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New Car Sales In December 2020 Surge As Aussies Head For The Backroads

Manufacturers  ·  January 7, 2021

New Car Sales In December 2020 Surge As Aussies Head For The Backroads

With oversea travels taking the plunge, Aussies were forced to take their summer holidays to the backroads, sparking economy on the home front. Shaving off money meant for international trips and spending it on new cars instead, buyers helped boost the car sales in December 2020. 

New Car Sales Up by 13.5%: What Were the Contributing Factors?

As it was in November, this positive sales growth is the result of various factors combined. 

All in all, these dynamics came together to cause sales upsurge for Australia's new car sales in December 2020.

Who Are the New Car Sales Chart Toppers in December 2020?

The November top 10 car brands remained the same for December 2020, except for a couple of pairs that exchanged places. The first three automakers held their previous positions, with Toyota far ahead from the rest. Mazda has unfailingly tailed Toyota but always far behind by more than 50%. Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and Kia (once) alternated for the third rank in monthly sales. 

Top 10 Car Brands

See below the top 10 carmakers in the Australian new car industry, with their corresponding sales volume for the month and year-on-year percentage increase/decrease.


Carmaker/ Brand

Sales Volume December 2020

% Increase/ Decrease (year-on-year)






































Isuzu Ute Australia



Toyota once again displayed its unassailable lead, comprising 204,801 (22.34%) of the total annual sales volume of 916,968 new cars. On its heels is Mazda, which sold 85,640 units (9.34%), followed by Hyundai, which sent 64,807 (7.07%) new vehicles to their owners.

In a year marked by the longest slump since the 2007 and the lowest annual sales tally since 2003, Toyota registered its highest market share since 2008 (breaking its own record of 23.6%). Indeed the market leader, crisis or otherwise. 

Top 10 Car Models

After a temporary setback from July to September when the RAV4 and Ranger overtook it, the HiLux emerged on the finish line unscathed. Here’s a quick look at the yearend record makers.



Sales Volume December 2020

% Increase/ Decrease (year-on-year)


Toyota HiLux




Ford Ranger




Toyota RAV4




Toyota Corolla




Toyota Prado




Toyota Land Cruiser




Mazda CX-5




Hyundai i30




Nissan X-Trail




Hyundai Kona 



Australia’s Most Bought Vehicles in 2020

For five years, the HiLux reigned as Australia’s top-selling car. Much longer though is its market dominance as number 1 in the NT (20 years), QLD (14 years), and WA (13 years). Close on its heels is the Ford Ranger, which has been its head-to-head opponent for the last four years. 

The Toyota RAV4, which stole the spotlight from the HiLux for two successive months, is the bestselling SUV and hybrid. On the other hand, the Corolla remains the most popular passenger in the country, although it saw a downtrend towards the end of the year. 

The Year 2020 in Retrospect 

When COVID-19 assaulted the economy in February this year, the new car industry had already been on a 23-month free-fall mode. What the pandemic did was accelerate the plunge. 

March doubled February's negative growth performance. This was followed by the lowest April sales in 30 years (-48.5%), then the weakest May in 23 years (-35.3%). June seemed promising at -6.4%; however, sales declined steeply again with the lowest July in 18 years (-12.8%). 

There was no letup even in the couple of months that followed, but October gave the industry a reason to be optimistic with a -1.57% sales growth. Even by pre-pandemic standards, this was a remarkable improvement.  

Then the new car sales in November and December validated the growing market confidence by posting two successive positive-growth performances (12.4% and 13.5%, respectively) after 31 months of negative growth.

It's worth noting that May was a strong month for hybrids, marking a trend that the ensuing months echoed. It also pushed the demand for the RAV4 hybrid, which made up 91% of the total hybrid sales volume by August. 

Even as it was ravaged by recessions and one of history’s worst pandemics, the new car industry still managed to bring its sales up to 916,968 units. It is way below the million-plus-sales mark, but experts look at it positively. The demand for utes, SUVs, and 4WDs towards the yearend would have made it possible to attain that goal if not for stock shortages.

The Outlook for 2021 in the New Car Industry

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber acknowledges that supply shortage is part of the problem that sets back the industry. He reassuringly added that the manufacturers are addressing that issue and the yearend's positive growth strongly points at a much improved 2021 and a return to the 1-million-plus sales.  

He also acknowledged the support that the industry has been receiving from the government. The Instant Asset Write Off (IAWO) program and easing of lending restrictions have immensely helped sustain the industry, according to him, and expressed confidence that, with similar stimuli, the new-car market will recover this year. 

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We at share FCAI’s optimism for a better 2021, not only for the new car industry but also for the automotive industry in general. Keep yourself updated, sign up now for more blog articles and take advantage of our free request-a-part platform! Locate a part the easy way!

By Jeannette Salanga (JMSL)

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