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Australia May 2020: Toyota (-23.1%), BMW (-1.9%), MG (+14.5%) hold in lowest May score in 26 years (-35.3%)

As Australians get ready to holiday at home, the Toyota Land Cruiser aligns ranking records.

5/06 update: Now with Top 300 All-models.

Australia has not just flattened but squashed the coronavirus curve, going from being the 20th most affected country in the world as of March 31 (4.559 cases) to 49th as of April 30 (6.875) and 64th at the time of writing (7.229) and keeping new daily infections at or below 30 for the past 44 consecutive days. However unlike countries that have similarly wrestled COVID-19 to the ground and long reopened large swaths of their economy such as China, South Korea or Taiwan, the Australian new car market posts another dreadful month in May at -35.3% year-on-year to just 59.894 units. It’s better than April (-48.5%) but still marks a 26th consecutive month of decline and the weakest May result in Australia in 26 years: since May 1994 (52.678). When removing last month’s 38.926 units, this would be the lowest monthly volume in over 18 years: since January 2002 (58.557). For reference the lowest monthly volume during the GFC was 63.965 in April 2009. The year-to-date tally is now down -23.9% to 332.181 units, the lowest after 5 months in 18 years: since 2002 (328.185). We at BSCB now forecast a 2020 volume down -21% (vs. -18% last month) to 842.000 units, which would also be its lowest in 18 years: since 2002 (824.309).

Mercedes hits its highest Australian ranking in at least a decade. Picture

Like last month, the only State/Territory braving the adverse conditions is ACT down just -5.2% to 1.372 due to replacement cars after particularly destructive fires and hail storm earlier in the year. Tasmania (-51.7%) is the most affected at 844 sales followed by the Northern Territory (-45.8%) at 514, Victory (-41.2%) at 15.366, New South Wales (-34.6%) at 19.403, Queensland (-33.1%) at 12.821, South Australia (-32.4%) at 3.802 and Western Australia (-26.4%) at 5.772. Government sales (-16.4%) fare the best at 2.721 units followed by private sales (-32.1%) at 28.570 and business registrations (-34.8%) at 24.758 but rental sales (-78.5%) remain lifeless at 1.230 as interstate and intra-state travel was all but forbidden throughout the month. SUVs (28.652) sell almost double any other segment thanks to volumes down -30% to hold 47.8% share vs. 44.2% a year ago. Light commercials (14.791) are down -22.9% to 24.7% share vs. 20.7% in May 2019, again outselling passenger cars (13.836) imploding -52.1% to 23.1% share vs. 31.2% a year ago. Petrol sales drop -41.3% to 33.442, diesel is off -19.3% to 22.960, hybrid down just -6.5% to 3.271 and EV/PHEV excluding Tesla actually up 28% to 221. Looking at the source of imports, cars sold in Australia come from Japan at 20.028 (-32.1%), Thailand at 14.649 (-36.2%), South Korea at 6.942 (-49.2%), Germany at 4.466 (-43%), the US at 2.568 (-25.4%), China at 1.450 (+2.1%), the UK at 1.260 (-43.6%), Hungary at 896 (+19.1%), Czech Republic at 739 (-42.8%) and Mexico at 707 (-50.3%).

MG (+14.1%) scores the only year-on-year gain among the Top 20 brands.

In the brands ranking, Toyota (-23.1%) maintains its stranglehold by resisting markedly better than the market and only edging down from an all-time 26.5% last month to 24.2% in May. Mazda (-34%) easily holds onto the 2nd spot with 9.5% share vs. 8.9% so far in 2020 while Hyundai (-49.3%) reclaims the #3 spot it holds YTD off sister brand Kia (-50.1%) down to #7 this month. Ford (-32.7%) stays at #5 above Mitsubishi (-41.2%) while Volkswagen (-38.5%) soars 4 spots on April to land at #6, the brand’s highest ranking since August 2018. Mercedes (-28.3%) advances two spots to #8, its highest in Australia in at least a decade. Subaru (-49.7%) and Nissan (-44.2%) close the Top 10 in poor fashion while BMW (-1.9%), although down 4 ranks on its record-breaking 7th place in April, manages to score the best hold in the Top 15 with Audi (-4.3%) not far behind. Holden (-61.5%) now decelerating ahead of its upcoming discontinuation and Honda (-47.2%) are the most affected. Further down, MG (+14.8%) brilliantly swims upstream with the only gain – let alone double-digit surge – in the Top 20, joined below by Ram (+42.3%), Haval (+73.9%), Lotus (+300%) and Genesis (+66.7%). Mini (-10.2%), Bentley (-12.5%), Great Wall (-20%), Peugeot (-21.5%), LDV (-20.5%), Ferrari (-23.1%) and Porsche (-29.5%) manage to keep their fall well below the market rate.

Ram sales soar 42.3% year-on-year in May.

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux (-16.1%) drops almost 20 percentage points slower than the market, resulting in another outstanding 5.9% share, now its second-best ever below the 6% it hit just last month whereas before April 2020 the nameplate’s record was 5.1% in February 2019… This is the 31st consecutive time the Hilux is the most popular model in Australia, the longest such streak since the Holden Commodore in 2003, and the 2nd straight month it wins the lucrative 4×4 pickup battle, easily outselling its archenemy the Ford Ranger (-33%) 2.800 vs. 2.499. The Toyota RAV4 (-19.6%) drops to #3 overall but remains by far the #1 SUV In the country above the Mazda CX-5 (-29.6%) at #5. If last month Toyota placed 5 nameplates in the Top 6, it does almost as well in May with 5 in the Top 7: the Toyota Corolla (-34.1%) remains at #4, vastly outstripping its nearest passenger car competitors the Hyundai i30 (-58.9%) at #8 and Mazda3 (-55.4%) back up 13 spots to return into the Top 10 for the first time since January.

The Toyota Prado ranks 6th in May. Picture

As Australians contemplate closed international borders for the foreseeable future, shy away from interstate plane travel and start realising long road trips may be their only escapism option in 2020, two vehicles perfectly adapted for this type of tourism continue to post unusually strong results: the Toyota Prado and Land Cruiser. Make sure you also check out our Australian test drives of the Prado and Land Cruiser. The Prado (-23.5%) broke its all-time ranking record last month at #5 (previous best #7 in August 2018) and scores its 2nd highest ever ranking this month at #6. The Land Cruiser (-9.9%) had not ranked higher than #10, last hit in July 2003, at any time during the past 20 years before soaring to #6 in April, potentially its highest monthly ranking in the country in 25 years since it finished #10 over the Full Year 1995. It almost exactly reiterates this performance this month at #7, even scoring the only single-digit loss in the Top 13. The Toyota Hiace (+69%) is boosted by the new generation, with the Audi Q3 (+6480%), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (+28.9%), BMW X1 (+15%), MG3 (+3.8%) and Toyota C-HR (+2.6%) the other year-on-year gainers in the Top 50. The Kia Seltos (#39) tops recent launches above the Mazda CX-30 (#41), Hyundai Venue (#57), VW T-Cross (#76), MG HS (#86) and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (#89). The Jeep Gladiator lands directly at #131.

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

One year ago: Australia May 2019: Toyota RAV4 first SUV to climb on monthly podium in 14th consecutive market fall

Full May 2020 Top 48 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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