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Australia August 2020: Victoria lockdown shrinks sales -28.8%, Kia & MG break records, Toyota RAV4 #1 again

The Toyota RAV4 hits the highest market share of any model in Australia in over 15 years. Picture

4/09 update: Now with Top 310 All-models.

Shackled by a strict lockdown in Melbourne and Victoria, new vehicle sales in Australia drown -28.8% year-on-year in August to just 60.986 units, marking an excruciating 29th consecutive month of year-on-year declines and the lowest August volume in 23 years: since 1997 (56.123). The year-to-date volume is now down -20.4% to 575.906 units, the weakest result at this stage of the year in 18 years: since 2002 (546.395). The main culprit for this worsening situation is the Stage 4 lockdown in the state of Victoria in place until 13 September where no car dealership is allowed to open for sales, only for emergency repairs. In fact, given Victoria traditionally accounts for just under 30% of the Australian market, this month’s result would be consistent with this state stalling and the rest of the country stable. The reality is a little different: because of at home deliveries of orders placed before the lockdown or online and some countryside showroom still allowed to operate, new car sales in Victoria are down “only” -65.9% to 8.347 vs. 24.476 in August 2019, with New South Wales down -16.3%, Queensland down -14.1%, South Australia off -10.8%, Western Australia down -4.6%, Tasmania falling off -35.8%, Northern Territory off -6.8% but the Australian Capital Territory up 0.4% as it continues to replace vehicles damaged by sever storms earlier in the year.

The Kia Seltos breaks into the Top 10 for the first time, enabling Kia to post a record share at 7.4%. Picture

With Victorian showrooms not scheduled to reopen in earnest before October and pre-lockdown orders there having for the most part been fulfilled, we have lowered our 2020 Australia forecast from 897.000 (-16%) last month to 879.000 units (-17%) with steeper falls in September (-25%) and October (-9%). This would be the lowest annual volume in Australia in 18 years: since 2002 (824.309). After crossing the 50% share milestone for the first time in history last month, SUV sales double down in August at -17.1% to 32.378, reaching a smashing 53.1% share vs. 45.6% a year ago. Passenger Cars continue to dwindle down -42.8% to just 14.758 and 24.2% vs. 30.1% in August 2019 and Light Commercials skid -35.8% to 11.234 and 18.4% share vs. 20.5% a year ago. Private sales fare a lot better than the market at -17.2% to 31.192 and 51.1% share vs. 43.8% in August 2019 while business fleet sales drop -31.7% to 23.900 and 39.2% share vs. 41.1%, rentals crater -81.8% to just 1.235 vs. 6.782 a year ago and government sales match the market at -29.5% to 2.044. In August, Australians bought cars primarily made in Japan at 22.187 (-18.6%), Thailand at 11.629 (-43.3%), South Korea at 9.022 (-27.2%), Germany at 3.781 (-45.3%), China at 2.277 (+44.9%) and the USA at 2.233 (-32.4%).

MG breaks its ranking, share and volume records, helped by the MG3 (+77.2%).

Toyota (-25.5%) resists slightly better than the market and comfortably keeps the lead of the brands charts at 20.4% share ahead of Mazda (-5.1%) almost stable and seeing its share shoot up to 11.3%, its highest since January 2019 (11.6%). Hyundai (-38.2%) is pummelled year-on-year but gains one spot on July to #3, with sister brand Kia (-3%) only four sales below, posting the best hold in the Top 12 and hitting a new all-time record share of 7.4% (previous best 6.9% last March). Mercedes (-12.9%) and Ford (-20.7%) also manage to keep their losses below the market rate but Nissan (-47.6%), Subaru (-42.2%), Volkswagen (-32.1%) and Mitsubishi (-31%) all flounder. Chinese MG completely bucks the depleted context with a 69% year-on-year surge leading it to a record #13 (previous best #15 last month) and 2% share (previous best 1.5% last February, April and July). The only additional gainers in the Top 40 are fellow Chinese Haval (+46.4%), LDV (+16%) and Jeep (+1.5%). Among single-digit sellers, Morgan (+100%), McLaren (+75%) and Lamborghini (+16.7%) are also up on their year-ago scores. Soon-to-be discontinued national treasure Holden (-84.4%) is reaching the end of its showroom stock, falling to #19 with 555 sales as a number of dealerships have begun to remove signage according to local press.

The Ford Ranger is up to 4.8% share in August.

In the models ranking, after making history last month as the first SUV to top the overall Australian charts, the Toyota RAV4 (+140.5%) repeats in pole position in August, breaking its volume record for the 2nd straight month at 4.825 and smashing the share record it established just last month by a full two percentage points to an overwhelming 7.9% vs. 5.9% in July. This is the highest share hit by a single models in Australia in over 15 years: since the Holden Commodore in May 2005 (8%). Even more impressive: 91% of all RAV4s sold in Australia in August are the hybrid variant hybrid variant we have driven to the northernmost point in Australia. This means the Toyota RAV4 hybrid alone is the best-seller this month, a historical first in this market. A caveat to this incredible performance is the fact that RAV4 volumes correspond to a glut of stock arriving to fill backorder that accumulated to a 10-month waiting list after Toyota ramped up production of the RAV4 Hybrid in Japan. The Ford Ranger (-7.7%) posts a very strong month in 2nd place, equalling its highest-ever share at 4.8%, also hit last June. This month the Ranger smashes its archenemy the Toyota Hilux (66.9%) annihilated to #8 overall by stock shortage in the wake of the launch of its facelifted variant, even outsold by the Mitsubishi Triton (-19.9%) for only the 2nd time in history after September 2015. In the lucrative 4×4 pickup aisle, the Ford Ranger is the standalone winner at 2.718 units (-5.8%) above the Mitsubishi Triton at 1.218 (-17.1%) and the Toyota Hilux at 936 (-67.4%).

First ever podium finish for the Mazda CX-5. Picture

Records don’t stop there: the Mazda CX-5 (+4.8%) manages to climb on the podium for the first time in history after hitting a previous 5th place no less than ten times between April 2017 and May 2020, becoming only the second SUV in Australian history to crack the podium after the Toyota RAV4 which has done it five times: in May 2019 (#3), February 2020 (#2), April 2020 (#2), July 2020 (#1) and August 2020 (#1). In 4th place, the Toyota Corolla (-48.9%) remains the best-selling passenger car in the country but almost halves its August 2019 volumes, similarly to #2 Hyundai i30 (-49.2%) while the Kia Cerato (-25%) fares much better at #7. The Mazda CX-3 (+3.6%) dips one spot on July to secure a second consecutive Top 10 finish at #9 while for the Kia Seltos, it is a spectacular first Top 10 finish all within less than a year after its October 2019 launch. Another recent release, the Mazda CX-30, also makes it into the August Top 20 at #20, down two on July while the MG3 (+77.2%) is up 13 spots to smash its ranking record set last month to #25 with 654 sales and 1.1% share, also volume and share all-time highs vs. previous bests of 643 last June and 0.8% in February, March and July. The next best-selling recent launches are the MG HS (#60), VW T-Cross (#69) and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (#93) just as we welcome the Ford Puma (#265).

Previous month: Australia July 2020: Toyota RAV4 scores first win, ends 32 months of Toyota Hilux reign, market pulled -12.8% by Melbourne lockdown

One year ago: Australia August 2019: 17th consecutive market fall leads to worst August since 2010, Chinese and premium brands strong

Full August 2020 Top 48 All-brands and Top 310 All-models below.

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