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Australia April 2020: Toyota hits record share, places 5 in Top 6 in market down -48.5% to lowest in 26 years

The Toyota RAV4 is up 54.4% in a market down -48.5%.

In the space of a few weeks, Australia went from being one of the “naughty kids” with late movement restrictions and 4.559 COVID-19 cases as of March 31 (20th globally) to almost “first in class” with less than 30 daily new infections since April 20 and 6.875 total cases at the time of writing (49th globally). There’s now serious talk about reopening large swaths of the economy in the coming weeks. Car showrooms have remained open during the lockdown, mainly for repairs, but the activity hasn’t ground to a complete stop as it has in southern Europe, with Australian new car sales down -48.5% to 38.926 units. This is still the 25th consecutive month of decline, the largest year-on-year drop since records started in 1991 and the lowest monthly volume in Australia in over 26 years: since January 1994 (35.596). The year-to-date total is now down -20.9% to 272.287, the lowest after 4 months since 2002 (260.522). We at BSCB now forecast a 2020 volume down -18% to 876.000 units, which would also be its lowest in 18 years: since 2002 (824.309).

Kia secures its first ever Australian podium finish.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 31% of Australian citizens have seen their income drop due to the pandemic and 72% of Australian businesses anticipate negative growth over the next two months, so even though restrictions may be lifted soon, local analysts – me included – are predicting a progressive recovery. Private sales are off -47.7% to 17.094 with fleets faring slightly worse at -49.6% to 15.758 whereas government sales only drop -12.6% to 2.543 and rental sales are logically annihilated at -78.9% to 1.221. State-wise, South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria all drop by 50% whereas Australian Capital Territory sales are actually up 25% year-on-year this month due to replacement vehicles after a dramatic hail storm in February. Following long-term trends, passenger cars (-61.6%) suffer the most to 9.157 sales and 23.5% share vs. 31.5% a year ago in April 2019. In contrast, SUVs drop -45.7% to 18.023 and 46.3% share vs. 43.9% and light commercials “edge” down -39.5% to 9.436 and 24.2% vs. 20.6% a year ago. The largest import sources are Japan at 13.077 (-45.1%), Thailand at 9.632 (-48.1%), South Korea at 4.778 (-56.5%), Germany at 2.533 (-62.2%) and the USA at 1.747 (-40.9%).

BMW is up to an all-time record 7th place in Australia.

Brand-wise, Toyota (-31.8%) is helped by the success of its hybrid lineup – notably the RAV4 as we’ll see further down – and posts by far the best hold in the Top 6, lifting the brand to 26.5% share which is believed its new record. Mazda (-60.5%) holds in 2nd place but at a weak 7.8% while Kia (-44.9%) continues to tick record boxes by celebrating its first ever Australian podium finish at #3. Ford (-53.1%), Hyundai (-65.3) and Mitsubishi (-63.2%) follow, which also means Kia outsells sister brand Hyundai for the 2nd month in a row and in history. BMW (-5.7%) secures the best and only single-digit hold in the Top 15, slicing its March ranking in two to surge to an all-time best 7th place with 4.4% share vs. just 2.7% so far this year. Holden’s March liquidation frenzy (+30.2%) was short-lived: the brand is off -56.9% in April. Further down, MG (+1.5%) remains at a record 16th place and posts one of only two year-on-year gains in market this month alongside Ram (+14.1%) at #25. Haval (-15.8%), Ferrari (-18.2%), Chrysler (-20%), Maserati (-27.3%), Great Wall (-28.7%), Peugeot (-30.4%), Renault (-32.4%) and Porsche (-32.8%) also resist better than the market.

The Toyota Hilux breaks its Australian market share record at 6%.

Over in the models ranking, like a beacon of stability in these tumultuous times the Toyota Hilux (-35.4%) manages a 30th straight monthly win (the longest such streak since the Holden Commodore in 2003) and ends 12 consecutive months of losses in the lucrative 4×4 pickup battle, finally outselling its archenemy the Ford Ranger (-48.9%) 1.883 vs. 1.419. The Hilux also hits a new record market share at 6%, beating the 5.1% it reached in February 2019, this also being the highest market share reached by any model in Australia in over 11 years, since the Holden Commodore in December 2008 (7.1%). But the real hero of the month is undoubtedly the Toyota RAV4 soaring up 54.4% year-on-year to 2nd place overall for the 2nd time in the past 3 months and clocking its third ever podium finish (May 2019, February 2020 and April 2020), something no other SUV has achieved once. The RAV4 lurches to a record 4.9% share, smashing its previous best of 4.2% last February and still the only SUV to have crossed the… 3% share barrier above the 2.9% hit by the Ford Territory in December 2005 and the Mazda CX-5 in January 2019. Last achievement: at #2, the RAV4 posts the only year-on-year gain in the Top 32.

The Toyota Land Cruiser lands its first Top 10 finish in 17 years.

But things get even better for Toyota this month, placing a record 5 vehicles in the Top 6 with the Corolla (-50.8%) at #4, the Prado (-35.7%) at a new all-time record #5 (previous best #7 in August 2018) and the Land Cruiser (-21.5%) surging to an unheard-of 6th place, the legendary nameplate’s highest monthly ranking in possibly 25 years, since it finished #10 over the Full Year 1995. Our monthly records (starting in 2000) show a previous best for the Land Cruiser at #10, last hit in July 2003, while closer to us it hit #14 in April 2016. Below, the Kia Cerato (-47.9%) remains at a high 7th spot ahead of the Holden Colorado (-31.8%), Isuzu D-Max (-43.9%) notching its fist Top 10 finish of the year and Hyundai i30 (-63.6%). The Toyota Land Cruiser Ute (-20.8%) roars to a new record 11th place, the Mazda CX-30 tops recent launches and breaks into the Top 30 for the first time (#29), distancing the Kia Seltos (#27) and VW T-Cross (#54). Finally the Audi Q3 (+1272.7%), Mercedes X-Class (+117%), BMW X4 (+54.3%), MG3 (+48%), BMW 3 Series (+32.3%), BMW X1 (+32.1%), Nissan Patrol (+31.6%) and Toyota Hiace (+21.7%) post the only additional gains in the Top 70.

Previous month: Australia March 2020: Sales down -17.9% to lowest March in 11 years, swan song for Holden (+30.2%), Kia>Hyundai, Ram>Jeep

One year ago: Australia April 2019: Kia hits highest share, Cerato up to record #7 in 13th straight market drop

Full April 2020 Top 50 All-brands and Top 270 All-models below.

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