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New Car Sales in November 2020 Up By 12.4%: First Sign of Growth in 31 Months

Manufacturers  ·  December 9, 2020

New Car Sales in November 2020 Up By 12.4%: First Sign of Growth in 31 Months

The new car sales in November 2020 gave the industry its much-needed leg up, breaking the 31-month market drought. Is this the point where we turn around the bend on our way to recovery? Let's see what the numbers are saying.

New Car Sales in November 2020: First Year-On-Year Growth Recorded in 31 Months

It's been quite a stretch, but now we're using the word 'growth' in its real sense, as opposed to the euphemised 'negative growth' that has been the byword for what seemed like forever. Sales in November leapt by 12.4%, with 95,205 cars sold versus sales of 84,708 in November 2019. 

Year-to-date figures, however, imply that we're not over the hill yet. Total sales for the first 11 months this year shows a total of 821,316 new vehicles sold, which reflects a 16.1% decline from last year's YTD sales of 978,628.

Even as we crunch numbers with caution, there's every reason to breathe a sigh of relief. We've been through the deepest abyss in April (-48.5%, the lowest April in 30+ years) and stayed within that periphery well until May (-35.3%, the lowest May in 23 years). 

This November is also the strongest that we've had since 2017 when 101,365 vehicles were sold. So there's no doubt about it, this month has given us something to be thrilled about.

The Chart Toppers: Makes and Models

As to be expected, there's no letup to the trend favouring SUVs, 4x4s, and hybrids. Except for Mercedes-Benz, which gave way to chart-first-timer Isuzu, the top 10 brands remain the same. It's almost the same story with the top models, with Hyundai i30 wedging its way back to the top 10 and pipping Kia Cerato out of the charts. Here are the best performing car brands and models and their corresponding numbers (vehicles sold).

Top 10 Brands

  1. Toyota – 23,204 (+36.9%)
  2. Mazda – 9,053 (+46.8%)
  3. Hyundai – 6,903 (+1.2%)
  4. Ford – 6,613 (+33.2%)
  5. Mitsubishi – 5,488 (-20.0%)
  6. Kia- 5,376 (+4.6%)
  7. Nissan – 4,001 (-6.3%)
  8. Volkswagen – 3,280 (-16.4%)
  9. Subaru – 3,203 (+2.0%)
  10.  Isuzu – 2,943 (+36.2%)

Top 10 Car Models

  1. Toyota HiLux – 5,038 (+33.0%)
  2. Ford Ranger – 4,260 (+22.0%)
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 3,800 (+64.1%)
  4. Toyota Corolla – 2,744 (+24.5%)
  5. Toyota Prado – 2,602 (+116.1%)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 2,412 (+39.0%)
  7. Isuzu D-Max – 2,095 (+45.7%)
  8. Hyundai i30 – 2,047 (-12.5%)
  9. Hyundai Tucson – 1,995 (+38.2%)
  10.  Toyota LandCruiser – 1,981 (+116%)

Toyota gets 24.4% of the market pie, which is almost 25% or ¼ of the total monthly sales. What this means is that nearly one in every four new car buyers bought a Toyota in November 2020. Not surprising at all considering that for the past years, the Japanese market leader has always been Australia's most trusted car brand and has consistently represented 20%-25% of the monthly sales. 

Car Sales Recovery – A Play of Several Factors

As we set our eyes ahead to a full recovery, we are also fully aware of the various factors that led to the gains in the month ended.

1. Travel restrictions drove more Australians to holiday in the country.

Aussies are forced to stay at home and cancel (or at least limit) holidays outside of the country. Thus, they are treating themselves on new vehicles to take them to adventures closer to home, which reflects their choice of 4x4s trucks and SUVs. The HiLux and Ranger lord it over all the 4x4s, while the demand for LandCruiserPrado, and Nissan Patrol goes all-time high.

2. Around 1/3 of total new cars sold in November represent lost sales in the previous months.

The sales buoy includes delayed order fulfilment due to disruptions in supply, production, and logistics that built up from the start of the COVID-19 crisis early this year. Around 1/3 of the November sales represent orders from previous months, which dealerships recently delivered from their fresh supplies.  

3. Suppressed markets due to lockdowns started surging back.

The country began lifting restrictions, allowing normal demand to surge back. All states and territories, except Tasmania, have shown sales gains. 

4. Government support helped buoy consumer confidence and buying power.

The combined easing of COVID restrictions, IAWO extension, and more flexible lending policies worked well in paving the bumps in the new car sector. 

Electrified vehicles and segment sales performance 

The combined sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure EVs spiked to 7,200, up by 67.6% from 4,295 cars sold in the same month last year. Much as we'd like to think that we're on our way to electrification, it's not exactly the real picture. 

A total of 6,887 cars from that number are hybrids, most of which are RAV4's. 135 are plug-ins, while only 178 are pure EVs. This figure does not include Teslas, however, which could account for a considerable number. Note: Tesla does not provide FCAI with info on its sales.

Segment sales, meanwhile, reinforced the previous trend towards SUVs and LCVs. SUVs comprised 52.5% (50,016) of the total new car sales, LCVs 22.3% (21,525), and passenger cars 21.8% (20,711) – a clear indication of the consumers' shift in taste. 

No Other Way But Up! 

It's too early to rejoice, far from it. In fact, more challenges loom ahead. The global economy, in general, needs to recover and trickle down its effects on the different sectors, the automotive industry included. It's a long haul, no doubt, but we're not new to the negative-growth territory. 

As AADA chief executive James Voortman stated, the industry had been falling for 31 consecutive months, and the market had to make a turn at some point somehow. In other words, we've been to such depths – the lowest on record and the longest since the Global Financial Crisis – that there's no other way for us to go but up. What we need is an enabling environment, which is where the government should come in by way of more intensive economic stimuli and more responsive laws. More on this in upcoming posts!

So, hang in there and keep yourself updated by subscribing to our blogs!

By Jeannette Salanga

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