The Toyota Prado hits a record 4th place in Australia in October.
A good surprise this month is how well the Australian new car market is holding: down just -1.5% year-on-year in October to 81.220 units, by far the smallest year-on-year decline since the pandemic started, leading to a year-to-date tally down -18.8% to 726.111 units. This still represents the 31st consecutive month of decline in Australia and the worst October result in 10 years, but with Melbourne lockdowns easing and most States now almost Covid-free, the local industry is feeling quite optimistic. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’s chief executive Tony Weber says “After a very challenging year, we are seeing ‘green shoots’ in the Australian new vehicle market.” The strong October outcome prompts us to step up our 2020 Forecast for Australia from 874.000 and -18% last month to 896.000 and -16% this month, as we expect November and December sales to edge up slightly.
Victoria (Melbourne) was still in strict lockdown for most of the month and as a result drops -28.3% to 17.594 sales, but other States and Territories have fantastic months: the Northern Territory soars 27.7% thanks to the mining and tourism industries recovering, Australian Capital Territory is up 28.1% as insurance companies keep replacing cars damaged by storms earlier in the year, Western Australia is up 17%, South Australia up 14.5%, Queensland up 11.7% and New South Wales up 6.2%. SUV sales are up 6.7% to 41.220 sales, accounting for more than half the Australian market at 50.8% share, while commercial vehicles (mainly pickup trucks and vans) gain 11.6% to 19.152 and 23.6% share and passenger cars continue to sink at -24.5% to just 17.794 and 21.9% of the market. According to local outlet caradvice.com.au, the strong results for SUVs and utes (local slang for pickups) could be because more motorists plan to holiday at home amid international travel restrictions. Private sales are triggering the market recovery at +10% while business fleet sales are down -3%, government sales down -6.5% and rental sales falling off a cliff at -58.2%. Looking at the country of origin of cars sold in Australia, one figure stands out: Chinese-made cars more than double their sales year-on-year at 3.313 units (+111.2%).
In the brands ranking, both Toyota (+14.8%) and Mazda (+17.1%) post stellar gains atop the charts, with Toyota reaching an impressive 24% share vs. 21.8% so far this year, but Hyundai (-20.1%) is in logical difficulty ahead of a very dynamic string of new launches planned for the next few months. Ford (+17.4%) is also very strong and returns to the 4th spot it holds year-to-date. Kia (+4.8%) is the only additional gainer in the Top 10 just as Volkswagen (-26.3%), Subaru (-12.1%) and Nissan (-11.8%) struggle with double-digit losses. Below, two Chinese carmakers stand out by more than doubling their sales year-on-year: MG (+119.6%) reaches a new volume record at 1.680 while LDV (+123%) three-peats at a record #17, also breaking its Aussie monthly volume record and share at 1.117 and 1.4%. Haval (+47.7%), Jeep (+40.7%), Lamborghini (+40%), Porsche (+32.7%) and Skoda (+14.8%) also fare very well further down. Holden (-94.7%) continues to wind down at #30 ahead of the shutdown of the local brand at the end of the year.
The new Isuzu D-Max is a smashing success in Australia.
Model-wise, after a 3-month hiatus the Toyota Hilux (+26.4%) reclaims the top spot it holds year-to-date but its advantage over its archenemy the Ford Ranger (+33.4%) is only 227 units for the month. The Ford Ranger 4×4 (3.808) outsells the Toyota Hilux 4×4 (3.406) in the lucrative 4×4 ute battle. The Toyota RAV4 (+91.6%) almost doubles its October 2019 volume to rank #3 as it does year-to-date. All models on the Aussie October podium hold at least 5% share, a very rare feat in a very fragmented market. As well-to-do Aussie customers plan their summer holiday at home given the international travel restrictions, the Toyota Prado (+45.9%) also shows fantastic health, completing a Top 4 entirely displaying double-digit year-on-year gains and reaching a new all-time high Australian ranking at #4 (previous best #5 last April).
Boosted by a much improved new generation, the Isuzu D-Max (+51.5%) hits its 2nd best-ever ranking at #6 (record is #5 in December 2018). Replicating the success it’s experiencing “at home” in Thailand where it is manufactured, the new D-Max has been a smashing hit with Australian customers, so much so that some variants are now sold out until February next year. Local outlet carexpert.com.au contacted a dozen Isuzu dealers at the start of November and most had no stock left of the top-specification X-Terrain, while only a few had stock of the next level down, the LS-U. Finally, the MG3, although down 3 spots on September to #25, leads its segment above the Mazda2 and hits a new volume record at 872.
Full October 2020 Top 43 brands and Top 300 All-models below.