The tally of 100,809 new cars reported as sold across Australia during May 2021 represents a 68.3 per cent increase compared to the same month last year.

Brands

Toyota remained market leader throughout May 2021 with 21,156 vehicles reported as sold, comfortably ahead of its nearest rivals Mazda (10,554), Kia (7124), and Ford (6493).

Models

Dual cab utes once again dominated nationwide, representing four of the seven best-selling vehicles in May.

The Toyota RAV4 was the best-selling SUV, and third best selling vehicle outright.

Just two passenger cars broke into the top 10, these being the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30.