SUVs claim over half of the market while new car sales continue to face tough conditions

New car sales continue to be impacted by “challenging and difficult conditions”, according to the latest Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) data.

The FCAI figures for July 2020 revealed new vehicle sales were down 12.8 per cent year-on-year, marking the 28th consecutive month of declining sales for the Australian new vehicle market.

“Nationally, 72,505 vehicles were sold during the month, and this represents a decrease of 12.8 per cent on July 2019, when sales totalled 83,184,” FCAI chief executive Tony Webber said.

“On a year-to-date basis, there were 514,920 vehicles sold to 31st July 2020, which represents a decrease of 19.2 per cent on the same period in 2019, when sales totalled 637,650 vehicles,” he said.

However, Mr Webber said the results were not unexpected given the current market conditions and the industry’s long-term downturn.

“The Australian automotive industry, like many sectors in the Australian market, continues to face challenging and difficult conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Webber said.

“The extended Stage 4 Restrictions which have now been invoked in Australia’s second largest market, Victoria, will no doubt further challenge the industry during the coming months.”

Preference for SUVs and LCVs continues to be evident

Despite the new car sales slump, Australian consumers’ preference for Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) was evident once again in July, with 70.9 per cent of the market devoted to these two categories collectively.

SUVs claimed 50.4 per cent of the market with 36,560 sales, while LCVs claimed 20.5 per cent with 14,898 sales. Passenger vehicles, which totalled 18,149 sales for the month, represented 25 per cent of the market.

This consumer preference was reflected in the top 10 vehicles sold, which included six SUVs and LCVs, and four passenger vehicles.

Toyota was by far the strongest performer of the month with 15,508 sales, followed by Mazda (7,806 sales), Mitsubishi (4,684 sales), Hyundai (4,634 sales), and Kia (4,625 sales).

For the first time in its 26-year history, the top selling vehicle for the month was the Toyota RAV4, with 4,309 sales. It was followed by the Ford Ranger (3,104 sales), Toyota Hi-Lux (2,947 sales), Toyota Corolla (2,192 sales) and the Hyundai i30 (1,745 sales).

Meanwhile, new vehicle lending continues to be competitive. The lowest car loan rate on the RateCity database at the time of writing is 2.99 per cent (3.60 per cent comparison rate) from the Queensland Country Bank for new cars up to five years old.

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