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Australia September 2020: Ford Ranger signs 2nd ever win, Melbourne lockdown cuts market down -21.8%, Chinese up 71.6% as MG & LDV break records again

The Ford Ranger signs its second ever win in Australia.

9/10 update: Now with the Top 310 All-models ranking.

New vehicle sales in Australia are still in a deep rut in September at -21.8% year-on-year to 68.985 units, marking the 6th double-digit decline of the year and an excruciating 30th consecutive year-on-year fall. This is the lowest September volume in 18 years (since 2002), following the weakest August in 23 years, an 18-year low in July, 9-year low in June and 26-year lows in both May and April. This leads at a year-to-date tally down -20.5% to 644.891 units, also the lowest volume at this stage of the year since 2002. But once again there’s a catch to this paltry performance: the state of Victoria, the 2nd largest in the country, was under some of the strictest Covid-19 lockdowns in the world during the entire month of September, with only minimal movement allowed for its inhabitants, a night curfew and all dealerships face-to-face interactions illegal. As a result Victorian sales imploded -57.7% or 14.239 to just 10.447. Without Victoria, Australian sales would edge down a much more palatable -7.8% year-on-year. Sales are up in three states: in Covid-free Northern Territory (+10.6% or 64 sales) and Western Australia (+1.5% or 115 units) as well in the Australian Capital Territory (+3.4% or 45 cars) where insurance companies continue to replace cars damaged during severe storms earlier this year. New South Wales is down -6% or 1.668 cars, Queensland is off -7.9% or 1.386, South Australia at -22.1% or 1.468 and Tasmania freefalls -34.2% or 659 cars.

MG surges 86.1% to a record 2.3% share of the Australian market in September.

Private sales resist much better than the market, an encouraging sign, at -9.8% to 34.234 and 49.6% share vs. 42.9% a year ago and 40.3% in September 2018. In contrast, Business fleets sink -24.4% to 27.580 and 40% share vs. 41.5% and 42.9% over the past two years, rental car sales implode -70.5% to 2.258 as both interstate and international tourism is made impossible by closed state and international borders and government purchases are off -29.4% to 2.067. Looking at sales by segment, for once SUVs follow the market at -22% to 32.647 and 47.3% share vs. 47.5% a year ago and 43.7% in September 2018 and Passenger Cars drop -28.8% to 17.720 and 25.7% share vs. 28.2% and 32.2% over the past two years. The winner segment is Light Commercials including pickups, down “only” -13.6% to 15.772 and resulting in a much improved 22.9% share vs. 20.7% a year ago and 15.1% in 2018. Petrol-powered cars are off -27.7% to 39.926, diesel is down -21.1% to 21.539, HEV up 110.8% two 4.389, BEV excluding non-VFACTS-participant Tesla up 5.2% to 161 and PHEV up 6.9% to 124. Cars sold in Australia in September come from Japan at 20.528 (-24.8%), Thailand at 15.862 (-29.5%), South Korea at 10.481 (-16.2%), Germany at 5.077 (-22.7%) and China at 3.220 (+71.6%).

LDV is successively establishing itself in Australia: record 1.3% share this month.

In the brands ranking, Toyota (-14.7%) resists better than the market but sees its share thaw to 18.8% vs. 21.5% so far this year, still way above Mazda (-14.3) and Hyundai (-27.2%). Kia (-0.7%) is virtually immobile and equals its highest ever market share of 7.4% also hit last month. Ford (+0.7%) uncharacteristically manages the only year-on-year gain in the Top 12 thanks to its star model the Ranger pickup (see further down) and reclaims the 5th place it holds year-to-date off Mitsubishi (-53.5%) in great difficulty. Mercedes (-7.9%) and Volkswagen (-8.5%) keep their losses to the single-digits in the remainder of the Top 10 but Nissan (-44.4%) and Subaru (-39.4%) aren’t that lucky. Below BMW (-9.6%) and Honda (-50.7%), Chinese MG (+86.1%) continues to defy gravity with a spectacular year-on-year surge leading to new record volume (1.554) and share (2.3%) and equal-highest ranking (#13) also hit last month. Could a historical Top 10 soon be in the cards for the carmaker that replaced Hyundai and Kia as the bargain brand of choice on the Australian market? Fellow Chinese LDV (+36%) also hits a record share at 1.3% and equal-highest ranking at #17 (also hit last month and in November 2018), with Renault (+9.4%) and Skoda (+29.3%) closing the Top 20 in fantastic fashion. Local legend Holden (-81.8%) is out of the Australian Top 20 for the first time in its 72-year history as dealerships across the country continue to remove signage ahead of the shutdown of the brand at the end of the year. Among smaller brands, Genesis (+833.3%), Lotus (+200%), Maserati (+103.8%), Great Wall (+74.1%), Haval (+70.5%), Alfa Romeo (+61%), Porsche (+32.9%), Mini (+13.5%) and Ferrari (+8.7%) stand out with gains.

The Toyota RAV4 is down to #3 overall but up 41.8% year-on-year and still by far the #1 SUV in the country.

Model-wise, strikingly the entire podium is in positive. The Ford Ranger (+19.6%) surges to its second ever monthly win in Australia after September 2017, smashing its record market share here to 5.4% vs. 4.8% hit last month and last June. The Ranger outsells the Toyota HIlux (+7.3%), itself back up 6 spots on August to #2 as the facelifted model arrives in dealerships, for the 2nd consecutive month. The Ford Ranger also easily wins the lucrative 4×4 pickup battle with 3.545 sales vs. 2.790 for the Hilux and 1.234 for the Mitsubishi Triton. This is also only the 4th time in the past 20 years that a Ford nameplate tops the Australian monthly charts after the Ford Falcon did so in September 2003 and August 2005. Leader for the past two months, the Toyota RAV4 (+41.8%) drops back to the third place it holds year-to-date and still commands a surreal surge over its year-ago volumes. As the current model enters runout mode ahead of a new generation landing at the end of the year, the Hyundai i30 (-27%) takes the lead of the Passenger Cars charts at #4 overall above the Kia Cerato (-20.9%) and Toyota Corolla (-34.1%) while the Mazda CX-5 (-25.1%), Mitsubishi Triton (-51.8%) and Hyundai Tucson (-19.4%) also slide into the September Top 10 and the Toyota Camry (+0.5%) eeks out a tiny gain at #10. Now that the new generation is widely available, the Isuzu D-Max rallies back up 61 spots on last month to #13 and should break into the Top 10 next month given the stellar reviews it has been getting. The Kia Seltos is down 4 ranks to #14 but easily remains the most popular recent launch above the Mazda CX-30 (#24). The Toyota Land Cruiser (+3.1%) manages the last uptick in the Top 20 just as the MG3 (+83.4%) again breaks its ranking record at #22.

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

One year ago: Australia September 2019: Mitsubishi (+17.9%), Mazda (+15.5%) impress, Holden outside Top 10 for the first time, 18th straight market loss

Full September 2020 Top 48 All-brands and Top 280 All-models below.

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